Making the Grades
Looking for a movie that is long, loud and even has a hint of a family angle? Transformers: Age of Extinction may be it. While it is still far from family friendly for young viewers, this Michael Bay film clocks in at 166 minutes. It also comes with a pounding soundtrack, continual clashes between huge robotic aliens and maybe most surprisingly, a dad who is more than just a little concerned about the length of his daughter’s shorts.
The cast has changed out in this fourth installment of the Transformer‘s franchise. Now Mark Wahlberg leads in the role of Cade Yeager, a struggling small business owner who tinkers around in his barn building and repairing robots. After hauling home another dusty relic, much to his daughter’s annoyance, Cade realizes he has rescued an Autobot. But it is a dangerous find.
Since the Autobots and Decepticons nearly destroyed Chicago during a battle four years earlier, the government has developed a special task force, headed up by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), to hunt down and annihilate the robotic space invaders. He’s a secretive and deceptive agent that refuses to come clean even to the President of the United States. On the side, Harold passes on the captured Transformers to Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), an inventor who subjects them to a battery of brutal testing. As a result of his invasive actions, the industrialist has discovered the transformable molecular make-up of the aliens and is using it to create an army of human-controlled Transformers.
When Harold gets wind of Cade’s find, he sends his bounty hunters out to retrieve the machine. Dressed in stereotypical long black coats and dark sunglasses, James Savoy (Titus Welliver) and his henchmen do whatever it takes to get what they want, including holding a gun to the head of Cade and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). Luckily Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen) transforms from the old truck into battle mode in time to save Cade, his daughter and Tessa’s boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor). Escaping from Savoy, they hit the road to find out who is behind the new army of manmade Transformers.
The action in this film at least equals, if not exceeds, that of the first three movies with almost constant clashes between the three warring parties—Autobots, Decepticons and humans. In the clashes that follow, characters are shot, impaled, crushed and blown up in explosive attacks. Some characters engage in frequent hand-to-hand combat while others are tossed from the top of a building or shot in the chest at close range (with some blood shown). And all this 3D action is set to a rumbling score that will practically shake your seat (especially if you’ve shelled out for the enhanced sound theater).
While the battle scenes and even the story line aren’t remarkably different from the other Transformer movies, this one does have one refreshing element—an involved parent. Yes he is overbearing at times and naive about his daughter’s innocence. Still, it is good to see a father who tries to act like a dad instead of a deadbeat. He’s far from perfect but it is still a nice transformation.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Cade isn’t happy when it is implied his 17-year-old daughter has been having sexual relations with her 20-year-old boyfriend. However the young couple points out that their relationship is protected under the Romeo and Juliet Law in Texas. Do you think this law protects teens or encourages sexual behavior?
Although Shane says he wants to protect Tessa, there are times in the beginning of the movie where he backs off. How does Cade react differently to the defense of his daughter? Why do most parents, like Cade, want their children to be happy, healthy and safe?
Why do the humans turn on the Autobots? Can a mistaken judgment turn people against one another?
Learn more about the Hasbro toy that launched this movie franchise.