REVIEW — “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
Going into the newest addition to the “Transformers” franchise I tried to keep an open mind. I was carrying the knowledge that Michael Bay, and his producers, all stated that this would be a fresh start to a new franchise, and that we could expect bigger and better, and that tickled me since I thought the last three movies were awful. Man, I wish I could get a refund on my time.
Had I not been a member of the press there to review this monstrous terd of a film I would have walked out around the halfway point, but admittedly I would have missed the only decent parts of the thing (touch on that later). In this 2 hours and 45 minutes long disaster there is maybe 20-30 minutes of screen time worth anything. That time is a mix of a few new Transformers, and the two humans played by Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci (more on them in a second). The bloated plot lacks development of essential storylines, and the writing is worse than what we saw in “Transformers :Revenge of the Fallen” (you might remember the Writer’s Strike happened during that one too). What the film lacks in character development, continuity, plot, cohesiveness, chemistry and unique action scenes it more than makes up for with Michael Bay’s classic style of filling every scene with product placement, explosions galore, and nonsensical mayhem.
A lot of the actors lacked chemistry, and the writing for the characters was just awful. We have a hot chick, played by Nicola Peltz, who they tell you is 17. They then go on to sexualize her character over and over again as if they didn’t just tell you she was a minor. On top of that she has an awkwardly Irish…but born and raised American…boyfriend, played by Jack Reynor, that does almost nothing the entire time. They had to shoehorn awkwardly placed plot points to make his character even somewhat useful. Mark Wahlberg plays a mix of his characters from “Shooter” and “The Happening,” and lacks chemistry with his daughter and her boyfriend. His character isn’t believable as the inventor/genius they want you to think he is, and since you’re meant to believe that he’s an inventor it isn’t believable that he could then be a Transformer fighting bad-ass. However, his character is a lot cooler than previous leads in this franchise. As mentioned before Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer really steal the show as it feels like they are the only human cast putting forth any effort. TJ Miller made for some great comedic scenes, but nothing beats the power Grammer had or the charisma Tucci had. It looked like Tucci genuinely had a lot of fun filming this, and that really makes his time on screen all the better.
The Transformers this time around were a lot cooler, but the coolest ones didn’t get nearly enough screen time. Crosshairs (John DiMaggio), Drift (Ken Watanabe) and Hound (John Goodman) all brought a freshness to this stale franchise, but (aside from Hound) their chances to shine were few and far between, and their character motivations kept shifting inexplicably (due to poor writing). Not to mention Optimus Prime this time around has more mood swings than a 14 year old girl, and then, unexplainably, he has an ability to do something unassisted that he has never done for four movies that would have helped him in countless situations before. Add to this that the selling point of this film, the Dinobots, appear in the last part of the last act of the film, and are unceremoniously sent off screen 10 minutes later. They were shoehorned in with a terrible plot device that didn’t make sense (Optimus challenges 4 Dinobots to a fight, he fights one of them, slaps him, and they become allies…WHAT?!). Add to this that they have a bad-ass bounty hunter villain (Lockdown) that is DUMBER than rocks (he doesn’t notice when huge pieces of his ship fly away…). Then toss in that Optimus is inexplicably able to heal himself for no reason whenever he gets hurt during the ‘story,’ and you have another terrible addition to the franchise.
I could go on and on, but I’m already 300 words over my limit. This film is a disaster of epic proportions from start to finish. From the terrible writing to the stale action scenes, this film suffers from a lack of originality. Having Bay direct ANOTHER film in this terrible, but gigantic, franchise was a mistake as it just gave us more of the same. The only cool characters, and excellent acting scenes, add up to maybe 30 minutes of screen time, and the movie is almost 3 HOURS LONG! Kids will undoubtedly love this as it plays like a giant “BUY MY TOYS” commercial, and people easily able to turn off their brains and FORGET THEY’VE ALREADY SEEN THIS MOVIE might enjoy it as well. If Michael Bay directs the next one I will NOT be going to see it. 1.5/5