Michael Bay has been at it again with his mindless, nonsensical Transformers film franchise and we moviegoers, like always, have flocked to see it. You’d think we would have learned our lesson by now. I myself went into Transformers: Age of Extinction hoping that Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci might be able to save it with their presence. I forgot that the people in front of the camera are only as good as the people behind them.
This movie was one of the few films to actually give me a headache. With a running time of two hours and forty-five minutes, it’s the longest of the franchise. Its length is completely unnecessary. This film could have easily been an hour shorter. But no, Director Michael Bay (Pain & Gain) wanted to put in as many explosions as he could. By the end of the movie, my head was pounding from frustration and my want for the film’s overlong final action scene to be over. But I shouldn’t completely blame this train-wreck of a film on him. It’s the writer who should share half the blame of this abomination.
Screenwriter Ehren Kruger (Scream 3) has been the writer of this franchise from the beginning. Why they didn’t replace him after the first installment, I don’t know. The dialogue throughout the franchise has been mediocre at best with a few good lines per movie, but the dialogue spoken by the actors in this film took a turn for the worse if you can believe it. The usual sexism and racism of the franchise runs rampant in this movie.
The story was beyond terrible. Now it’s fine for a movie to have subplots in addition to a main one. But this film had three main plots! It was basically three stories pushed into one film. It’s as if the Screenwriter, Kruger, didn’t know what direction to go in for this film and decided that no matter how bad the story, people will go see the film so he included all three plots. None of them felt really finished by the time the characters moved onto the next event. It didn’t make any sense and I left the movie scratching my head. What a mess.
Like I mentioned earlier, the principle reason for me wanting to see this film was the inclusion of Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci, two newcomers for the franchise. Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights) played Cade Yeager, a down on his luck inventor living in rural Texas. Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender) plays Tessa Yeager, a stereotypical teenage movie daughter. Jack Reynor (Delivery Man) plays Shane Dyson, Tessa’s obnoxious boyfriend. Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games) plays Joshua Joyce, an evil defense contractor. Now I can’t say this for Peltz or Reynor, but Tucci and Wahlberg are both respectful actors. But they may have just possibly given their worst performances here. Now it’s not really their fault, they were given a terrible script with one-dimensional characters and barely any intelligent dialogue.
Now for the computer generated characters. Peter Cullen (Transformers) voiced Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. Mark Ryan (Black Sails) voiced Lockdown, an intergalactic bounty hunter. John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) and Frank Welker (Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted) make up the supporting voice actors as Hound, Drift, and Galvatron. I don’t think I would care if any one of them got turned into scrap metal. That’s how weak these characters are. The creative team of this film should watch this year’s movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, for some pointers on how to create computer-generated characters that you can care about.
The only good thing about this film was the visual effects. All the alien technology, Transformers, and destruction looked very, very real. I just wish that the action sequences were just as good. I usually enjoy the amount of action that this movie franchise brings to the table. But this time around, I ended up being annoyed by how long these sequences went on for. And the worst part about it was that it seemed like they were fighting for nothing. The story was so confusing I forgot why these giant heaps of metal were fighting each other.
Michael Bay makes these movies for two reasons: to fill his pockets with our money and to fulfill some weird fetish of explosions. I don’t think that I’ll be returning to the theatre to watch the next Transformers film unless of course, a new creative team is behind the next installment. I’ve learned my lesson and that is this: as long as Bay is behind the camera and Kruger is holding the pen, it doesn’t matter who is starring in the film. I recommend all of you to stay away from Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriter: Ehren Kruger
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, T.J. Miller, Kelsey Grammar, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Mark Ryan