Movie Review: Transformers Age of Extinction

Movie Review: Transformers Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the sort of film that parent’s are desperately hoping will be fine to show their kids, because many are equally desperate to see it. That’s what makes the result so tragic. The fourth installment in the Michael Bay-directed franchise picks up the story a year or more after the climactic ‘Battle […]

By Mark HadleyWednesday 25 Jun 2014MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the sort of film that parent’s are desperately hoping will be fine to show their kids, because many are equally desperate to see it. That’s what makes the result so tragic.

Mark Hadley reviews 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'. 

The fourth installment in the Michael Bay-directed franchise picks up the story a year or more after the climactic ‘Battle of Chicago’ that completes Transformers: Dark of the Moon. As far as the public is aware the government is still working with the Autobots, but in reality the CIA has set up a unit called Cemetery Wind which is responsible for ‘retiring’ every alien robot on the planet. The surviving autobots are in hiding until Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor played by Mark Wahlberg, discovers the wreckage of Optimus Prime and brings him back to life. Now it’s a race against time to discover who is actually behind the CIA kill squads before they can detonate a device that will bring about humanity’s extinction.

The tie-in with the famous Hasbro toy line is what has always been the secret of Transformers’ success. There are plenty of other films with big bangs and battle sequences – Michael Bay has made sure of that! – but few as interesting to the primary school mind. As a parent of three boys I’ve experienced the magnetism of seeing their favourite figures on the big screen first hand. The pity is that a film that has so much inbuilt attraction for their age group is just so completely unsuitable. 

It’s not the action violence; I’m quite happy for my boys to watch similar fantasy confrontations in films like The Avengers. Nor is it the sexual content; thankfully those easily skipped scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen haven’t been repeated since. I can even put up with the mindless dialogue that continues to roll out of Optimus’ mouth. I call it Prime Nonsense:

“Whenever you look to the stars, pick one – and imagine it’s my soul.”

Honestly, what does that mean? The language of the latest installment is a growing concern, though. Mild swear words are annoying enough; masked F-words are just unhelpful, and evidence of lazy writing. Yet the biggest turn off is a story line that revolves around a determined rejection of God.

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Normally when I watch films and television programs I have to think very carefully about the worldview presented and whether or not it’s something a Christian can support, or one that needs questioning. This one was no such struggle. It becomes very clear, very quickly that though there are a number of bad guys on the horizon it’s the creators of Optimus Prime who are the real villains. Writer Ehren Kruger has been so heavy-handed with the anti-Creator dialogue that it’s hard not to pick up on a very anti-Christian vibe:

Lockdown: “The creators don’t like it. They built you to do what you’re told…”

Lockdown: “You think you were born? You were built! And they want you back…”

Optimus: “A great threat is coming…”

Optimus: “This message is to my creators: Leave planet earth alone – because I am coming for you!”

Of course, what the heroes of Transformers 4 want is to be left alone, to be allowed to become “…not who we are but who we can be,” if only the evil ‘creators’ will leave them alone. But what that translates to is a humanity who may acknowledge that Someone started the ball rolling, but they don’t need His help now, thank you very much. For me, this is a message far more concerning than any four letter word that’s dropped into the script.

 

Rating: M
Distributor: Paramount

Release Date: June 26