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Transformers: Age of Extinction

Entry updated 30 June 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (2014). Paramount Pictures in association with Hasbro presents a Di Bonaventura Pictures, Tom DeSanto/Don Murphy Production, Ian Bryce Productions and October Pictures production in association with China Movie Channel, Jiaflix Enterprises, Amblin Entertainment and Platinum Dunes. Directed by Michael Bay. Written by Ehren Kruger. Cast includes Peter Cullen, John Goodman, Kelsey Grammer, T J Miller, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Mark Ryan, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg and Frank Welker. 165 minutes. Colour.

The Autobots join forces with the Dinobots to fight a resurgent Megatron in the fourth film in the Robots-to-Transportation Toys franchise.

"I don't think it's a truck at all. I think we found a Transformer."

65 million years ago: the same Aliens that created the Transformers use devices known as "Seeds" to cover planet Earth in "Transformium", an alloy capable of "programming matter". The same alloy is the means for present-day KSI Industries to build Transformers drones, except that they are melting down captured Autobots and Decepticons to do so under the auspices of ambitious CEO Joshua Joyce (Tucci), who is in league with Harold Attinger (Grammer), the leader of a CIA black ops division called Cemetery Wind, which is supplying Autobots for scrap. They are assisted by Lockdown (Ryan), a robot bounty-hunter hired by the same "Creators" who wiped out the Dinosaurs with Transformium 65 million years ago. Autobots are beleaguered by enemies on all sides.

Five years after the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), robotics inventor Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), daughter Tessa (Peltz) and employee Lucas Flannery (Miller) discover Optimus Prime (Cullen) disguised as an old Marmon 97 semi-truck in an abandoned cinema. On repairing Optimus Prime, Yeager finds that he must engage with scale of the conspiracy against the Autobots to evade the CIA, infiltrate KSI Industries and rescue his daughter from a large Prison Spaceship piloted by Lockdown. Yeager persuades Joyce to switch allegiance when Joyce realizes that pet project "Galvatron" (Welker) is actually arch-Villain Megatron is disguise. A final confrontation with Lockdown occurs over the City of Hong Kong, whereupon Optimus Prime recruits the Dinobots through trial-by-combat and Lockdown uses an enormous magnet to cause massive destruction before being bested by Yeager and Optimus Prime. Galvatron retreats and Optimus Prime flies into space with a Seed (see McGuffin), warning the Creators that he is coming for them.

This two-and-three-quarter-hour advertisement for the Hasbro toys made more than a billion dollars at the box office. There is plenty of computer-generated spectacle but the ongoing joshing about Wahlberg's over-protective dad fails to leaven the human presence. The effects are impressive, the scale of the devastation sustained and the return-on-investment assured, but there is very little sense here of anything other than bombast. [MD]

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