Yeah, Michael Bay, that’s the impact of your latest creation Transformers: Age of Extinction.
I knew going in that this would be a dumb, loud b-movie. I even relished the potential for mindless fun. I’ve seen the other three, forgettable as they are – though I don’t mind Dark of the Moon too much (either as a Pink Floyd album or as a Transformers flick). And, yes, Michael Bay has gotten to a point where every film he makes is him flipping the proverbial bird at liberal Hollywood … and at good taste.
But, good googly moogly, this installment may be final evidence that Bay’s cinematic nervous breakdown is totally complete.
I don’t even know if it’s worth bothering to summarize the plot. Mark Wahlberg, looking like a sad and puffy plumber in T-shirts two sizes too small, plays a down-on-his- luck single dad and robotic engineer (yeah, I know) in Texas who discovers a dilapidated semi-truck embedded in a dilapidated movie theater (yeah, I know). Of course, every shot is art-designed to look like a sepia-toned Abercrombie & Fitch ad … or a Buick commercial … all grungy, wholesome Americana.
Well, duh!, the truck turns out to be Autobot leader Optimus Prime hiding out from big bad CIA operatives led by Kelsey Grammer (yeah, I know) who is hunting down all the Transformers to mine their metal skin for something called “Transformium” (yeah, I know) that Stanley Tucci (shamelessly aping Steve Jobs) will use at his fabulously appointed tech company in Chicago/Hong Kong to create America’s own army of robots to defend us from future alien incursions (yeah, I KNOW).
It’s just not even any fun to ridicule this movie. The film is so self-consciously horrid that it’s like shooting rubber bands at a Teflon skillet.
The movie runs an interminable three hours, more or less, and is an unending series of chase scenes and things-blowed-up-real-good and tin-eared dialogue. I thought Zack Snyder was my go-to cinematic caveman, but I’d forgotten about Big Daddy Bay, whose male insecurity manifests itself in an avalanche of phallic images and orgasmic explosions and flag waving (?), not to mention some rather kinky torture scenes. Is this a kids’ movie? Ah, Michael Bay and his angry inch.
It goes without saying, that the heroes (whomever or whatever they are exactly) win the day and leave things wide-open for the inevitable sequel. This involves murdering a gaggle of CIA agents (cause the gubment is BAD, see?), destroying pretty much all of Hong Kong (cause no one is supposed to like the Chinese but they spend a lot of money going to movies so we’ll blow up Hong Kong cause it’s all sorta British and doesn’t really count), planting or not planting or destroying or flying away with some cosmic “seed” (subtle metaphor there!), and assorted other mayhem and corny one-liners all too inconsequential to delineate.
This movie is like comic book porn for FOXNews aficionados.
I suspect the next movie will be four hours long, with even more randomly racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic images and themes all edited together in the most confoundingly inept way possible.
(I suspect some internet trolls will tell me I’m mixing personal politics into my “objective” review. My blog. My site. Never said I was objective. What reviewer is? Viewing a film is a subjective, singular experience. Neener neener neener.)
And, in the inevitable fifth (!) Transformers movie (yet, only three Godfathers!), another A-list actor undoubtedly will be slumming it. At least in this “film,” Stanley Tucci (unlike franchise vets Frances McDormand and John Turturro) wisely realizes he is in a completely bonkers enterprise, allowing his character to just start screaming out obscenities like he’s having a Tourette’s-fueled meltdown.
Watching this film, I felt like joining him. It was pretty much the only joy I had the whole three hours.
I take that back. The greatest joy was that friends Jim and Sean braved this crap with me. And that, between our rounds of church pew giggles and guffaws (we weren’t the only ones doing so, I might add), they were jotting down all the godawful lines they couldn’t wait for me to include in this review. (In fact, I kept getting texts from Sean today asking, “When are you going to post it?!?!”)
- From Sean: “I think you should definitely note that, thankfully, the movie is left with a cliffhanger, paving the way for Transformers 5! ‘When you look at the stars, think of them as my soul…’ – Optimus Prime.” Even Gary Cooper couldn’t have sold that clunker of a line.
- From Jim: “Here’s your title … you know that quote thing you do? When Wahlberg is roughing up Tucci, blaming him for all the turmoil, Tucci replies, ‘…Well, you brought your family and that is terrible parenting.'” Tucci is a touch wittier than a CGI robot, so at least that gem elicits a chuckle or two … and is a nice little indictment of anyone who brings their kids to see this dreck.
- From me: at the film’s conclusion, Nicola Peltz, who plays Wahlberg’s Lolita-90210 daughter, intones, “We don’t have a home, dad. It blew up.” No kidding.
On a totally unrelated note, my pal Alli asked me to give a plug to her yoga practice here in Ann Arbor. In fact, maybe this is the perfect antidote to the pain of seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction. That, PLUS you should go adopt a homeless animal (or two or three) – truly! THAT is some joy!
Here’s what Alli wrote …
Reel Roy Reviews is now a book! Thanks to BroadwayWorld for this coverage – click here to view. In addition to online ordering at Amazon or from the publisher Open Books, the book currently is being carried by Bookbound, Common Language Bookstore, and Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room in Ann Arbor, Michigan and by Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Michigan. My mom Susie Duncan Sexton’s Secrets of an Old Typewriter series is also available on Amazon and at Bookbound and Common Language.
hot damn…I did NOT want to read through this…but what a fine and nutty trip…glad they produced the “dreck” (jim’s word) so that you could catapult to the stars (which I understand are SOULS according to the script?) — this is LOL type material…LMAO perhaps even! bravo, best of all film critics who gets away with NEENER NEENER NEENER!
thank you! the movie was SO bad I didn’t even know where to begin. glad you enjoyed the trip – I ain’t never goin’ back to this transformers well again. phooey!
On Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 4:23 PM, Reel Roy Reviews wrote:
did I misuse NEENER NEENER NEENER?
not at all! you used it perfectly!
On Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 4:27 PM, Reel Roy Reviews wrote:
Good review Roy. Way too long for what it is. Which is, another Transformer that we don’t really need.
yeah, it’s funny sometimes how the worst movies inspire the longest reviews. and here I though I had no words!
On Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 4:36 PM, Reel Roy Reviews wrote:
oh this sounds like a horrendous experience on every front, roy. it obviously was not really intended for kids with a running time of 3 hours, though with the marketing and merchandising aimed at kids, it’s no wonder they are wanting to go. it’s the adult’s job here to understand what the movie is and to not take their children to see it. i’m glad you had friends to support you through this viewing, it really sounds like it needed a support group. thanks for the sup info, it looks like such a cool thing, though i even tip over when walking, sober, in my clogs, so i may not be the best candidate, but i can dream can’t i )
yeah, I figured I would break my neck doing that SUP stuff, but she’s a nice soul trying to do something neat in Ann Arbor, so figured I’d help her spread the word. (plus, the fussy folks in that Ann Arbor Townies facebook group were mean and told her she couldn’t share her info there, which I thought was ridiculous and very un-Ann Arbor of them.) and, yes, all humans – adult and child – should stay FAR away from this stoopid (with two “o”s) movie!
On Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 4:37 PM, Reel Roy Reviews wrote:
bah to the townies and agree with the two o’s needed to describer this film )
We love Beth!
I enjoyed this review far more than I would have the movie! Excellent~!
thank you! that is very kind – and very much appreciated!
Roy I will have to go with Beth, Susie and ceruleanstartshine on this I loved the review much more than I would have enjoyed the movie. I think it was another movie which was over done from several fronts. LOL
so very true, Kat – I was just so astounded by how colossally lousy it was. doesn’t anybody watch these things before they give them the greenlight?
This is literally how I felt about the film!
I wish it had been better – the whole series could have benefited from a new director this go-’round
This is literally how I felt about the explosion… I mean “film”.
And it’s sad that this is what is representing the Transformers franchise to the general public. I’m ashamed to be a TF fan!
yeah, I’m right there with you – thanks for your comment. these characters have so much fun potential, but it just seems like the films get darker and meaner with each entry. maybe one day we’ll get a decent reboot on the big screen. thanks for commenting!!
oops, ‘describe’. now who has two o’s? serves me right )
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