I suppose that if you’re a regular reader of our site here at Comedy Film Nerds, you are fully aware, almost ad nauseam, of our opinion of Michael Bay and the atrocities he likes to call “films”. And honestly, this new sequel/reboot called Transformers: Age of Extinction is probably the most Michael Bay styled Michael Bay movie yet. It’s so full of trash like gratuitous product placement, really shitty dialogue and groan-inducing one-liners, two-dimensional characters that never get fleshed out, blatant objectification of women, really cheesy, overly dramatic song moments/montages, and the list goes on. Not to mention that this movie is a whopping TWO HOURS and 45 MINUTES long. Which means it is exactly two hours and 45 minutes too long.
I don’t even know if it’s worth giving you a synopsis because, really, who cares. But for the sake of following some sort of review structure, the premise is that Kelsey Grammer is head of the CIA and he wants all Decepticons AND Autobots eliminated, destroyed, because since they trashed Chicago in the last installment, they’re just dangerous, and whatever, he’s a fairly two-dimensional villain. He is also in cahoots with some Transformer in a giant ship that is a kind of “fixer” and he’s always bitching about how they have to come fix whatever trouble Optimus Prime causes.
So now, some inventor/electronics whiz named Cade Yeager (really?) played by Mark Wahlberg finds some old beat up truck that turns out to be Optimus and starts trying to repair him in his barn. Then the CIA find out and show up and cause havoc and threaten to shoot his 17 year old daughter, the new eye-candy Nicola Peltz, who wears super short shorts that Cade continually gives her grief about. And Cade is a total prude so he says no dating but of course she’s dating a 20 year old RACE CAR DRIVER. OMG, who makes this shit up?
Ehren Kruger, that’s who. Yeah, let’s not forget the writer of this shite. For as bad as Michael Bay is, we shouldn’t forget that somebody has to write all this on paper so Bay can shoot it. And Kruger wrote the last two of the installments of this franchise. To me, this is a guy that wrote a couple of decent films and rode that wave while mostly writing crappy scripts. what good has he done? Well, Arlington Road was arguably decent. Then the next decent one was The Ring. Then The Skeleton Key and The Brothers Grimm (probably the least enjoyable of Terry Gilliams films), and that’s it. The rest is Transformers and things like Reindeer Games, Scream 3 and Imposter. So, to be fair, Kruger should share some of this universal derision.
Michael Bay has said he makes movie for teenage boys, big deal. Well, stop directing them AS a teenage boy, too. That doens’t mean you have to cater to the lowest common denominator. You could actually contribute to IMPROVING the state of Hollywood film making instead of leading the charge of everything that is negative about making films, our pop culture, media, ignorance, and lack of appropriate self-image, etc. The problem is that everything in these movies is about making money, not about making a good film. He makes disposable products. He defies the notion that film making is actually an artistic craft. And hey, I’m all for brainless popcorn movies. I just don’t think you have to be offensive about it.
If indeed there were anything good to say about Transformers: Age of Extinction, it would be Stanley Tucci, who either is given the most to work with, or simply makes the most of what he has been given. He is actually pretty entertaining here and does all he can to be the one thing that rises above the dreck. Also, as may have been said before, the action and effects are really great. Hey, I can’t complain about a T-Rex Dinobot breathing fire. Except that he didn’t say “TELL STORY!” If Michael Bay should be directing anything, it should be 2nd Unit and visual effects. I admit, he does that well. But otherwise, I can’t recommend this movie at all.
The very idea that there will be TWO MORE of these is disheartening to say the least. But as I just read today, it appears that Age of Extinction has broken the 600 million dollar mark already, so there is no end in sight. I am befuddled by these numbers, because it seems to be common knowledge that these Transformers movies are generally pretty bad, and yet, a worldwide take of over 600 million? What is worng with everyone? There aren’t THAT many teen boys going to the theater, are there? The domestic take right now is about 190 million, so the rest of the world needs to just stop. STAHP. The budget was about 210 million, so, if it weren’t for the international market, it wouldn’t have made its’ money back yet. Did you international folks not know about Michael Bay, yet? Well, now you do. Oh, and you want to point your fingers at me? Hey, I had a free movie coming to me from Arclight, so I didn’t pay a dime for it. No sir, I paid for Snowpiercer, and I’m proud of that.
Kittenhands? For this? One. Just for Stanely Tucci. Nuthin’ for the rest.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, noting that I alternated between being offended and vexed.