Release Date: June 27, 2014
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, and Kelsey Grammer
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
This summer brings another installment of Michael Bay's explosive series with Transformers: Age of Extinction. While a lot of people tend to approach these films with a healthy dose of skepticism, these movies have been exceptional at the box office each year a sequel is released (taking second place in the box office in both 2009 and 2011). Despite the commercial success, a lot has changed with this fourth entry in the popular series, primarily with the casting. After a public melt-down and declining favor with the masses, Shia LeBeouf's character is nowhere to be seen in this new incarnation. So who have the filmmakers replaced the divisive figure with? One of Michael Bay's previous collaborators, Mark Wahlberg.
Still affectionately referred to as "Marky-Mark" by many, Wahlberg has had an illustrious career starring in many critically-acclaimed and blockbuster films alike. He's even been nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the Martin Scorsese gangster epic, The Departed. He's also taken dramatic turns in beloved films like The Fighter, flexed his comedic muscles in movies like Ted, and even proven his action hero status in recent hits like Lone Survivor. Looking at his resume, it's clear why he would be a prime candidate for a starring role in such a big-budget, sci-fi action spectacular. But Michael Bay was actually attracted to Wahlberg's talents prior to casting him in his latest Transformers film.
Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay at the "Pain and Gain" premiere
The two worked together in a film that came out just last year entitled Pain and Gain. It was one of the lowest budget films Michael Bay had ever worked on, a feat that was achieved when neither he, Dwayne Johnson, nor Mark Wahlberg took paychecks for their work on the film. Surely after seeing what a team player Wahlberg was (not to mention his terrific acting talent), it comes at no surprise that Bay would want to repeat the experience of the two working together. Given the wide array of talent that Michael Bay typically attracts for his projects, it's definitely telling that he would bring Wahlberg back for Transformers: Age of Extinction.
This new film seems to focus on a struggling single father who gets wrapped up in a Cybertronian battle against his will. Clearly Bay wanted to cast someone who could adequately carry the human story through all of the effects and spectacle, which Wahlberg is certainly capable of doing. Working with familiar faces and returning to a franchise on its fourth leg, perhaps this will be the perfect dynamic to bring everyone the Transformers movie that they're hoping to get.
Optimus Prime riding Grimlock into battle
Of course, the inclusion of fan-favorite Dinobots certainly doesn't hurt the situation. It's long been speculated if and when Michael Bay would finally translate the robots in disguise as prehistoric creatures to the big screen, and a title like Age of Extinction sets the stage perfectly for such an introduction. The trailer alone gives a kind of nostalgic thrill at seeing Grimlock stomping around and breathing fire, particularly when ridden by Optimus Prime (as pictured above). The long-awaited Dinobot story is not only genius from a merchandising standpoint, but it seems like it could breathe fresh life into a series that seemed to have ended rather conclusively back with Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
One thing is certain - this is going to be one of the biggest films of the summer. Fans of the first three films will not be disappointed, and even some skeptics could be won over by this new iteration of the beloved series. Perhaps this latest film will end up being more than meets the eye...? (Sorry, I had to do it at least once.)
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens nationwide on Friday, June 27th in IMAX and 3D!
**Are you excited for the new Transformers movie! Let me know in the comments section below!**