Speculative Fiction Saturday: Transformers, Age of Extinction

Transformers 4Okay, this is the last time I’ll be reviewing a Transformers movie, at least this month. Personally, I still think this franchise has at least one good movie left in it, but they’ll probably make one good one, plus three bad cash-ins. When that happens, a decade from now, perhaps we will do Transformers month once again.

Okay, I honestly don’t think there was supposed to be a Transformers 4, and this film has the feeling of redeux all over it. Gone is Shia LeBeouf and whoever girl he’s wooing, as well as any military personae that appeared in the first three. Instead, we have…Marky Mark. Mark Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, who plays an inventor who can’t seem to get seem to get the right inspiration until it falls on his lap in the form of Optimus Prime.

For some reason, Optimus Prime is in an abandoned movie theater, and some shrapnel lodged in him has kept him from transforming. Yeager frees Prime, and this begins an intense series of events equal to the first film.

Now, I will have to give props to the plot of this film, because it is somewhat creative. Apparently, after the big Chicago battle of the last film, humanity is just plain sick of having these giant robots on their planet that just fight and wreck things. So they hunt down each Transformer, the good ones, and this is how Prime got to his immobilized form. I don’t know why anyone would shoot Prime and then leave him in a theater, but we had to make him a plot point of attack somehow.

Now, as much as I think this might actually happen given this scenario, unlikely as it is, this other transformer gets into the mix. Apparently, the government has been working this this outsider named Lockdown who has an unknown agenda. Okay, now here’s the thing: if you were the government, and you wanted to get rid of big robots from space on your planet, and then another robot from space came by and told you he would do it, would you accept that deal? Okay, I realize that last sentence was all kinds of run-on, but this part just doesn’t make a lot of sense, really. Because no one would hire a strange hostile robot to get rid of robots who have proven non-hostile.

So yeah, that part doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, I do like what happens once the government takes out the last of the Transformers. They sell it to a private industrialist who is trying to use the Transformers technology to create some seriously cool shape-shifting stuff. Honestly, it feels like tech that we would want to have, even if we would have to destroy a race or two of alien robots to get it.

Now for the part I don’t like, Stanley Tucci is playing the industrialist, and he’s not as charismatic as he was in The Hunger Games. He plays some guy who is obviously modeled after Steve Jobs, and it is not complimentary at all. Now, Kelsey Grammer, who plays a ruthless government operative, is nailing his role. Too bad these two talented actors are in this film which has a good idea, but lousy execution.

In fact, the film has so many action scenes in it that it really slows down this film that is very, very long. This film decided to go to Hong Kong for its final, city-wrecking climax. Sadly, all of the big action and special effects are more drawn out than the ending of the second Hobbit movie.

So I would say this is the second-worst Transformers movie, but it is actually okay. There’s no reason why they won’t make another as the ending of Transformers 4 is open, and I am certain a fifth one is on the way, coming in 2016.