When I watched the latest Godzilla movie i literally cheered out loud when Godzilla blasted his nuclear breath at his enemy and even again when he did it in the finale. Why? because i wasn’t expecting it, because it was different and most importantly because the director made me actually care and want Godzilla to win.
I felt none of those feelings with Transformers: Age of Extinction.
I grew up with Transformers so believe me when I tell you I let a lot slide because my childhood is on the big screen. However, Michael Bay is exhausting my tolerance. Speaking of exhausting. This movie is 165 minutes long! That’s longer than the Godfather and it was completely unnecessary.
First let me start with the good. No Shia LaBouf. Yes the whiney, entitled punk with girlfirends out of his league is finally gone and is replaced with Mark Wahlberg who has much more star power and impresses me in films I didn’t expect him to like ‘Pain and Gain’. Mark’s character ‘Cade Yeager’ is supposed to be a down on his luck inventor from ‘Texas, USA’. (It actually says that on the screen, opposed to Texas in some other country I guess). Anyway,with bulging biceps and an east coast accent it didn’t sell too well for me. He has a daughter (insert sterotypical Bay woman here), played by Nicola Peltz whom I’ve never seen before but acts about as well as any of the other leading ladies in the Transformers franchise. She is supposed to be 17 and spends the opening scenes wearing shorts so short the pockets are hanging out. Her ass would too if she had one but she is built more like a barbie doll. Mark spends the movie protecting her from not only the alien threat but also her race car driving boyfriend with an Australian accent. The whole father protecting daughter against boyfriend thing was way to reminiscent of Armageddon. (Guess who directed that?)
Also, Kelsey Grammer is in the film and plays the bad guy! It was refreshing to see and he did a good job of it i think. He leads a covert CIA transformer hunting team on a mission to protect us all from the alien threat…by teaming up with another alien and with Stanley Tucci who plays a billionaire technology tycoon who wants the alien tech.
The Transformers themselves are sleek and cool and Michael Bay’s CGI team does amazing things with them. There is no denying that. However somone decided that they looked too much like robots and decided to give them faces complete with lips, beards, noses and even a cigar like thing that makes them look more like they merged with the terminators.
The bad guys succeed in making their own transformers only they don’t transform but rather come apart into whirling cubes and back again feeling a little too close to the sentinel tech of the latest X-men movie.
So now the things that killed it for me.
Um it was 165 minutes long. Even with the visual spectacle that Michael Bay presents I still found myself bored! Why? Well first of all I’ve seen it before. Nothing new was offered other than Tranformer sentinals and Dinobots? Oh, did I forget to mention the robot dinosaurs? Well have no fear after forcing them into submission through an ass beating Optimus uses them to help defeat the bad guys and then says, “Your free” thanks for your help and they run to the hills of China. Thanks Optimus, I’m sure China loves that you left them with primal robot beasts of mass destruction.
Oh there is plenty of destruction, it is a Michael Bay film. But this time instead of destroying one city he blows up two! That make it cooler right?
So in this film the Michael Bay lighting got outright ridiculous. Apparently a light that rivals the sun is always waiting behind some crack in the set waiting to be revealed and blind your eyeballs.
So some plot problems that not only drove me crazy but made the movie longer than needed. In the opening scene some random woman and her science team discover the ancient remains of a metal dinosaur in the arctic. She says this will forever change our history. Then later she is in another brief scene with Stanley Tucci and it never comes up again. This could have explained a lot but apparently Bay gave up on that plot point to put in more explosions.
Then we cut to the farm in Texas, USA. Where Wahlberg finds an old junker semi truck in an abandoned opera house, drags it home and discovers it’s actually a badly wounded Optimus Prime. NOw this set up sounds perfect. A down on his luck inventor with half working robtics in his middle of nowhere Texas barn finds a wounded Optimus Prime who needs help. This should work out great right? Wahlberg sends his buddy to town to get the needed parts only the meany CIA guys tracked Optimus to the farm and show up before Wahlberg can fix Optimus. NO PROBLEM, Optimus comes exploding out of the barn guns blazing and saves the day and then takes them all with him and turns himself back into a shiney new truck.
Wait, What the fuck? Sooo, why the plot build up of Wahlburg being a tinkerer and inventor? Oh, nevermind that let’s get to the explosions!
Then Optimus takes them to meet up with the other Autobots. All of which were completely new to me except for BumbleBee. Ah, BubbleBEE, we love him right? He is verbally challenged and loyal like a labrador with no tongue. However what we love about him is not in this movie because he has no reason to give a shit about this new cast. He instead throws temper tantrums.
John Goodman plays one of the autobots and I did like his character quite a bit.
So from this point on it’s pretty much standard Bayhem. Robot on robot action with lots of explosions, bright lights and slo-mo shots. ONly with a lot less story. Throughout the film I never really new what was at stake. Are we going to face extinction or just the robots? Oh wait there is a big floaty vacuum ship thing sucking cars and city into the air and dropping them. That’s it, that must be the threat. And original too. I’ve never seen that before.
After two hours of this I asked myself, “self, isn’t there supposed to be dinobots in this film?” Yeah it was that long. OH my god was it long.
Sadly this film will probably still do good even though I have no idea who it’s targeted to. It’s obviously not for kids. These movies get excessively more violent. Apparently it’s okay to tear the heart out of a transformer because they are just robots except the topic of souls come up several times in the film so we ARE supposed to care yet we don’t.
John Goodman’s character ‘Hound” delivers a line in the movie that sums it up pretty well i think. He says, “Out of Ammo and out of ideas.”