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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie review 2014.In theatres now


Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie review


 

Transformers: Age of Extinction, 2014.
Directed by Michael Bay.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Victoria Summer, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver and Li Bingbing and featuring the voice talents of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and Mark Ryan.

SYNOPSIS:
An automobile mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down the Autobots – and a paranoid government official – on them.

During my screening of Transformers: Age Of Extinction I could hear a man a few rows away from me talking out loud. I looked over and saw he was telling the kid behind him to stop kicking his chair; the kid didn’t hear him at first so he spoke a bit loud and the message was understood. It dawned on me at this point that this brief dialogue between two strangers had captivated my attention in a way the action on screen had failed to for the past two hours.
I welcomed the distraction. Finally something was happening in the room which wasn’t a total bore. I kind of hoped the person behind me might start kicking my chair too, but they were selfishly well behaved and that brief respite away from the film was denied.
Never has a film shown us so much yet, at the same time, given us so little as Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Director Michael Bay throws everything at the screen during a running time longer than any of his three previous entries in the series, using up every last cent of the reported $200+ million budget to deliver state-of-the-art special effects which must have taken each of the creative artist all of the talent and skill to design and create, but fails to meet even the most basic, entry-level results you would expect. Bay’s attitude towards this forth film is strikingly lackadaisical for a man who has become the king of pushing the limits of on-screen chaos (or ‘Bayhem’ as it has become known); whereas before directors like Peter Berg or Zack Snyder have clearly been influenced by (or plaintively copied) his style, Bay has now made a film which looks like a imitation of his own style.
There is not one scene of innovative action or style in Transformers: Age Of Extinction which Bay has become famous for. I have often said ‘love him or hate him, no one does carnage like Bay’ but with his latest film he’s simply phoned it in which is something he couldn’t be accused of before. Each set piece is the same as the last in terms of look, setting, execution, lack of tension, lack of excitement, and lack of awe. As much as I disliked the last Transformers film, it did have a five minute sequence of sheer brilliance as a skyscraper collapses and the humans must hang on for dear life and Bay showed his best action direction since The Rock 15 years before. Bad Boys II was a nasty, gross film but damn it if that highway chase with the car transporter isn’t still one of the most pulse-pounding and innovative car chases I ever seen. Even the first Transformers film had some decent sequences before it gets out of control, showing the audience CGI magic the likes of which we’d not seen before.
Yet Bay offers us precisely nothing here except his complete lack of understanding as to what makes an action sequence work. There is no tension, there is no build-up or gradual escalation, and there are no stakes. Sadly he seems to think shooting at the magic hour automatically makes a scene resonate with emotion but it’s all for effect and never for story with Bay. Moreover, with everything looking so false and fake for the majority of the film, the sunsets and red skies have no appeal and look as flat as the rest of the film.
Moreover, the film not only causes chaos in Chicago again but moves the action to Hong Kong for no other reason than to sell tickets in Asia. OK, this is a wise move from a financial perspective on Paramount’s part but Bay takes absolutely zero advantage of the change of location. In a James Bond or Mission: Impossible film the film makers would make the sequences unique to the locations, but in Transformers it’s just another load of tall buildings to destroy. And the product placement is obscene throughout the film without the slightest attempt to make it part of the film. I won’t lay all the blame on Bay here but someone needs a slap across the face for forcing this level of blatant and constant brand exposure into any movie.
At 166 minutes, the film is agonisingly too long for the story it is trying to tell, but what makes it even worse is the screenplay by Ehren Kruger, the man who penned the previous two films in the series. In the hands of Kruger and Bay the film easily has at least one awful moment during every minute of screen time; whether it is a camera angle or movement which makes no sense in context with the scene, and atrocious line of dialogue, awful acting, an attempt at humour which falls flat, a music cue which makes you cringe, character motivations which are idiotic even for this franchise, or making the plot (such as it is) become ever more unfathomable. That’s a minimum of 150 uniquely awful moments if you minus the final credits.
I couldn’t list all the issues I had with the film because my memory is actively pushing them out as I write this review, but here’s some which are proving hard to forget:
The language is revolting for a film aimed at kids and the ‘family ticket’ with Transformers saying ‘bitch’ ‘ass’ ‘I really want to kill someone’ ‘I want some scalps’ and a human dropping the F-bomb and advising to run over innocent people whilst they make an escape.
  • The inclusion and discussion of statutory rape in a film about aliens which transform into cars.
  • The objectification of yet another female lead.
  • Why do we need to see a man’s burnt corpse in this film?
  • Why do any of the humans, and in particular the daughter and boyfriend, go to Hong Kong? What purpose can they possibly serve?
  • Eye gouging and violent fist fights in a film based on toys and cartoons.
  • A Transformer smoking a metal cigar – How and Why?
  • Optimus Prime can fly – Why was this not used before?
  • Who are the massive robots and why do they transform into dinosaurs and how can they breathe fire?
  • The entire plot. Nothing makes sense.

 



Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie Review

Cast:Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger

SPOILERS ALERT

Crash. Shatter. Boom. Crash. Shatter. Boom. Smattering of silly dialogue. Pretty girl screams: "Dad!" Crash. Shatter. Boom. Silly dialogue. "DAD!!!" Crash. Shatter. Boom.

What? Oh, sorry. We were falling into a trance there.

Which is, dear moviegoer, what may happen to you during Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth Transformers film and, at 165 minutes, precariously close to the three-hour mark that Bay undoubtedly will reach — by our sophisticated calculations - and at the current growth rate, with his sixth installment.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Despite what you've just read, this film will likely be a massive hit because by now, if you're buying a Transformers ticket, you surely know what you're getting into, and you want more, more, more. And Bay is the Master of More.

Or just take it from the 11-year-old sitting next to me, who reserved any audible judgment — he, too was in a trance, though maybe from sugar intake — until the moment he saw a Transformer become a dinosaur. Overwhelmed by the pairing, he proclaimed: "That's the sickest thing I've ever seen in my life." It was as if peanut butter and jelly had been tasted together for the first time.

While you ponder where between these extreme reactions you'll fall, a quick update. This time, there's a whole new human cast. Most important, Mark Wahlberg has replaced Shia LaBeouf as, well, Main Human Guy, and the good news is that Wahlberg's grounded quality, rough charm and really nice biceps make him a thoroughly welcome presence. The bad news: He isn't immune to the numbing effects of some desperately cheesy dialogue (Ehren Kruger wrote the screenplay).

A significant part of the movie also takes place in China — clearly a nod to the franchise's huge market there. Whether such obvious wooing of the Chinese audience will work or backfire — the film also includes very obvious placement of Chinese products — remains to be seen.

In any case, we begin in Paris, Texas, where Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), a struggling inventor, is desperately seeking a big discovery. He's also a widowed dad, and super-protective (as the movie incessantly reminds us) of his high-school daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz, blond and pretty and ineffective, though the one-note script does her no favors).

One day, Cade buys a rusty old truck. Examining it back home, he soon discovers it's none other than Optimus Prime, the Autobot hero, seriously damaged.

As Cade works on fixing him up, his assistant, wisecracking surfer-dude Lucas (T.J. Miller, mildly amusing), has the dumb idea of calling the authorities. What he doesn't know is that the government — actually, the head of CIA black ops, Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer, expertly villainous) — is plotting to destroy all remaining Autobots in favor of a man-made army of Transformers. He's being helped in this endeavor by the shadowy KSI corporation, run by the nasty-but-complicated Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci, giving the most entertaining performance in the film).

So now, it's evil humans pitted against the trustworthy Autobots. So much for gratitude. There's also a subplot involving Tessa and her secret boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor, underused), whose Irish accent leads Cade to dismissively call him "Lucky Charms" — at least until the two bond in battle.

From here, it's up to you. You can try to follow the ins and outs of the battling forces — robot and human, man-made and alien, ancient and modern — or just watch things crash into each other, blow up, or both.

The obvious question: is it too much for its own good? Bay is very talented at all things visual, the 3-D works well and the robots look great. But the final confrontation alone lasts close to an hour, and at some point, you may find yourself simply in a daze, unable to absorb any further action into your brain.

But one viewer's migraine is another's euphoria. You decide.

Transformers: Age of Extinction, a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo." Running time: 165 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.