© Paramount Pictures Germany GmbH

Transformers: Ära des Untergangs (Transformers: Age of Extinction)
U.S.A./China 2014

Opening 17 Jul 2014

Directed by: Michael Bay
Writing credits: Ehren Kruger
Principal actors: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer

Inventor Cade Yeager (hot smoking Mark Wahlberg) buys an old truck, only to find out that the old piece of junk turns out to be the lost and long searched for Transformer Autobot leader Optimus Prime. Against governmental orders, he decides not to report the alien find. Well, of course that does not come without consequences. The authorities are after Cade and his family; we don't really know why, but, after a lot of boom boom, explosions and super graphics with Optimus Prime transforming in supersonic speed, we really don't care all that much anymore. Cade, his superhot, overly mature, 17-year old daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) (her „shorts are shrinking by the minute“) and her boyfriend (Jack Reynor), are now on the run with Optimus Prime who gathers up all his Transformer buddies that are left (most were killed by bad aliens) and fight the evil human pack and even more evil transformer aliens who allied up to destroy the good guys, the Autobots (seems like that happens in every Transformers movie).

A big government-funded project found a way to create the transformer matter that enables machines to transform independently, all this of course not without a price (bio-ethics hello!) and so the source of bad guy transformers seems endless. At more than one moment did I find myself confused about who is who and who is good, and who is bad, and who is actually to be trusted, very intriguing, though. Well “Whatever”, I found myself thinking, “more boom boom, please.”

This movie was great: the sound, the visuals, the camera, they all made this film an aesthetic treat to watch. However, the story and coherence in the storyline did have its weaknesses, but in such a brilliant action movie, I don't really care, and believe it might even have distracted from the explosions and gun fire which were well done and never failed to surprise.

The latent sexual tension between Cade and his super attractive daughter Tessa (can her cleavage be any deeper, her shorts any shorter and her belly any flatter?) did confuse me at the beginning of the movie though, when in the romantic atmosphere of the sunset their serious father-daughter talk led me to expect a romantic kiss any moment. After transformer babes Megan Fox and Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Nicola Peltz is a worthy successor in the great line of half-naked transformer beauties. Thumbs up.

If you enjoy action movies and visually spectacular camera work, this is your film. If you are looking for meaningful deep story lines, it's not. I loved it. (Karen Eve Malinowski O’Shaughnessy)

Second Opinion

It’s been five years since Tranformers: Dark Side of the Moon (2011) and the devastating Battle of Chicago where the Autobots (the good guys) fought the Decepticons (the baddies). Since then, the CIA has put together an elite unit who have been tracking down and killing the Autobots with the aid of a Transformer bounty hunter. When Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a struggling inventor, finds and buys an old 1973 Marmon semi cab-over truck, he and his family are dragged into the world of the Transformers.

The Transformers movie franchise has always been about one thing: money. It is a Hallmark example of the modern big-budget action film. Good computer graphics, terrible screenwriting, actors phoning it in and huge box office figures. Transformers: Age of Extinction is certainly no break from this mold. Why should it be? For some reason everyone goes back to watch these terrible movies time and time again. It’s enough to make a film critic weep.

In the past, the Transformers films have been criticized for racism and sexism as well as everything previously mentioned. Transformers: Age of Extinction will probably not be criticized for these things. First, there is no person of color in the whole film and most of the criticized robots from the previous films Mudflap and Skids with their stereotypical urban vernacular, ape-like features and gold teeth, have been removed. If there are no characters of color then there can’t be any incidental racism, right? Wrong. And as for the blatant sexism problem? Well, that has been resolved by making the only lead actress into the daughter figure. The sexism here comes from her father not allowing her to date and trying to protect her from those evil teenage boys out there. So instead of showing us Megan Fox leaning sexily over a sports car, we have Nicola Peltz’s character being strictly ruled over by her father who at one point asks if her shorts are shrinking in the wash because they keep getting smaller. But no one has a problem with overbearing dads because they are just protecting their dumb daughters from the big wide world of which they have no agency or intelligence to be able to face on their own. No one will complain about either of these aspects because they are societally accepted forms of sexism and racism, but that doesn’t prevent them from continuing to be harmful.

It is just so incredibly frustrating that such terrible films become such huge hits with international audiences. Transformers is not only so unoriginally written that the dialogue probably came out of a Screenwriting for Dummies book, but also it is filled with harmful clichés and stereotypes. No computer graphics in the world could save this film from being what it is: a piece of steaming garbage. (Rose Finlay)

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