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03 Jul 2014

A Long Slog: Michael Bay Annoys His Detractors—and Everyone Else—With this Transformers Stinker

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Nicola Peltz and Mark Wahlberg in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Nicola Peltz and Mark Wahlberg in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is an embarrassment of overindulgence. Director Michael Bay seems to be taunting his haters by taking all of the things that sicken his detractors to despicably disgusting levels.

It’s as if, with this movie, the director is saying, “I’m Michael Bay, and I’m going to get away with cinematic murder! You will buy the toys! You will swill Bud Light out of those wacky blue aluminum things! You will leer along with me at this girl’s ass in slow motion! I AM MICHAEL BAY!”

For starters, this damn movie is two hours and 45 minutes long. I’m OK with long movies when they’re at least decent. This thing has no right for a single tick past the 90-minute mark. Had Bay knocked it off with his slo-mo shots, he probably could’ve shaved a half-hour. Had he gotten rid of every inane line in this donkey shit, he could’ve brought the whole thing in at 30 minutes.

Replacing Shia LaBeouf, who was too busy losing his mind to participate, would be Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, a crazy robot-inventor living on a farm with his smoking-hot daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz).

In between stints trying to make clunky robots (there’s actually a sequence during which Wahlberg lovingly tries to show a newborn robot how to paint), Cade is busy trying to stop his daughter from having sex. He also threatens real-estate agents, showing his soon-to-be-foreclosed-upon property by chasing them with a baseball bat. He, simply put, is the worst movie father in years.

The action picks up four years after the annihilation of Chicago, which has apparently been restored, because Bay includes shots of some cranes picking up beams and stuff. The Autobots are on the run, because Frasier Harold (Kelsey Grammer) has decided that since they are aliens, they are the enemy. Michael Bay is getting political!

Yeager buys a beat-up truck, and soon discovers it is Optimus Prime. He nurses the robot back to health with the help of buddy Lucas (T.J. Miller), much to the chagrin of Tessa, who trolls about pouting while wearing impossibly tight denim shorts and high heels. She’s upset, and she’s going to look damn good being upset.

A black-ops government team commanded by Frasier eventually winds up on Yeager’s lawn, and one of the only reasons to watch this movie is killed off. The focus, if you can call it that, then goes to Stanley Tucci as Joshua, a Steve Jobs-like tech mogul, and his army of Autobot clones.

The real Autobots will eventually face off against the fake Autobots, and we’ll see ads for Chevy cars, beer, China, denim ass porn and Texas along the incredibly long way. (During the film’s running time, I celebrated five birthdays, took an online computer course in psychology that I failed because the professor was such a bitch, and managed to construct a scale replica of the Brooklyn Bridge using toothpicks and Dots candy. That was just during the first third!)

The Transformers themselves are looking cool, especially when they transform (although Bay, even with his mega-budget, cuts corners by showing an Autobot in one shot, and then the vehicle in the next—skipping the transformation). There’s also a sequence in which some characters have to walk on a high wire between an alien ship and a skyscraper that is pretty good.

That’s about all of the nice stuff I can say.

Bay is saying this is the first film in a new trilogy. If you should choose to see part one, make sure all of your bills are paid; the dogs are fed; and you’ve winter-proofed your house before you sit down, because you aren’t getting out of that theater for a very long time.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is playing at theaters across the valley, in a variety of formats.

4 comments

  • Comment Link Nathan T. Rhodes Sunday, 06 July 2014 05:01 posted by Nathan T. Rhodes

    Do not listen to the detractors for nothing on Earth will ever satisfy your inner Transformers geek more than witnessing the utter, complete and total redemption of Michael Bay. With one glorious fell swoop this evidently slow-to-warm-up-but-eventually-wizard-like filmmaker has expunged all his previous crimes against the Transformers fan base and finally delivered them to their deservedly blissful state of Cybertronian nirvana.

    Like a twenty first century Jesus armed with $200 million dollars, Bay has redeemed even the gravest of the sins of our childhood. Not only has he risen phoenix-like, still burning yet majestic, from the putrid black ashes that remained from the burning of our childhood dreams and his own reputation. Incredibly, he has somehow also redeemed the once unforgivable abomination that was the ascension of Rodimus Prime. In one two and half hour expedition to the pinnacle of awesomeness he has made whole the millions of innocent hearts so cynically and selfishly broken all those years ago.

    Suddenly the pain and confusion that was so cruelly and needlessly inflicted upon us in 1986 can be forgotten. Even the fresher scars, the proverbial salt in the wound that is the memory of the first three piles of turd rubbed onto celluloid that Bay tried to pass off as Transformers films, have been forever healed. Like faithful, stubborn and persistent visitors to a highly priced and extremely talented plastic surgeon, we have had our scars forever erased.

    All those that have ever nestled into the sometimes prickly and often disappointing bosom of the Transformers geekdom, go forth like pilgrims to thine local cinema. Flock now so that you all can finally revel in your long overdue and much deserved cinematic birthright: a truly epic journey into the elusive and sublime joys of well thought-out and skilfully delivered Transformers 'fan service'.

    This movie isn't for the hordes. It isn't for the unfortunate souls that weren't brought up living and breathing robots from Cybertron. It's not for the critics. It's an expensive, much belated and exclusive gift made especially just for you. An epic, royally triumphant and completely kick-ass Transformers movie that respects the fan base while also creating a new folklore that not only doesn't make you want to stab yourself in the face with a rusty nail while having your eyeballs lacerated by a million paper cuts, it is actually pretty awesome in its own right.

    A true fan will find it almost impossible not to love this film. It is simply that good.

    Michael Bay I never thought I would ever say this but, thank you. Even the $600 million odd dollars and approximately seven and a half hours of my life you wasted setting up the story line of this movie with those first three abominations now seems like time and money well spent.

    For after nearly thirty long years of shattered hopes and unfulfilled expectations, finally our inner 6 year olds can live the dream. Finally we can stand on the apex of the Mount Everest of 1980's nostalgia - and wholeheartedly and enthusiastically enjoy a Transformers movie for the first time - all the while being snugly wrapped in a delightful bubble of restored faith, emancipation from loss and total satisfaction.

    Do not take heed of reviews written by people that have never transformed a toy from a robot to a car in their lives. Do not be distracted by accounts of gratuitous product placement. Worry not about a repeat of previously indecipherable shot composition and editing. Cleanse yourself of the horrible memory that is Shia LeBeouf.

    This film delivers much more in the way of fan service than any of the previous films. Some of it is subtle, some quite overt (Galvatron transforming into a cannon and Optimus spending some time looking much like his G1 alter ego in truck form are notable examples). The movie is peppered with a lot of little touches that would probably be lost on people new to Transformers, but that had me clapping the screen at stages. Some people actually applauded the movie when it ended.

    It's like they finally aimed it at the fan base, rather than take it for granted that the fan base would go anyway and trying to make it work for everyone else. And I for one appreciated those touches as they have been sorely missing from the franchise. But regardless of whether that stuff resonates with you or not it still has a much better plot than any of the other films and importantly it's a grand spectacle - almost without a doubt bigger and more outrageous than any other movie in history, period. It is simply EPIC.

    Anyone that is a true Transformers fan obviously wants to and tries to like these movies. Three times previous to this I have failed in this task more or less and pretty much became a card carrying member of the &@#% You Michael Bay You Killed My Childhood club. Yet this time when they take it in yet another direction that is completely incongruous with the beloved and sacred G1 mythology - I totally went with them instead of fighting it. And actually, it is pretty damn cool. I didn't have to try to like this movie. As a Transformers mega-geek Age of Extinction was inherently enjoyable to me in nearly every way. Plus as I said it has a lot of delicious little morsels for the old school fans that just become the cherry on top of a very sweet sundae.

    I am honestly and truly sorry for anyone that thinks they are a Transformers fan but that doesn't absolutely love this movie. I think it is just a horrible defect in their personality. They will never be happy unless watching the movie is a mere carbon copy of their experiences watching the G1 cartoon. Yes Michael didn't go in the direction we wanted him to at first. But where he has ended up should allow us to forgive if not forget and appreciate the unique and incredible nature of this motion picture.

    When we thought all hope was lost, Michael Bay has given us what we have been wanting all these years. But for some their own cynicism will not allow them to celebrate the occasion. To them I say let the 6 year old inside you finally let go of all the pain and rip up your Bay Haters membership card.

    All the Transformers aficionados that are brow beaten, dejected and void of all hope should rest assured that finally Michael Bay has miraculously managed to not completely &@#% up a Transformers film.

    The jaded, dejected and resentful among the once wide-eyed and awestruck Transformers mega-geeks: rejoice! For you are the chosen ones. You are the chosen few for whom Transformers: Age of Extinction won't be a loud and obnoxious destruction of two and a half perfectly good hours of your life. It will be an exhilarating, deeply satisfying and ultimately spiritual experience.

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  • Comment Link Whysoseriouss Saturday, 05 July 2014 15:30 posted by Whysoseriouss

    I sure am glad i chose to enjoy the full three hour Tranformers ride, rather than spend the whole time looking for flaws or critiquing the movie to write a poorly written review like you did. It makes watching movies that much more enjoyable, and you're a prime example of why being a movie critic blows. It's a sad hobby, honestly.

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  • Comment Link BumbleBee Friday, 04 July 2014 19:47 posted by BumbleBee

    oh lightern up. It's just a friggin summr movie. they are not made to stimulate your intellect. they are mindless fun for a couple of hours.

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  • Comment Link ReallyAreYouKidding? Friday, 04 July 2014 13:45 posted by ReallyAreYouKidding?

    So stopping his daughter from doing the deed and chasing off skeezball real estate vultures with a bat makes him worse movie father ever? Was he supposed to buy her condoms, go 'here's the bedroom, and you better not come out until I'm a grandfather', and serve the incumbents tea?

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