Oh boy, this is gonna be fun. I guess I should let you know up-front, that this may be a lengthy review. I say this because I just saw Transformers: Age of Extinction earlier today. This is, of course, the fourth, yes fourth, entry in the multi-billion dollar film franchise directed once again by Michael Bay. And I can’t necessarily say that I’m a fan of the franchise. While I was never a big Transformers fan as a kid (I had a toy or two growing up), I don’t really like this franchise because it’s been Michael Bay’s films ON STEROIDS. Granted, his films were always known for their lucrative and pretty nutty persona and feel, but this franchise took Bay’s style to a whole new level, and one that I don’t think Bay wants to leave anytime soon. However, last year Bay did a film called Pain and Gain, which I just saw a month ago on Netflix, and I gotta admit, it was pretty good. It wasn’t a great film, and some of the darker humor in the film didn’t work, but the acting was pretty solid, and it kept my interest throughout the film. So, I guess after working on that film, Mark Wahlberg and Bay became buddies, and so Wahlberg has replaced Shia Labeouf and the rest of the cast from the first three films in this “reboot”. The film is pretty close to cracking the Billion dollar mark worldwide, so is the film worth it?
Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor and single dad living in Texas with his daughter. While trying to invent bigger and better things, Yeager comes across a Transformer, which is rare since the U.S. government has been trying to get rid of the Transformers since the last film. So when Yeager and company discover their new Transformer, which is Optimus Prime and company, they end up going on the run from the government, and half-assed conspiracies are thrown in along with lots and lots and LOTS of explosions.
Bay directs a script by Ehren Kruger, who wrote the last two Transformers films, which happen to also be the worst of this already mediocre franchise. So this film isn’t a reboot at all, since the same people behind the camera are still in control. And surprise, this film is awful. I knew the film was gonna be awful going in and going out, but I feel like I’d been slapped in the face for nearly 3 hours in that theater this morning. It does something that select number of films have ever done to me, and it’s made insane and big action beats really, really boring. I love action movies, but I love them when they’re done well. That’s why I hate The Expendable movies and the Transformers movies. And what makes me even madder is that there is a scene involving an old man ranting about how Hollywood is just nothing but reboots and sequels. It’s a very brief scene, but that scene sort of stuck with me for the rest of the film. When I saw that, I thought, “gee, maybe Bay is finally starting to learn and not make the same film over and over again”. And the irony of that scene is that, the film is the exact definition of what that old man was whining about early on. This is a mind numbing experience that is easily the worst film of 2014, and one of the worst films I have seen in quite some time.
And what makes it even worse is that I thought that this franchise could have a glimmer of hope from Mark Wahlberg as the star. I thought that maybe his involvement with the film would mean that the film could be at least bearable, but unfortunately, I was wrong. Wahlberg, who does his best with the material given to him, is just the wrong part for this character, who is a Texas-based character, when all I can hear from him is Wahlberg’s distinctive Boston-born and bred accent. And we also have some very good character actors in the film, like Kelsey Grammar as the big bad government man, and Stanley Tucci as an inventor who has replicated the Transformers DNA for his own. Both men are very good actors, with Tucci being one of the great character actors working today, and there isn’t a whole lot for them to do. Grammar just stands around and looks menacing, while Tucci’s character likes to scream a lot. There is also Wahlberg’s daughter in the film, played by Nicola Peltz, who many of you may remember from the “brilliant” M. Night Shamalan film The Last Airbender, and Peltz also happens to have a boyfriend in the film, played by newcomer Jack Reynor. Reynor has been on my radar for the past couple of weeks since Casey Affleck wants him to play MLB slugger Josh Hamilton in a film. Similar to Tucci, Peltz is just there to scream and look pretty (which is a little strange since her character is 17 and she’s barely 20). Reynor doesn’t have much to do except be a wuss and run away from certain situations at times, kind of like the real life Josh Hamilton (I’m a bitter Rangers fan, so you can understand that bump).
And another trademark of Bay’s films is that they are loud. And I somehow thought it was a good idea to go see this film in IMAX 3D, which nearly made me go deaf and stupid. The 3D and the IMAX is pretty good in the film, but it doesn’t make up for everything else that doesn’t work in this film. Not even T.J. Miller, who makes a brief appearance as Wahlberg’s partner, who steals the show nearly every week on HBO’s Silicon Valley, can’t save this film from mediocrity. However, there are a few postive things about the film. I mentioned that the 3D and IMAX work MOST, not all of the time. And some of the action is pretty decent, but like all of his other films, Bay gets carried away with it and the action ends up becoming longer and longer, and it ends up becoming extremely repetitive. Another thing, that is also a positive and negative thing, is that a good chunk of this film was shot outside of Austin, Texas. It’s a bad thing because such a crappy film was shot in this great state, but a good thing because this film was a massive production, and it shows when you watch the film. And since it was a big production, it was able to employ a lot of hard-working men and women from around this great state. It doesn’t help the film in making it any better, but it’s nice to know that something good came out of the film, in that a massive Hollywood production was shot in Central Texas.
But, it doesn’t help. Transformers: Age of Extinction is still a bad, bad film. There are other really stupid moments and parts I could point out, like how they say in the film that there is a Romeo and Juliet law in the state of Texas allowing older men to date younger women. I know there are some stupid laws in this state, but that’s just insulting. I don’t want to see anymore of these films, but this film will make a billion dollars, which is a shame. Great summer films like Edge of Tomorrow and more subtle summer flicks like Jersey Boys are making nothing, while dumb folks like myself go see this crap. I think I’ve had it up to here with Michael Bay and his awful, awful movies. I’m hoping that by the next film, which will come out when I’m in college, won’t persuade me to go see it. But, chances are this damn site will still be running, so shit. Now, if you excuse me, I need to take a nap.