‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ maximum sensory overload

Friday , June 27, 2014 - 11:29 AM

Standard-Examiner movie critic

It’s difficult to describe how mind numbing these “transformer” movies have become. Sure, they are occasionally cool to look at and the sound pulsates through you like rolling thunder.

Yet, it’s the little things like storylines and characters that leave you dumbfounded.

Add to that its two hours, 45 minutes length, and I think the plan here is to beat you into submission. I know I’m flat-out exhausted after having sat through this film.

This fourth installment picks up four years after the great battle of Chicago, in which the place is leveled and hundreds of humans are killed.

The U.S. government blames the Autobots, and sets up a secret arm of the CIA called Cemetery Wind to hunt them down and take them out. With the aid of Lockdown, a Transformer bounty hunter, one by one, the Autobots are being eliminated.

Lockdown’s main directive is to locate Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, and bring him back to face the “creators,” the mysterious entities who started the whole process.

Optimus has been hiding in an old abandoned theater in a small Texas town as a clunky, broken old semi. Not sure how he got inside a theater, but who cares.

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), an inventor/junker, and his goofy mechanic, Lucas (T.J. Miller), buy the old heap and tow it back to their workshop barn. There, they discover it’s an actual transformer, and attempt to nurse it back to health.

The black-suited CIA goons, led by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar), somehow learn that it’s Prime and descend on the farm. It’s pretty much all chaos from here on out, as Optimus sends a distress signal out to all remaining Autobots. Yeager and his overprotected daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and her Irish rally car driving boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor), tag along and a billionaire nut job, Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), tries to build his own transformers using their basic alien DNA, Transformium. Ugh.

The Autobots and their human friends must infiltrate Joshua’s HQ in Chicago, which has been miraculously rebuilt in just four years, where they will confront new creations, Galvatron and Stinger. More damage. And when that doesn’t work, they will be off to make a mess of Hong Kong, where they are joined by a bunch of tough looking Dinobots.

Now I know, somewhere out there, a joyful nerdery is squealing with delight at the prospect of Autobots and Dinobots working together to fight a common enemy. I see these new critters as only more pieces to Michael Bay’s elaborate chess set that’s giving me a massive migraine.

It’s maximum sensory overload with only minimal emotional attachment. That’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” — the biggest and loudest transformer movie yet — and that’s saying something.

  • THE FILM: “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
  • OUR RATING: **
  • STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci
  • BEHIND THE SCENES: Directed by Michael Bay (“Pain & Gain” “Pearl Harbor”) - filmed in Texas, Hong Kong, Chicago and Monument Valley
  • MPAA RATING: (PG-13) intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo

Sign up for e-mail news updates.