Friday, June 27, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

In short... I wish my eyes could unsee what they saw for 2 hours and 40 minutes...
Okay so... Transformers: Age of Extinction...
Going into this I want you to note, and I say this with no shame, I enjoy the first and third movies quite a bit.

The Awesome: The Box Trolls trailer at the beginning in 3D was incredible, charming, and left me waiting for September 26th to hurry up and get here NOW! 

The Pretty Good: Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci steal the scenes they're in and John Goodman's voice alone is better than every other performance in this thing. Oh, and then there was Detroit's People Mover dressed to look like a Hong Kong monorail for about 2 seconds - that was pretty cool.

The Oh My God Can This Get Any Worse: Just about everything else in this movie, and no, I'm not exaggerating. I enjoyed the first, loathed the second, and had fun with the third film, but this one... this is easily the worst of them. 

When Megan Fox continues to remain the high achievement in strong, well-written female characters for the franchise - even after her leg got humped by a robot in the second movie - there is a serious problem. If Betty Friedan was somehow brought back to life and saw Nicola Peltz in this, I'm pretty sure she'd climb back into her coffin and politely ask someone to cover her back up. When an entire scene is dedicated to giving a legal reason for Peltz's 17 year old character to be dating a 20 year old guy and him carrying a laminated card in his wallet explaining how under Texas law their relationship isn't statutory rape and have it meant to be a humous sideline into backstory - is more than a little disgusting. It's meant to be funny. There is no other way to interpret the scene. In the real world, where crap like that DOES happen and it isn't because a young girl is defying her Dad's wishes by dating, let alone dating an older guy, but is legitimate abuse - it's NOT FUNNY nor should it be made to be. 

But hey, this is an action movie right? That would be something if the action was actually enjoyable. The action scenes make ZERO sense and are numbingly confusing. And then there are about 50 of the EXACT SAME robot fighting the heroes. I'm not kidding, they actually worked that into the plot so there would be a lot of the same evil robots. Michael Bay has also somehow made Ed Wood look like a continuity GENIUS - characters disappear and reappear in different places at random not to mention how it can be day, dusk/night, and back to day again in a single scene. 

And then the 3D. I love 3D. LOVE IT. I have a 3DTV and probably 20+ 3D Blu-rays in my collection. Part of the reason I even went to see this was because it was in 3D, and that's in part what helped me enjoy the action of the third movie. This time? Totally wasted. With all of the quick cutting, and angle changes, the sense of scale of the Transformers is lost quickly and with it any impact of the effect. Seriously from shot to shot in the same scene they look like they could be 100 feet tall or 10 inches tall.

Then you have the product placement. Granted, this entire franchise is an advertisement to sell adults new awesome sports cars and kids new awesome toys, I can get behind that as a Man Child, I want both. But a Bud Light Platinum commercial? Gak - why not at least get a good beer? A Chinese rice milk drink? WTF? And then when your target audience is essentially made up of 10 year old boys, do you really want to try selling them women's panties with a gigantic, excruciatingly blatant Victoria's Secret bus? Because action figures and lacy under garments don't really go together. Well, sometimes they do, but that's for a decidedly older audience. Just saying. 

But, what about those cool Dinobots in all the trailers? Fans have been waiting YEARS to see these guys in action, and yeah... they're not really in the movie, and when they are, they don't do much or say anything beyond a grunt. Seriously they're there for all of 10 minutes, at best. Granted, they are cool, but this is a classic case of bait-and-switch movie advertising. If the Dinobots were what was going to bring you to the theater, you're going to be pissed.

Can you tell I thought this was a bad movie? I was fine with the franchise up to this point. I could forgive Revenge of the Fallen as a product of the Writer's Strike and no completed screenplay. Shit happens, I get that. This one however, has no excuse for being what it is. It's more than lazy, it's just BAD. And I'm not a Bay Hater by any means, the guy can usually deliver a pretty decent, fun 2 hours of action entertainment. After Age of Extinction, I hope he takes the cue from his latest film's subtitle and not attach himself to another one of these movies or any movie for quite awhile. Say what you will about someone like Tommy Wiseau and "The Room," at least that guy had passion and genuinely tried to make a good movie! If Bay put a tenth of the same amount of effort into this, there could have been a real movie here. But, there's not.

And if this hasn't dissuaded you, if you're intent on plunking down your bucks - all I'll say is that it is okay to laugh every time Mark Walberg says "I'm an inventor!" or "my inventions" or anything science related - everyone else at my theater was! 

In the End: 0/5 I love bad movies, but nothing short of a thorough and vicious savaging from Rifftrax will get me to watch this thing again. In fact it makes me want to sell my copies of the first and third movies - so I'm going to try my best to forget Age of Extiction even exists. At least the state of Michigan got $80+ million out of this pile.