Transformers: Age of Extinction

Director: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller, Thomas Lennon, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe

Rated: PG-13 (intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo)

Autobots must escape sight from a bounty hunter who has taken control of the human serendipity: Unexpectedly, Optimus Prime and his remaining gang turn to a mechanic, his daughter, and her back street racing boyfriend for help.

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction

By Cole Schneider

By now just about everyone knows what the Transformers franchise is. If you like what you’ve seen before, then I’m sure you’ll be satisfied. Me? Not so much. I loathed every 165(!) long minutes.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is every bit as dumb, rascist, and sexist as any of its predecessors. Director Michael Bay (Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbour) infuses the whole film with the kind of cheap humor and tasteless sexual objectification that he’s mastered before.

That this review doesn’t open discussing how dramatically boring it is says a lot about how offensive it’s determined to be. For nearly three hours we follow a dreadful Mark Wahlberg, his 17 year old daughter, her narratively useless boyfriend, Optimus Prime, and his fellow autobot heroes through several perils and fights. Or rather not much peril, but a lot of fights nonetheless.

Bay has his strengths. He is someone who can certainly stage a shot and half of this film is shot during magic hour, giving it a radiance and a beauty that belies what it actually is. In reality, these shots do not serve the film in any productive manner and we’re still left with a classless, morally objectionable film with neither identity nor purpose.

Bay thinks that a series of robots fight scenes is enough to satisfy his big-budget audience. It’s unfortunate because it’s easy to see someone with a reasonable dramatic sensibility–say Steven Spielberg–make this an intriguing story about a father and daughter on a journey to save the world. What we have though is a convoluted mess of a narrative with an appalling myriad of thematic problems.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction

By Matt Greene

Bay has a strong, distinct style: big, obnoxious, loud, incoherent, and mind numbing, with a propensity to shoot from the ground up like what he’s doing really matters. T:AOE is relentlessly bludgeoning in all these ways. It’s a clock watcher with about 70 minutes of actual things happening, and 95 minutes of slow motion, unpleasant jokes, emotionless posturing, boring set pieces and a whole heck of a lot of running. It’s shiny, overlong, and just plain dumb.

The plot isn’t worth wasting precious word count on. Like written by a focus group of dirty, middle aged, American men, it’s forgettable, thoughtless, and even sexist. The motivations of the characters are senseless, and the action lacks any surprise or coherence. The themes of warfare weaponry are reduced to dissatisfying, cheesy one-liners. Even the inherent coolness in robots fighting dinosaurs is handled squarely, Optimus Prime childishly pontificating on justice and humanity.

Most disappointing is the strength and subsequent waste of acting talent. The abilities of Tucci, Goodman, Grammer, and Wahlberg are squandered on bad character clichés. The fast-driving boyfriend, the over-protective and immature dad, the dead mom, the misunderstood daughter, the dopey friend… With a movie this long, we deserve people to care about, not just tolerate.

Maybe the effects are pretty good, and some of the comedians (Miller, Lennon) breathe some life. Otherwise, T:AOE is fairly worthless. It thoughtlessly and forcefully enters your brain and then mercifully leaves it before you throw away your popcorn. Skip T:AOE; there are too many great movies in theatres (Edge of Tomorrow, X-Men, How to Train Your Dragon 2) to waste your money here.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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