In the past Michael Bay's attempts to tackle Transformers have consisted of explosions galore and an almost hateful glee when it comes to character or story. Does Age of Extinction represent the end of this sad but extremely popular era?
This time around is almost a new film or a reboot of sorts: new cast, new Transformers (new attire for those returning Autobots), new locations, and new villains. However, none of things can save the movie. The entire time—3 HOURS—I kept asking myself one of these questions on a loop: Really!? Is that necessary? How is that possible? Where did that come from? If you thought the second movie was awful, wait until you see Age of Extinction.
There was no need for a lot of things in this movie, and it also seemed like Bay and the crew didn’t care either. I think, “Who cares, go ahead” must have been a common phrase on the set. 3 hours was way to long for this movie, much less any other, and I was ready to be done halfway through. It also doesn’t help long movies when the pacing suggests five different endings along the way. The story, from what I can decipher and simplify, is the Transformers have gone into hiding because the government wants to eliminate both Autobots and Decepticons from the country. Cade Yeager finds a rusted Optimus Prime and joins the battle with his family. There are so many characters and Transformers, most fleeting, to keep track of that it becomes a confusing mess. Mark Wahlberg is okay, Nicola Peltz as his daughter is just an image of a pretty girl, Jack Reynor is her annoying and wish-washy boyfriend, Stanley Tucci is awesome, and Kelsey Grammer seems like he still thinks he is playing the Beast. One of my fav upcoming comics, TJ Miller, was a fun and funny addition that elevated the stupid dialogue, but he dies in the beginning allowing for little script help. No lie…one of the lines in the movie involved the government agents storming to Mark Wahlberg’s farm looking for Optimus; Wahlberg demands a warrant to search his property and keep Optimus hidden, but the lead agent responds, “My face is a warrant.”
The entire end sequence was shot in China, which looked really cool. It felt authentic and natural to have the Transformers in Asia. The buildings were beautiful and looked great despite being blown to pieces. The production did partner with the Chinese government and film industry to complete the film. The Chinese actors in the film are very well known in the East; I thought Bingbing Li stood out amongst the entire cast as tough and clever. China also had a reality show to cast other parts. The whole Chinese production elevated a crappy movie to at least try something new.
A more disgusting partnership in Age of Extinction was the obvious and lingering product placement. I understand product placement is necessary to help alleviate multi-million dollar budgets, but there is a difference between campy (a la 30 Rock), slick (a la Skyfall), and the overt style of this movie. I don’t need a 30 second close up then slow motion to see a brand name. This is done throughout the entire movie: Budweiser, Victoria’s Secret, Red Bull, Oreo, along with others. On a side note, I expect and forgive any car related promotion for Transformers. Also, I have never seen so much slow motion shots in an action or any movie, period.
A Michael Bay carries a lot of expectations and negativity. I get it and agree with most; however, I was disappointed at how unmemorable the fights and explosions are in Age of Extinction. The action scenes were subpar and most cool stuff was shown in the trailers. The Transformers have updated their looks from a variety of the animated/comic iterations of the Autobots and Decepticons. Unfortunately, the coolest addition of the Knights is regulated to serve as horses for the Autobots and barely in the finale. The trailer shows most of the best action scenes.
I don’t expect much with Transformers movies or Michael Bay. I just want to have a fun and exciting time in the theatre full of cool action fights and explosions. Transformers: Age of Extinction falls flat and isn’t a thrill ride. The script sucks, the action scenes are lacking, some of the cast is great, and it is tooooooo long. I don’t know what’s worse: a Transformers movie without exciting action or a boring movie that lasts three hours. Michael Bay tried too hard with this Transformers film or maybe did not try hard enough--either way my interest in anymore TF films by him is...extinct.
By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she has a degree in Film Studies and can usually be found in front of a screen.