TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (2014)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, Titus Welliver, Li Bingbing, T.J. Miller, Thomas Lennon, James Bachman, Charles Parnell, Cleo King, Richard Riehle, Patrick Bristow, Kevin Covais and the voices of Peter Cullen, Ken Watanabe, John Goodman, Frank Welker, John DiMaggio, Mark Ryan, Reno Wilson and Robert Foxworth .
Screenplay by Ehren Kruger.
Directed by Michael Bay.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures. 165 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Michael Bay! Yes, you! It’s the movie police! Put down the Transformer and back away from it. Slowly. That’s it. Put it down. Now! Raise your hands!
Yes, I know you’ve spent the past eight years or so putting together something like 11 hours of toy robots beating the crap out of each other. And yes, I’ll even admit that Transformers: Age of Extinction is slightly better than the last two chapters of the series, though that is mostly because of the absolute crappiness of Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon.
Also thank you for finally getting rid of Shia LeBeouf’s character of Sam Witwicky, which became more and more annoying by the movie.
However, Age of Extinction still a nearly three hour (are you fucking kidding me?) orgy of relentless, meaningless robot mayhem. You have wasted all of our time and lots of our money making four insanely long Transformers movies of which only 1/2 a movie (the first half of the first film) was at all entertaining, or even coherent.
Whether that is out and out theft or merely negligent incompetence is a decision best left to the courts.
I just know I can’t sit back and watch you commit these crimes upon cinema over and over again without forcing you to take some responsibility.
The Transformer movies are loud, bright, shiny con games which try to substitute style for substance, but don’t have much style, either. You hope if they move fast and are frenetic enough we won’t notice that we are being sold a bill of goods. But we have noticed, long ago. They are made for no other reason than so you can stick your hand in our wallets yet again and take our money.
I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to work harder than bringing in Mark Wahlberg and another generic hot girl (this time Nicola Peltz of Bates Motel) to make this movie worth our time and effort and money.
I know that no one has ever claimed that you are a competent filmmaker, but even on your low-level scale these films appear to be either negligent in terms of entertainment value or some kind of complex ponzi scheme.
I don’t know if they consider this a complete reboot because none of the cast (at least the human cast) returns from the first three films. The storyline, for what it’s worth, moves the story south to Texas a few years after the robot battle royale that ended the third film. The black-ops section government is hunting down the few that remain, destroying them in a hail of bullets or imprisoning and experimenting on them.
There is some very (very!) heavy-handed political symbolism – Transformers as really large, metal undocumented immigrants – but Bay does not have a light enough touch as a filmmaker to sell his rather valid points. Kelsey Grammer, who is quite vocal about the fact that conservatives are blacklisted and stereotyped in Hollywood, nonetheless throws gamely himself into a role playing a cartoonishly evil Dick-Cheney-type politician.
Mark Wahlberg is Cade Yaeger, a poor Texas inventor (hmmm… is this typecasting?), but none of his inventions work and he is about to lose the huge farm he shares with his gorgeous teen daughter Tessa (Peltz). Cade is obsessive about two things, making a fortune with his inventions and keeping the boys away from his little girl. One day, while going on a salvage buying outing in a huge old abandoned movie theater and finds a dead old truck. Not even wondering how exactly a broken down truck would get inside a movie theater, he buys it for $150.00 and tows it home.
If you’re thinking, oh my God, it’s a transformer… of course it is. You would have to be an idiot not to know that. In fact it’s Optimus Prime, the head honcho of the autobots. Cade brings him back to life. Soon lots of government agents are showing up at the old farm and Yaeger, his daughter and her secret boyfriend get stuck in a global war between good and evil.
Of course, the movie has the very same problem that every one of the Transformers movies has had – it’s hard to give a damn about a bunch of machines beating the shit out of each other. They are machines, they don’t feel pain or emotions, though the film tries to insist they do. Transformers are particularly oddball, clunky robots, lots of spare tires and out-of-place doors adorning them.
However, if you feel the need to watch two hours and forty five minutes of goofy machines ripping each other (and neighboring cities) to shreds, then I suppose you will be amused, because that’s pretty much all that happens in Transformers: Age of Extinction. The rest of us can just pray that finally, finally, Bay will put the series to rest, for good this time. And good riddance to bad robots.
Jay S. Jacobs