EXPLOSIONS!!!! Academy Award nominees Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor and Kelsey Grammer star in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Cast of Characters:
Cade Yeager – Mark Wahlberg
Joshua Joyce – Stanley Tucci
Harold Attinger – Kelsey Grammer
Tessa Yeager – Nicola Peltz
Shane Dyson – Jack Reynor
Darcy Tyril – Sophia Myles
Su Yueming – Li Bingbing
James Savoy – Titus Welliver
Lucas Flannery – T. J. Miller
Optimus Prime – voiced by Peter Cullen
Director – Michael Bay
Screenplay – Ehren Kruger
Based on the action figure toys by Hasbro
Producer – Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura & Ian Bryce
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
It’s been four years since the Autobots and Decepticons left Chicago in ruins (still looks better off than it actually does, though), and The U.S. government has now severed all ties with the Autobots. An elite CIA unit known as “Cemetery Wind” is formed by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) to hunt down and exterminate the Autobots with the aid of Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan), a Transformer bounty hunter. Attinger also employs the aid of Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), a business tycoon whose company has obtained a molecularly unstable metal called “Transformium” that they use to create their own breed of Transformer.
Meanwhile, in Texas, robotics inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his friend and business partner Lucas Flannery (T. J. Miller) have purchased an old semi-truck in hopes of stripping it down and selling the parts to get Cade’s daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) into college. However, while inspecting the truck, Cade realizes that he may have discovered a Transformer. After the truck reveals itself to be Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), Lockdown and Cemetery Wind, led by James Savoy (Titus Welliver), track Cade and his family down, threatening them to disclose Optimus Prime’s whereabouts or else.
You should by now that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Michael Bay hater, so take what I say from here on out with a grain of salt. If it ain’t Armageddon, one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, it’s Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys II, The Island, and two painful Transformer sequels (the first film really wasn’t that good, but much more tolerable than Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon). However, no matter who’s in front of the camera or behind the camera, every film should get the benefit of the doubt. Pain & Gain is the reason why. Not that it was the #1 film of 2013 for me, but I was very much surprised by how much I liked it and how much Bay executed a much more restrained directing approached than he’s normally known for. So, would a little bit of what he brought to Pain & Gain seep into Transformers: Age of Extinction?
Well, I remember when me and my sister Rachel went to the Branch County Fair we rode the Gravitron (the ride that spins fast enough to plaster you against the wall in the air) more than ten times. Didn’t faze us in the slightest. This film had me nauseated by the 45 minute mark, and I still had a little over two hours left to go.
If there’s any proof needed to show that Michael Bay truly hates mankind, this film is nearly three hours long.
THREE @#$%^!#@!!$ HOURS LONG!!!!
Peter Jackson can get away with that. Steven Spielberg can get away with that, and so can Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. Mr. Explosions can’t.
It might seem that Bay and Co. wants to shake things up by dumping Shia “OPTIMUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!” LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro and whoever that token hot chick from the third film was and replacing them with “Say hi to yah mothah fah me” Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer and some new hot chick. Nope, it’s still the same headache.
Wait a minute. An A-list film star, a former multiple Emmy Award winning TV star that’s got a few decent projects lined up this year, and a hot chick. It’s like an upgraded version of Syfy’s Casting Trinity by-law.
Mark Wahlberg’s a great actor when he isn’t collecting a paycheck in order to make it rain and walk slowly away from an explosion, but he’s terribly miscast as the down-to-earth, struggling to make ends meet, overprotective Texan dad (still an upgrade over LaBeouf, though), and the dick measuring contest between him and Jack Reynor’s pretty-boy boyfriend of his daughter was more than awkward. It’s never a mistake to add Stanley Tucci to your film. This is a man that has always been a redeeming factor in even his worst films. At first, Tucci is effective as this arrogant Steve Jobs-like douche, but then come the second half Bay twists and turns his character into the screaming, scaredy-cat comic relief character. It’s really only Kelsey Grammer that keeps his villain’s tone in tact for the entirety of the film (another upgrade over the whiny Patrick Dempsey from the last film), but even his character’s just a flimsy attempt by the filmmakers to make some relevant statement about immigration and terrorism.
In a movie about vehicles that morph into fucking robots.
Oh, I forgot. There’s Nicola Peltz, and – well, she looks hot and great in short shorts.
Don’t judge me, dammit. I’m a man!
Look, I’ll give Bay his due. He knows how to blow things up (I also actually defend him against the so-called racist and sexist accusations, but that’s cause nothing offends me), but his color saturation, chaotic editing and overuse of someone having to have a low-angle, slow-motion entrance are so mind-numbing it creates an annoying experience. There are a few moments here where he does let the action breathe a little and play itself out, but then it falls back on the same shaky, quick-cut editing style he’s famous for. I know every fan of his is already lining up to tell me I should’ve shut my brain off for this film, and that it’s not The Godfather or Gone With the Wind (although its running time puts it close). Yeah, I get this is supposed to be about the Transformers and nothing else, but it isn’t ’cause you’d think in a movie titled Transformers you’d get them without having another bull shit human story act front and center with Optimus Prime and the gang playing second fiddle to them. The cast may be different, but it’s the same annoying characters from out of Bay’s stock while he fails at trying to balance the intense and serious moments with his trademark campy humor.
Oh… and it’s nearly three damn hours long!!!!
Most films usually work in three acts. This felt like it went on for twelve. You have Cade and his daughter’s story trying to save Optimus and his crew. Then there’s Grammer and his henchman (the leader of whom laughably reminds Wahlberg, “My face… IS a warrant!” as straight-faced and serious as possible), and you also have the Lockdown villain assisting him. Then Tucci and his team’s thrown in the mix and on top of that you have Galvatron and the robots he created. I haven’t even gotten to those damn Dinobot creatures yet. I’m all for enjoying an entertaining action film. Non-Stop was dumb entertainment led by a great Liam Neeson performance. I also gave good to great reviews for X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 300: Rise of an Empire, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Edge of Tomorrow. This isn’t entertainment, though. This is tortuous overkill. Bay and writer Ehren Kruger just drag things out and by the time it felt like a week had passed I checked the time and realized I still had 30 minutes left to go with the film.
It doesn’t matter what I say. This film is gonna make a gazillion dollars from the fan faithful, meaning Paramount will no doubt green-light a fifth installment. The visual effects and Transformer design are a step up from what we’ve gotten before, but no matter how much money this film rakes in, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a loud, dumb, headache-inducing, mind-numbing dog turd with the same obnoxious characters, and sloppily edited action sequences. If you’re a disciple of the “more is better” philosophy – in this case, more and more and MORE is better – and BOOM!! KABOOM!!!! BAM!!!! KABLAM!!!! BOOM!! BOOM!! EXPLOSIONS!!!! GIRL IN SKIMPY SHORTS!!!! BAM!! BOOM!! WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAM!!!!!!! BOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!
Then knock yourself out.
I give Transformers: Age of Extinction a D (★).
REVIEWS COMING LATER NEXT WEEK…
6/30/14 What the Hell Were They Thinking?!
7/1/14 Benjamin’s Stash
7/3/14 Deliver Us from Evil
7/3/14 Earth to Echo