Monday, July 7, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Director: Michael Bay

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor

So I was willing to give this movie the benefit of the doubt because dammit, I don’t like to hate on a director just because. I really don’t like it when people hate a director by default, just because everybody else says his films stink. This review comes from a guy who actually kind of enjoyed Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) So I went into Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) with the best of intentions, completely willing to give the film a chance; cause who knows, maybe Michael Bay has learned a thing or two about what worked and didn’t work with his previous films. But alas, it seems success has blinded Michael Bay’s judgment, he knows not what makes a good movie. Let’s face it, the only reason these movies are making money is because people love the concept of The Transformers, not because they actually like these films, because who in their right mind enjoys this crap?

This time around, the Transformers are hiding from the government because apparently, even though they saved the world from an alien invasion in the last film; they are now seen as a threat to humanity. Sure they destroyed most of Chicago, but didn’t they also save like…the entire planet from an alien invasion? But whatever; so anyhow, now The Transformers have gone into hiding. But wait! Mark Wahlberg finds Optimus Prime and brings him back to life…because he’s an inventor and he likes to tinker around with mechanical doo-dads. So anyhow, one thing leads to another and it’s The Transformers vs. The Evil U.S. Government who wants to duplicate the Transformers DNA in order to create an army of Transformers so they can use them for military purposes. Can Optimus Prime lead the Transformers once again? Can he stop the humans from creating an army of Transformer clones?

For the first few minutes of this movie, I was actually thinking to myself “why is everybody hating on this movie?” because we were getting to meet these human characters, and suddenly little by little transformers are figuring into the story and I was like “this aint so bad”, but then, somewhere around the midsection, when the action begins, things begin to fall apart. It’s the damn CGI characters, I can’t connect with them. And then, around the last forty minute mark I was praying for this film to be over! Then I understand what everyone was bitching and moaning about. Then film turns into torture! Pure and simple torture because you can’t root for anyone, because the transformers are not fleshed out characters and you can’t really root for anyone all you see are things exploding with no sentimental or intellectual value attached to the proceedings. Not even Optimus Prime, the main character in the film, is a well developed character. He’s just this stock character, always speaking like some sort of wise man. Why the hell does Optimus Prime always have to give people advice? The Transformers are all cardboard cut outs, generic characters with no depth to them, I don’t think it’s the fact that they are animated characters that doesn’t allow me to connect with them, it’s the fact that they are not developed at all. They don’t have a personality. You won’t know who the villains are; you won’t know who the good guys are, because they are all one huge indistinguishable pile of CGI crap.

Then there’s the action, which is very difficult to follow because it’s all just a mess, a huge, excessively loud CGI mess. And sad part is that it’s more of the same, Transformers fighting in a city, destroying everything. I’m guessing that the reason why they decided to shoot part of the film in China was to offer us different visuals; sadly, Michael Bay makes China look exactly the same as Chicago? Transformers fighting in between buildings is the same crap we’ve seen before, dammit Michael Bay you have all these millions at your disposal and you still can’t figure out a way to offer us something visually interesting or new? Come on dude. You could have tried something different. Instead, we get the same crap we’ve seen before, explosions, cars flipping, buildings toppling…you even swiped ideas from Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013)! That whole thing about a space ship that sucks up everything in its path like a giant magnet and then drops it all back down? Totally stolen from Snyder’s Man of Steel! Bay simply played around with the concept in his own way, but it’s quite obvious Bay wished he had come up with that idea, those scenes scratch on plagiarism if you ask me.

Sure, eliminating Shia LaBeouf from the franchise was a step in the right direction and replacing him with Mark Wahlberg was a genius idea, but then you get so many other things wrong, that it’s like taking ten steps back. Okay, the film does have its moments, the bit with the cars being sucked up in the air, even though extremely similar to what we already saw in Man of Steel, was entertaining. There are obviously some cool special effects in the film, the problem is that it’s all so mind numbingly redundant, that I literally saw people walking out of the movie theater mid way through the movie. People just didn’t care. I didn’t care, and that’s something very difficult for me to do because I am very forgiving of films, especially low budget films that attempt to be creative. But when it’s multi-million productions that have every possible tool at their disposal to make a good movie and still don’t, well then I rip those movies a new asshole, which is what I’m doing with Transformers: Age of Extinction. Michael Bay, shame on you dude.  You have to know when to cut back, you have to know when you have too much, and not enough of it is good. I mean, didn’t somebody in the studio watch this movie and think it was freaking horrendous? Or unnecessarily long? If a movie is going to be this long, then the least it could do is move us somehow, or attempt to at least connect with your audience, but damn it, three hours of impersonal CGI robots is torture for the senses. The Film Connoisseur says, skip this piece of crap! It’s the stuff nightmares are made of! What a dissapointment this 2014 Summer Blockbuster Season has turned out to be!

Rating: 1 out of 5  


teddy crescendo said...

Francisco i have to disagree here, people dont give a toss about the the transformers themselves or the story or the acting, what they do like is cinematic magnificence and astonishing spectacle of the highest level and calibre, and thats what the transformers movies provide, they give the audience their moneys worth.

Franco Macabro said...

Cinematic magnificence? No way, I've seen cinematic magnificence and this ain't it, in my book Transformers: Age of Extinction is the equivalent to cinemas lowest common denominator.

Roman J. Martel said...

I was kinda hoping that "Pacific Rim" would force Michael Bay to raise his game a bit. "Pacific Rim" pretty much kicked all three of the previous "Transformers" movies in the head and left them for dead. And that is even with some of the flaws that "Pacific Rim" did have.

But it sounds like Bay is content to make the same old stuff. But people keep throwing money at it, so I guess it won't stop any time soon.

At least we're getting a "Pacific Rim" sequel. Now there is something to look forward to.

Franco Macabro said...

Exactly! I rememeber that's something I mentioned on my review for Pacific Rim, that Guillermo del Toro had shown Michael Bay a thing or two about how to make a movie about giant robots fighting and not make it a torture to watch.

The fault is all on Bay. Looking forward to that Pacific Rim sequel as well! Del Toro says it's three years away, but I'll wait patiently if its gonna be as good as the first one.

eddie lydecker said...

Francisco, i`m sorry but i have to agree with Teddy, millions of people are going to see this movie around the world specifically and only to see the incredible special effects, not for any other reason ! ! !.

Ayush Chandra said...

Nice review, i like this film and i found it worth of watch

robotGEEK said...

Amen brotha!!!
First off, I've always hated these manga inspired Transformer designs. I don't know why Bay just couldn't keep it more in line with the old-school style. The way they are designed now, you just can't tell what is what. Put them in a fight against one another and it's even worse. Where does an arm end and a head begin? But I will say, his use of the 3D camera's has forced him to keep the camera somewhat still, resulting in less shaky-cam bullshit.

Franco Macabro said...

Yeah, he's using slow mo a lot so we can understand what's happening on screen, but damn, it's still a huge mess. Kill this franchise please!

I mean, the ending of this movie promises a fifth film that will apparently take place in the transformers home my mind that sounds like an all cgi movie to me! But who knows...let's see..maybe Bay will shoot himself in the leg and make a really bad fifth film that will kill the franchise. Here's hoping!


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