This movie exists for one reason: you people keep seeing these awful things. And I think I know why too. Though no one will admit to liking Michael Bay or the Transformers films, people turn up in droves. To a very small extent, it’s difficult form me to completely fault the young teenage guys from seeing these films. It is the ultimate major “make stuff go boom” franchise. Guys love that stuff. Ooo, that stuff is exploding all over, look at that helicopter crash INTO THAT GIANT ALIEN SPACESHIP!
There’s also the other obvious angle for the teen guys: hot girls in cutoff shorts and midriff showing tops. In the first two films it was the teenage fantasy Megan Fox in that role. Then in the third film, it was Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a model of all things, not an actress.
And in this film, it’s the teenage beauty, Nicola Peltz. Michael Bay has this all figured out so that he can have fun with his big exploding toys, AND get the teenage guys to fund it all.
For reasons that are not completely clear to me, Age of Extinction features an entirely new human cast. Granted I am not familiar at all with what happened in the franchise after the first film — so awful was it that I vowed never again to watch a Michael Bay directed Transformers film. That was before I had a little website called MovieByte. Now I have to see it for you.
The lead in this new cast is Mark Wahlberg. But not even Marky Mark can save this film, good though he may be. Sure, his acting is okay, but it is impossible to redeem this script. Wahlberg essentially has no vital role in this film.
Nicola Peltz is, as I mentioned, the new boy magnet for this installment in the franchise. And if I thought Wahlberg had nothing to do in any essential role in this film, it is far worse for Nicola. She’s the ultimate damsel in distress with no other purpose. At one point, it seems like Bay realizes he ought to give this character something to do, but it falls flat because she doesn’t actually do anything. And of course, there are several camera angles that capture her hot legs quite purposefully — though I’ll admit it’s nothing as crass and obvious as what we got with Fox in the first Transformers film (Bay was so obvious there that I felt awkward just watching it).
Kelsey Grammer is the over the top human bad guy who plays it up with not an ounce of subtly. He’s bad for reasons.
Stanley Tucci is the only character I enjoyed in this film, and even his superb acting (he’s always superb) could barely make his poorly written character enjoyable. He chewed the scenery so spectacularly, it’s just that the scenery left something to be desired. Why did his character suddenly switch from bad to good without any warning or hint of character development? He does what he does, again, for reasons.
There are several other characters in this film that feel completely underdeveloped, but get a couple of moments to do supposedly cool things. But they didn’t get a proper introduction or proper characterization. There was obviously something going on between Tucci and Bingbing Li’s character but I couldn’t figure out what it was. It’s like something was cut from the script — which is hard to believe given the film’s runtime. And I don’t even know what Sophia Myles was doing there.
I quipped on Twitter yesterday:
Trans4mers plot: 17 yo blond with HOT LEGS BE SURE TO SHOW THEM, Optimus Prime, THINGS GO BOOM, forbidden obtanium, EXCKSPLODE!!$12@!
— TJ Draper (@tjdraperpro) July 1, 2014
But that is really not very far from the truth. What plot was available was difficult to understand. Some of this, I’ll admit, is possibly because I missed the previous two films. Apparently the U.S. doesn’t like the Autobots anymore — but then it sort of morphed into just Kelsey Grammer doesn’t like them anymore because he has a way to basically print money and retire, and besides, he’s sacrificed for and served the U.S. all his life with not much to show for it. The U.S. owes him one. Just so happens, if he turns over Optimus Prime to some other transforming type of alien, then he can get his heart’s desire.
So the bad guy is really the alien. But then alien dude leaves, and Grammer is back to being the bad guy. But then alien evil transformer is back and he’s the bad guy again. Also he’s magnetizing stuff up to his ship and then dropping it (remember, EXCKSPLODE!! is a major plot device).
Mostly, the movie is about stuff blowing up, Transformers getting crunched, more stuff blowing up. Etc.
In all, any plot that is present feels meandering and pointless. I failed to understand why this film was made from a plot perspective.
One part of the plot that never went anywhere was the romance between Nicola Peltz character, and her boyfriend who just showed up at the right moment to save everyone early on in the film. He’s 20 something and she’s 17, but it’s okay as they make sure to elaborate on in an overly long and very well emphasized scene where Texas Romeo and Juliet law is described. It was a very odd thing. Marky Mark is against his daughter’s relationship in the beginning of the movie. But by the end, though boyfriend has done nothing much of anything, boyfriend is a-okay in daddy’s book. It was just bizarre.
I haven’t even mentioned yet the fact that this script feels like two separate movies shoved together, and I could even make an argument that it feels like three unrelated scripts shoved together.
Optimus Prime And the Autobots
The leader of the alien robots sure seems like something of a joke to me. He can’t control the few Autobots left, he is not eloquent, and he’s tired of fighting for humans.
Also, he loves to say stuff like, “Autobots, assemble!” “Autobots attack!” and “Autobots, retreat!” Basically it’s all Autobots all the time and it’s the most annoying thing ever.
After watching this film through I came to the conclusion that it’s little wonder the humans seem a bit disenfranchised with Optimus and his gang. They’re pretty incompetent.
One of the things you will have noticed about me by now if you’ve read many of my reviews is that I have very little tolerance for incoherent action. It’s lazy filmmaking and it abounds in this film. In Wahlberg’s first action sequence, our team is driving through cornfields trying to avoid the military and bad Transformers, then cut to a scene where they’re on a road with no cornfields in sight. What happened?
And on and on it goes. A character is over there in peril about to die, suddenly that character is several blocks away completely fine and doing something else entirely. It’s almost like watching a kid play with LEGOs and whatnot. That’s the level of incoherence I felt. Usually when I complain about incoherent action, there was still at least an understanding of what was happening. But not here. There were some sequences where my senses felt utterly assaulted, and I yet had no sense of where the heck anything was or what was going on in any way.
Lets talk about the length of this film. There are very few circumstances that warrant a film being TWO HOURS AND FOURTY FIVE MINUTES LONG. Yes, that’s how long this film is, and it feels like three. Trim the fat! Actually, if this film had been just under two hours, I might have given it a bit higher a star rating. But this film was padding with useless plot contrivances, explosions, aliens, more explosions, incoherent babble, and did I mention explosions? Cut all that out and it might have been a 2 star film.
It has been quite a while since I saw the first Transformers film, but I think I liked this film a little better than that first film. That is not to say that I liked this film because I didn’t and I have no intention of seeing it again. But I think the absence of Shia LaBeouf does wonders for this film’s enjoyableness.
Still, I recommend staying away from this one with every fiber of my being. Do not toruture yourself like this. This is definitely the Bayest Bay film that Bay every Bayed.