Transformers: Age of Extinction, 2014.
Directed by Michael Bay.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Victoria Summer, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, Bingbing Li and featuring the voice talents of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, and Mark Ryan.
An automobile mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down the Autobots – and a paranoid government official – on them.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is a near three-hour headache, only with less plot and more idiocy. Have you ever woken up with a hangover that starts off bad and then just gets worse and worse throughout the day with no signs of stopping? That is Transformers: Age of Extinction in a nutshell: a hangover that just won’t go away.
Replacing the charisma vacuum in the leading role this time around is Marky Mark Wahlberg, who plays a poor father/inventor who happens to stumble upon and purchase a truck that turns out to be Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. Since the war in Chicago seen in the last movie, Transformers are now on the endangered list and are being hunted down and destroyed. With Prime now back on the map, the government and a Transformer named Lockdown hunt him and the remaining Autobots down. But they’re not the only interested parties as there is another inventor (a not-so-subtle Steve Jobs clone) who is creating his own army of Transformers and a new leader called Galvatron, based off Megatron’s DNA and – get this – “Transformium”.
If you didn’t catch all of that, it doesn’t matter. The above paragraph has more plot detail and has had more thought put into it than the writers bothered with. If you want the short hand version, Transformers: Age of Extinction is BOOM CRASH SMASH EXPLOSION BANG KABOOM SHOUTING GUNS KAPOW KERSMASH KER-BLAM-OW.
Get the idea?
Transformers: Age of Extinction is like Michael Bay playing his greatest hits – low shots of people getting out of cars, helicopters at sunset, comedy relief that provide no laughs, more explosions than an actual World War, character-less characters with zero personality, product placement with no subtlety, American flags galore and shooting cars like they were porn stars. But fans of his might be disappointed to see that female objectification and racism are missing from the setlist.
It’s a veritable smorgasbord of moronic stupidity across a runtime in which you can watch the (much better) 1986 animated The Transformers: The Movie twice in a row. What makes this an issue is that Michael Bay doesn’t care about pacing, nor does he know how to condition his action scenes. He starts at 10 and then moves quickly to 11 and stays there until the credits roll. So by the time you have seen your zillionth explosion, you’re tired of seeing them. It all starts to feel samey. And when you have to watch things blow up for nearly three hours, you quickly grow tired of it and stop caring.
Caring about the movie becomes even harder when human “characters” are cut from the blandest cloth imaginable and are then directed by a man who doesn’t care about character development. To Michael Bay, actors are nothing more than props to play with in his green screen world so he can blow things up around them while they quite obviously hold up a can of Diet Pepsi to the camera. One of the biggest problems with the Transformers franchise is that not only are the human characters redundant, the Transformers themselves have no character either. Never is this clearer than in Transformers: Age of Extinction as he rolls out the fan-favourite Dinobots in the last reel of the movie – and doesn’t names one of them. Seriously, not one of them is identified. So why should we care what happens to them when he doesn’t care enough to give them names?
This is not a fanboy rant review. If it were there would be more hate and vitriol behind that last sentence about the Dinobots. This is a review written by someone who loves movies and is sickened by this wretched excuse of cinema that is the dirt-worst of Hollywood tentpoles. There was no thought, no care and no effort put forth by anyone with the exception of the cast who, bless their hearts, at least attempted to make the stupid script sound coherent. They fail, but everyone loves a trier.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is not just a new low in summer blockbusters, it’s a new low for Michael Bay who has become nothing more than a parody of himself. It’s like he knows he’s the Internet’s whipping boy and this is his middle finger. Transformers: Age of Extinction will make $800 million easily regardless of quality so he doesn’t even need to try. He’ll get his massive paycheque and go on to direct the next instalments where he can give even less of a toss.
Transformers: Age of Extinction, ladies and gentleman, is a horrible, horrible movie that is only marginally better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen because Shia LeBeouf isn’t in it and it contains no racism.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.