Somehow, Transformers: Age of Extinction was blessed with a scriptwriter. I’m not sure why. Perhaps he just set out a few cue cards from which Bay could draw inspriation to blow shit up. The dialogue is mostly quite bland, such as when Shane explains to Cade, as their mutual interest is kidnapped by Gaviscon, “I’m not helping you to rescue your daughter, you’re helping me to rescue my girlfriend.”
However, you go for the visuals and there is plenty to lap up. Although the main widescreen aspect ratio for this film is 2.35:1, Michael Bay deserves the credit for not only making a film for an IMAX screen which actually uses IMAX cameras, but also because these seemed to be used for the majority of the 165-minute running time, and do you can’t argue that you didn’t get your money’s worth. In ye olden times, the IMAX ratio would open up to 1.44:1, but currently this is only possible on film stock which is almost depleted. Add to this, the fact that most film-makers, like Bay, are opting for shooting digitally anyway, and that has a maximum ratio of around 1.90:1, so somewhere inbetween 2.35:1 and what we used to get with 1.44:1.
When I saw this film in the cinema, I felt it was a great shame that the end seemed to be almost nigh for 1.44:1, especially since I only got into watching IMAX films late on, in 2012, with Prometheus which was 1.90:1 throughout, with some scenes opened-up and some shots cropped depending on the effect required; and The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises, both of which did open up to 1.44:1 at times (the latter moreso), but while Spidey was 2.35:1 throughout on Blu-ray, Christopher Nolan’s third Batman escapade, like the second one, could only open up to 16:9 on the Blu-ray (well, they could’ve gone for a pillarboxed effect to show the whole image, but it would’ve lost the effect of what was onscreen).
Due to the film stock issue, I also said at the time of this film’s cinema release that fans of 1.44:1 should note that Nolan’s latest opus, Interstellar, was most likely be the last film to utilise this IMAX ratio. Ever. And that saddened me.
However, since then there’s been a change, since Laser IMAX is on its way, in due course. Might be a year before we get it, but when we do, we can expect 1.44:1 IMAX ratio films again! Hurrah!
Other random thoughts about Transformers: Age of Extinction:
- Nicola Peltz is the hottie in the film but let’s not forget her role as a bratty teenager in the stellar film The Last Airbender. Or rather, DO forget it!
- How come the powers that be can learn a lot from the confiscated head of Megatron when all of their memories are in their lifeforce, which is where the heart normally goes?
- I have a bad cough, which can be problematic at times. Not so during Transformers: Age of Extinction, as it’s almost non-stop loud all the time, so such an issue is easily masked by the explosions.
- This film was not released on a Friday, as you’d expect, but a Saturday, which meant that it wouldn’t make that week’s charts, but would actually have a 9-day “weekend” in terms of box office, and so would easily make No.1 the following week. And it did. This made me wonder if the studio were so unsure it’d get to No.1 on its own merit by conventional means that they have to cheat by getting almost two full weekends out of it. Bad Neighbours (aka Neighbors) also did that recently. I wonder if this is the start of a trend. I do hope not.
Like I said, the film goes on way too long. It’s like Michael Bay wants to give us the “Final Extended Director’s Cut” upfront. It could easily chop out 30 minutes or so and, as such, I actually felt drained when I left the theatre. However, I saw this film rather late in its cinema run, and it’ll most likely leave the IMAX screen for good once Thursday comes round and it’s replaced by Guardians of the Galaxy, but if you can catch it before then, I’d recommend it on a technical level, at least. I can still remember seeing Gaviscon shouting close-up at the screen for no apparent reason, and the level of detail on display in the IMAX shot was wonderful.
All that said, I thought I’d seen Gravity on one of its last IMAX airings before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug took its turn to dominate, and Gravity still returned later. Then again, that was due to its Oscar-worthyness, something which didn’t happen with this film.
Go to page 3 for a look at the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.