Movie Review Transformers: Age of Extinction

transformers Here we go again. And again. Annnndddd again. Oh wait – and once again. And, far as I can ascertain, we are still not done pounding the car-robot-alien-Transformers into the grave, because Transformers 5 is currently in pre-production. All this from a set of toys. Toys which were so complicated that I, as a mother of boy people, was incapable of actually transforming. It’s a lot like this movie. No amount of money, CGI, star power, beauty or voodoo ritual dance can transform this into something of value. Allow me to indulge in some perspective. According to the bastion of web accuracy and ‘fact’ Wikipedia, the budget of TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION was listed as $210,000,000 USD. That is, for you folks across the pond, £122,336,274.90. It is also the entire annual military defense budget for the country of Nepal. It is an astronomical amount of money. I love movies and I am not a snob for whom anything CGI (computer generated imagery),  action/adventure/sci-fi or aimed at being a summer blockbuster is automatically lesser because its not a gritty noir indie soul searing drama. You’re dealing with a girl who’s top 10 includes DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR? That being said, we must ask the value of making something just because we can, or in this case I believe, just because we can raise the money. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is a convoluted, tortuous, rambling mess of CGI attention deficit disorder. Mind you – I brought along an 11 year old consultant to the screening just to be sure I could process plot elements I may be, well, beyond, but my 40-something assessment was corroborated. This film is a grueling, crashing bore. It is two hours and forty-five minutes of exhaustion and confusion. Of relentless battles of clashing metal, shape shifting pieces of chrome and massive destruction of more than one major metropolis. And I’m being nice here. I realized something important while watching this film. CGI is truly magnificent technology. It gives us the ability to transform the routine into the extraordinary, the good into the magical and helps us visualize that which we previously could not manifest outside of our imagination. It is a good thing. But, like many other good things, it is best when used judiciously to accent, to enhance, or to illustrate that which we cannot as limited mere human beings. Like Viagra, when you really want it and need it, it’s the best. But you don’t want to walk around with that all day long. A film in which the vast majority of scenes and narrative is based on non-human characters and interaction, despite having excellent voice talent, is empty. That was my flash; humans need humans. We connect to humans and identify, humanity engages us whether we consciously realize it or not. Without enough human connection and drama, we are left empty and tired. Mark Wahlberg? Shialebeouf? (I like to call him one long name. He’s more fun that way) Megan Fox or Nicola Peltz – it doesn’t matter. I have always been a fan of Mark Wahlberg and he is doing the best he can here with what he’s dealt (which is not much). Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) is a broke, hyper-vigilant single father of beautiful far-too-well-dressed-to-be-that-broke daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). There are endless references to the deathbed vows made to Tessa’s mother about how Cade will keep her safe, protect her and she is his reason for living, yada-yada. The storyline for the humans is so insipidly cliched I can’t believe they couldn’t kick screenwriter Ehren Kruger a few extra bucks for an intern to provide some fresh dialogue. The plot for the machines is even worse. Introducing new machines (Autobots? Decepticons? Cabbage Patch Dolls? I have no idea…) at virtually every turn throughout the entire film it is impossible to keep straight the alliances, clans or who is working for whom in the Transformer world. Look, I can figure out a John Le Carre novel before its over, and I had no flipping idea what the hell was going on here. Kruger wrote all of the previous TRANSFORMERS films and he’s evidently run his course with it. The script has bland trivial dialogue, no edgy wit, no irony or sense of humor about itself, which would have salvaged it a bit. Lines like, “My face is my warrant,” are hard to swallow even if coming out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mouth. Cade’s slacker surfer dude sidekick Lucas, played by the legitimately funny T.J.Miller, gives everything he’s got to provide some authentic comic relief but even that doesn’t land squarely. I wanted so badly to laugh at his character but I couldn’t and that ‘s a shame. Stanley Tucci as the titan of industry Joshua Joyce, who undergoes a crisis of conscience, ends up resorting to standard Stanley Tucci semi-hysterical kvetching mode because he has nowhere else to go with his character. The movie takes itself far too seriously and comes up short in all areas except one: awesome super cool cars. If you are a gear-head this film is for you. But really that’s it. This is director Michael Bay’s oeuvre. He is exceptionally skilled at crashing things, massive explosions and other testosterone fueled chaos and destruction. Lord knows there is a place for that in Hollywood and a hard core American audience. I admit that I enjoyed the first Transformers film, and if I recall accurately even the second. But imagine if someone with such power as Bay chose not to merely perpetuate the genre, to not just go for the gargantuan box-office gross, but rather to add to it, to give it just a bit more brains, to – god forbid – challenge the audience just enough to make them wonder and think. Editing is virtually non-existent and you practically need an electrolyte drink to get through the insane 165 minutes unscathed. There is absolutely nothing new in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION and that is hard to believe. Even for a film based on toys. Director: Michael Bay Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 165 minutes Movie Review Transformers: Age of Extinction Cinemynx gives this movie (1.5 / 5) stilettos

Comments are closed.