Sunday, June 29, 2014
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Plot: It's been four years since the events of the third movie, and since then, the U.S. government has marde the Autobots fugitives and have been hunting them down with the help of a Transformer bounty hunter named Lockdown. But shortly after Optimus Prime is found and rebooted by a failed inventor named Cade Yeager, he rounds up the remaining Autobots and is off to stop Lockdown while also stopping a business tycoon Joshua Joyce from creating his own Transformers, including one named Galvatron.
So did this film deliver in being another Bay film where everything that's good about the Transformers franchise - namely characters, lore and so on are poorly used, had explosions everywhere, too much focus on the humans, dumb comedy, and had a plain terrible script to top it all off? Oh yeah! While it may not have Revenge of the Fallen's so-called comedy with things like Wheelie humping Mikaela's leg or Devestator's nuts showing and things like that, Age of Extinction regardless is the worst out of the films with having too many story lines, remarkably terrible dialogue - even for Michael Bay arguably - and probably caring for the Transformers lore and being loyal to the characters even less than practically the first three films put together. Ultimately, there's an article I read before going to see the movie where Bay basically stated how he truly doesn't give a rats whether or not people will hate the movie, and it shows. It truly, deeply shows. The plot was so all over the place that I would argue that the first three films (yes, even Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon) had something of a flowing narrative compared to this movie. Most of the story lines had interesting ideas, but where way too many to properly use any of them or even have any real screen time. People who thought The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a mess can stop their whining and complaining after seeing this movie. I mean first we have Mark Wahlberg's character and his family trying to save their farm, then we have the Autobots being on the run because they're blamed for what happened in Chicago, then we have Lockdown trying to capture Optimus Prime, then we have Joyce trying to create with his own Transformers with this mineral called Transfornium, which leads to this whole thing about creating Galvatron and what he tries to do, and then (you see where I'm going at with this?) you have the government guys who are trying to kill the Autobots try to get some Cybertronian relic called a Seed, and then finally somewhere into all of that, we get the Dinobots...sort of. Oh! And did I forget to mention that somehow along with all of that, there's suppose to be this storyline of how we have the "creators" of the Transformers to worry about even though the past three movies stated that they were just created by the Allspark? See, even when I saw Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon for the first time, I was invested in the movies well enough to wonder what was going to happen and I wasn't getting impatient to find out. But with this movie, I think somewhere halfway through the movie I started wanting them to wrap things up and eventually became more and more eager for them to just finish it and started to get irritated. That almost never happens to me when I'm watching a big movie like this for the first time. That's...not a good sign to say the least. And of coarse, there almost nothing done right with the actual characters. Hound just had this commando kind of personality where he has all these big guns and acts like he's smoking a cigar, then you have Brains somehow still alive despite dying in the last movie, and then you have Crosshairs who... is just completely pessimistic throughout the majority of the film. Though what somewhat stroke a nerve for me personally when it came to the Autobots was the misuse of Drift. Now granted, he probably has the least focus among the Autobots next to Brains, but Drift is one of my all time favorite Transformers because of how he's probably one of the most complex and interesting characters of the franchise in recent years, and yet just because he uses swords in the comics, they have him become this complete Samurai stereotype while being voiced by Ken Watanabe who is not a stereotypical Japanese actor, but Micahel Bay used him to that effect anyway. Thankfully from knowing all this in advance, I didn't get pissed off watching the movie like I somewhat thought I would... but they still used one of my favorite characters to just be a mechanical version of something from one of our history books, so naturally I am really, really, really REALLY am not okay with that. Bumblebee was kinda downplayed too. He had some moments, but he basically had almost the exact opposite amount of focus has he did in the other films. As for Optimus? *sigh* He had some decent lines, and it's always a pleasure to hear Peter Cullen do his voice even in these films somewhat, but regardless, what we got was...really a messed up, sloppy shadow of the lovable Optimus Prime at the end of the day. The Dinobots were not in the movie for very long, and they had no personalities or any real development to the point where despite how fun it is to see them in action, we still don't really get the real Dinobots that fans know and love. Galvatron would've been a nice addition to the story, but he really had only three or four very brief scenes, and had only 4-5 ish lines in the entire movie, so he was generally pointless. And the human characters where just plain hallow. While no one was as bad as Judy Witwicky or the roommate from the second film or anything like that, they where just really uninteresting. The only ones that were close to that were Cade Yeager and Joshua Joyce just because it's Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci, and even that doesn't hold a lot of water. Other than that, there was barely anything really special with the action even with the Dinobots and some of the designs for things like the robots in Lockdown's ship where really embarrassing. Now before I wrap up this fairly long review, let me quickly talk about what's good about what's good with the film, cause there where some things I kinda liked. Firstly, there's Lockdown. While his development as a character was strangely all over the place, I still kind of found him to probably be the most interesting part of the entire movie. How he's neither Autobot or Decepticon and has this bounty hunter army (or something) and there's this mystery about who sent him to earth. Plus, he can transform his face into a giant assault rifle (I've heard it called a cannon, but it has more of an assault rifle look), which was a very clever idea. And when it came to the final battle, the Autobots (specifically anyone who isn't Optimus or Bumblebee) did more of fighting and killing the Decepticons without any help from any military at all. That is actually a major improvement from the first three films. And the use of showing of the bodies of the women was downplayed. I think the worst that happened where two points where the camera focused on a woman wearing short shorts. It's still using them as eye candy, but let's face it; having Bay focus more on women's legs than their chest or butt? As far as giving us less of the putting-women-in-the-movies-just-to-be-eye-candy cliche, that's almost a mature big boy step for the guy.
And that's my review for Transformers: Age of Extinction. I liked Lockdown for what they had for him, and there were some minor improvements compared to the other three films, but that aside, what we have here is Michael Bay giving The Transformers even more shame with less interesting action, more misuse of the Transformers as characters, too much focus on hollow and uninteresting human characters, and a terrible script that gave us way too many things with not enough time to give us time to really understand them, making the film a major, crowded mess. It doesn't have the terrible stuff from Revenge of the Fallen like The Twins, Wheelie humping Mikaela's leg, Devestator's nuts and so on, but somehow this movie still makes itself out as the worst thing that could ever have been created in the entire franchise.