Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Angie Han
Though it picks up after the events Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Transformers: Age of Extinction isn’t just a sequel but also a quasi-reboot. It introduces a new cast of human characters and is intended to jumpstart a fresh trilogy.
But for everything that’s changed about the series, more things have stayed the same — at least if the first reviews are to be believed. Hit the jump to read the early buzz on Transformers: Age of Extinction. Potential spoilers ahead, as there are few points in the reviews that aren’t obvious from the marketing so far.
For the most part, critics seem to agree that Transformers: Age of Extinction is an improvement on the past couple of installments.
It’s not just that the Autobots look more distinctive and easier to tell apart than ever in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” — as Optimus Prime never tires of reminding us, these robots have actual souls. So who cares if the human characters are even more dispensable and the plot even more scattershot than usual? Resurrected to take on man-made knock-offs of themselves, these metallic superheroes cause so much destruction, it’s as if they’re trying to find a literal new definition for the term “blockbuster” — and indeed, as in the 2007-11 trilogy, which raked in $2.6 billion globally, helmer Michael Bay continues to evolve ways to make robotic shape-shifting look increasingly seamless and realistic in 3D.
The fourth instalment of Michael Bay’s big screen robot romp offers few surprises but an abundance of the series’ familiar tropes in another marathon-length, narratively vapid action spectacular. Bay’s trademark visual fireworks are as impressive as ever, while an all-new cast promises a new direction for what may become a second trilogy. Otherwise, it’s business as usual for the Autobots and Decepticons, which based on past performance means a huge box office performance everywhere.
Overall, I think this is a big step in the right direction. It’s visually just as wild as the last few Bay films have been, with the director pushing ILM to their breaking point. It is amazing to me that Bay keeps finding a way to somehow make this these things even bigger than they already naturally are, but he is a man whose career can be seen as a series of escalating aesthetic decisions. He knows that these films exist largely to give fans a chance to watch giant robots beat holy hell out of each ether, and on that front, boy, does he deliver.
True, there’s a lot of state-of-the-art 3D chicanery, and the film is a marked improvement over the wholesale inhuman chaos of the last two installments, 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen and 2011’s Dark of the Moon. But the bloat of this latest entry — at 165 minutes, the longest of the lot — suggests that Michael Bay and his team are struggling to rejuvenate the whole premise.
The general feeling was that the robots, not the humans, were the ones to “give the film its emotional heft.” Of the non-CG actors, though, Stanley Tucci was singled out as “clearly having a blast” with his slimy scientist character. Additionally, it bodes well for the film that the plot suggests “an intriguing new direction for the inevitable 5th installment.”
But for better or for worse, this is still a Transformers movie, so “you know what you’re in for if you buy a ticket.” If that sounds up your alley, Transformers: Age of Extinction opens this Friday, June 27.
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