Watched ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ yesterday in 3D. Now, most movies I’ve seen in theater lately, I’ve seen in 3D (obviously excluding the cheap shows), but I mention the detail of this one being in 3D because it was the first time I was significantly disappointed. For pretty much the whole movie, I could have been watching it in 2D and it wouldn’t have made much difference. I’m not even just talking about the lack of things flying off the screen (which this did lack), but it’s also the lack of significant depth. In a lot of movies, my stance on 2D vs 3D and how 3D is significant, is that the added depth puts you a bit more in the story, but with this, I still just felt completely disconnected from beginning to end. I saw ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ in 3D (no, I didn’t do a review, and this is probably the closest you’re gonna get), and that was damn near the most amazing thing I’ve seen so far, and a completely opposite from ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction,’ and I’m glad that was what I used to be my little girl’s first 3D movie experience.
This was a Michael Bay movie so naturally it’s difficult to talk about it without it being mostly about the visual effects, while barely mentioning the story because, essentially, that statement is the entire basic concept of a Michael Bay movie: visual effects scenes with a barely substantial story speckled through it. So, let’s start with that speckled story.
This, in case you don’t know, is the fourth movie in the Michael Bay Transformer movies, we start with a vague and mostly pointless prologue of the Earth surrounded by ships, and invading a Earth filled with dinosaurs, the after about a minute of that, we cut to a scene in the arctic where they uncover dinosaurs covered in metal (try real hard to remember this because by the time anything about his is even vaguely hinted at again in the movie, you will probably have already forgotten about it—and if that happens, also don’t worry ‘cause nothing in a Michael Bay story is ever that important). Prologue ends, and first act begins, it starts off a few years after the invasion of Chicago that took place in the last movie, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon.’ There are signs everywhere telling people to report any suspected alien activity. Mark Wahlberg is a junk collector with his friend TJ Miller (from the show ‘Silicon Valley’ on HBO and a crap load of comic-relief roles), he goes into an abandoned theater in “Texas” (which I have been in before, and I’ve never been to Texas—weird), after rummaging through discarded theater stuff, they find a huge semi (I’m not sure how that was supposed to be considered normal), when the door was opened, spent ammo shells of many sizes spill out (and this is only vaguely glanced at, “Well that’s weird, eh, whatever”). So he buys the truck that the theater owner didn’t remember was there (vague nod at the first movie when Shia finds Bee at Bernie Mac’s car lot—that’s right, I’m making you go watch that bullshit now).
We then cut to some black op stuff where they’re hunting a Transformer on the Boblo Boat, which is revealed to be an Autobot because the black ops are on mission to destroy all Transformers for some reason (except the one helping them—he’s cool, apparently).
Back to “Texas” where we sort of meet Wahlberg’s daughter Nicola Peltz (from ‘Last Air Bender’ and movies/TV where her main talent is just being hot—do I need to remind you this is a Michael Bay movie?), she just got denied a scholarship and then here comes her father with a truck he just spent money on, “but don’t worry, it was the comic-relief’s money, but we’re still broke, so it doesn’t really matter.” We reveal that he’s actually not a junk collector, but a really crappy inventor, who understand electronics well enough to reverse engineer anything, but can’t seem to find any practical use for this to make money with (until the very obvious ending).
Next day, simply because, he already figured out the truck is a Transformer between scene-wipes because a car batter gives enough charge to activate the distress call. Hot daughter storms in the house upset that absurd-line-delivery dad wouldn’t let her call the government and get enough money to pay their bills and her school because he’d rather make money instead (Michael Bay plots—they’re fun).
And from this point shit just starts happening and the vague chance at story just got thrown out. Optimus is fixed, and black ops storm in, and shit hits fan, and hot daughter’s pedophile boyfriend who caries laminated copies of pedophile protection laws on his person at all times saves the day, which leads us into ending first act with flash-fossilizing the comic-relief (which left me with “Who the fuck kills the comic-relief in the first act?” to “Thank god, Michael Bay has no idea how to balance comic-relief at all”—I am still haunted by the garden trampling gag that just wouldn’t fucking end).
For most of second act it’s pretty much just people running around and stuff blowing up, with a barely crow-barred in, “Hey we made our own Transformers from that metal that you forgot about, and named one ‘Galvatron’ to give nerds a cheap boner.” We also reveal that the Transformer that the black ops are totally cool with is actually working for the “Creators” (which is never mentioned beyond this, strongly hinting at seeding a sequel—but I predict it’s a reference to the Quintessons—yes, I’m one of the nerds that got a cheap boner, leave me alone!).
Third act, we’re in “China” that had a lot of Detroit building scape for some reason (seriously, the Detroit People Mover doesn’t go to China, it barely even goes to Detroit, it’s entire purpose is to just get you from one parking structure to another to make parking easier, it’s basically just a giant middle-finger that circles downtown mocking everyone that wishes public transportation was a thing). We rescued the dinobots from the bounty hunter’s ship, and stuff blows up, and movie ends with Optimus launching into space to find out what the “Creators” are (see, sequel seed—most of this movie was just a sequel seed, not as blatant as the second movie where we just spent two hours mocking ‘Search for Spock,” but still, it was just set-up for another movie).
And that’s about it, other than the constant attempts of Michael Bay trying to use blowing stuff up as a plot device no matter how many times people try to tell him, “that’s not a plot device, that’s just stuff blowing up—it could have not blown up and it would have been the same difference to the story—except less boomier.”
I’m not sure how I should rate this, ‘cause somehow rating Michael Bay the same way I would rate other people just doesn’t seem fair—it’s like rating a special needs kid with the same grading scale of a genius. It’s like the Einstein quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” But, I still expect a guy that spends and makes a crapload of money to be better than this, so, I’m going with two grade scales: On the Michael Bay Scale—4 out of 5, there were at least a couple things in there that could have blown up that completely didn’t blow up at all; on the Everybody Else Scale—2 out 5, not a single detail of the plot came together, it was all just set-up for the next movie, and seriously, look up the definition of “plot device,” the only thing it had going for it is when it actually mocked itself (which was both funny and sad), and when it crow-barred in nerd titillation (which was also a little sad).
- Transformers: Age Of Extinction – You Don’t Want To Make Marky Mark Mad – Review (dc50tv.com)
- Leave Michael Bay Alone, Transformers Is Awesome (gizmodo.com.au)
- “Transformers: Age of Extinction”: Public Enemy #1? (midlifecrisiscrossover.com)
- Why I’m Boycotting Michael Bay (lavendervroman.wordpress.com)
- ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ review: Sequel implodes in incoherent spectacle (newsday.com)
- Movie Review – Transformers: Age Of Extinction (fernbyfilms.com)
- Nordling Reviews TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION! (aintitcool.com)
- ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Review: Hey, It Could’ve Been Worse (news.moviefone.ca)
- Transformers: Age Of Extinction (thedissolve.com)
- Movie Review: Transformers: Age Of Extinction runs on fumes (avclub.com)