This review is Movie Man No. 1,094, and he can declare that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the loudest movie he’s ever seen.
ABOUT THE FILM
No snotty cinema lover goes to a Transformers movie expecting “Citizen Kane,” but the common Joe and Jane do.
The fact that the most hated director on the planet, Michael Bay, is behind the movies makes them even more kryptonite-y for those who consider film “art.” Oh, there’s art in the Transformers movies – this is No. 4 and the first of a second trilogy – and it’s all done on computers.
All four of the pictures are incredible movie magic. The stories are horrible, but the process is astounding. That and the allure the movies/toys have for multiple generations are the reasons the Movie Man chose “Age of Extinction” No. 1 when predicting the biggest moneymaker of the summer.
And the Movie Man looks mighty fine with that pick right now. “Age of Extinction” not only opened bigger than any movie so far this summer (which started in early May, you recall), but it also set the 2014 international opening mark, too.
The Movie Man has noted before that he’s not a Bay hater. He liked “The Rock” (1996, Movie Man No. 131, a 7) and thought “Armageddon” (1998, MM No. 241, 7) was good fun.
He can’t say the same for the Transformers movies (which are among the biggest worldwide moneymakers in film history). However, until “Age of Extinction,” they haven’t been abysmal.
The original “Transformers” (2007, MM No. 726, 6) was decent. But the sequel, “Revenge of the Fallen” (2009, MM No. 831, 5), is considered by fanboys one of the worst follow-ups in movie history.
In 2011, “Dark of the Moon” (MM No. 937, 6) was another kinetic head-hurter that was a technical marvel and dumb as a rock with occasional laughs.
However, “Age of Extinction” fails in every way (except the CG).
The next Transformers question is: How will the upcoming two shape up? It’s no spoiler to reveal that “Age of Extinction” sets up not only a sequel, but also a third movie where likely the mysterious Creators will be revealed.
Surely the next two Transformers won’t be worse.
THE PLOT (SPOILERS)
(The Movie Man is going to say right off that the story in “Age of Extinction” is hilariously confusing.)
Dinobots, not a comet or meteorite, caused the end of the dinosaurs. And, in modern day, a frozen Dinobot is found in the Arctic.
Meanwhile, government man Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) is in cahoots with Joyce (Stanley Tucci) to eradicate ALL alien robots from the planet, including the mankind-loving Autobots who have now split up to avoid capture.
Grammer’s head henchman Savoy (Titus Welliver) gets word that Texan Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) has found not only an Autobot, but also the leader of the robots, Optimus Prime. Soon Wahlberg, his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and (briefly) his workmate James (Gill Wembley) are on the run.
Not only are the feds on their trail, but a space bounty hunter has also come to earth with one purpose – to capture and return Optimus Prime to the Creators.
Also: There’s this thing called “the seed” that is the basis of all things Transformer-y. Grammer gets it and gives it to Tucci who, with the seed, can build a robot army to protect America.
And, robots fight. A lot.
Some of the actors seem to know that they’re in a big goofy movie and deliver their horrible lines with straight faces. Grammer, Tucci and Wahlberg go with the putrid dialogue and deliver it with gusto. Gotta admire that.
Still, the only reason to see “Age of Extinction” is for the computer generation, which is nothing less than amazing. The robots are cool, and the fights, while terribly repetitive, are knockouts.
The 3-D is fine. One scene with ash flecks floating about after a battle especially impressed the younger folks in the audience. (Which was most of the audience.)
The bounty hunter will not be denied. In Hong Kong in his mighty ship hovering just above the city, a switch is flipped and everything magnetic begins to float up to his vessel. He’s still after Optimus Prime.
All sorts of things are lifted – cars, trucks and, impressively, boats from the harbor. When the spaceship passes out of range, the vehicles crash back to earth, the gigantic ships especially wreaking havoc on buildings.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
As mentioned, “Age of Extinction” is the loudest movie of all time. It’s simply deafening.
Even worse is that it’s loud for 2 hours and 45 minutes – 165 minutes! It. Won’t. End.
The young actors are really bad. Peltz and her boyfriend, Jack (Shane Dyson), stink. And so many characters bob up in the background that – even with 165 minutes to play with – Bay can’t make them interesting.
You can’t tell the robots without a scorecard. They are everywhere and slugging it out, but it’s hard to tell the goods from the bads.
Another major sin is that it lacks what the previous Transformers films managed. Those movies worked in some laughs. The “jokes” here are flat-out horrible. They were so painful to hear – even the children winced. Speaking of children …
“Age of Extinction” is a very hard PG-13 – for language. There are at least two f-bombs and many more other cuss words; more than you’d expect from such a kid-slanted movie.
This movie is simply bad, but that won’t keep it from being the biggest movie of the summer – just as the wise Movie Man predicted.