Established May 2010.

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Chris: Definitely.
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Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Titus Welliver, T.J. Miller

I should have known that when I heard the line “My face is the warrant” from Titus Welliver that I was in for a certain kind of cinematic “treat”. I actually went into Transformers: Age of Extinction with a little bit of hope that it could actually be good. The trailers looked awful, but I had faith in Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci that they wouldn’t have signed on for a crappy movie. One would assume they saw the first three movies and knew what they were getting themselves into. This is the fourth film in this Michael Bay series, but we have a brand new set of characters thanks to returning screenwriter Ehren Kruger. Wahlberg and Tucci must have seen something different in this script that prompted another go after the first trilogy ended. Surely they weren’t just doing it for the residual checks that will come down the road.

Wahlberg is seen tinkering around in his barn as engineer and inventor Cade Yeager. He loves salvaging old machine parts of all sorts trying to make robots and other homemade inventions in hopes of earning a buck or two. He lives there with his college bound daughter Tessa (Pelz), and they are flat broke. Eviction notices are piling up as Cade can’t seem to make a profit off his creations. Cade and his friend Lucas (Miller) buy an old semi-truck at a run-down theater in hopes of breaking it down for parts. After spending some time with it back at the barn, it starts to come alive and Cade realizes that it’s a Transformer. Oh no, it’s not just some random Transformer, its OPTIMUS PRIME!

This big reveal can’t stay a secret for too long. There is a government project called “Cemetery Wind” led by Kelsey Grammer’s Harold Attinger. His team is led by Titus Welliver’s James Savoy, and they come knocking on the Yeager barn door pretty quickly. The project plans on eliminating all of the known Transformers that survived the attack on Chicago which happened in the original trilogy. Let’s not forget about Stanley Tucci who comes into play as a scientist trying to build his own type of Transformers. An all-out war ensues between Optimus Prime and his fellow Autobots versus these new Transformers that have come into play. Cade, Tessa, her boyfriend Shane (Reynor) and the rest of the humans are along for the ride as they follow the Transformers and their battle from Chicago to Beijing to Hong Kong.

I already feel exhausted trying to remember what happened or what didn’t happen during that 2 hours and 45 minutes I won’t get back. Most movies that are that long better have a decent plot and interesting characters in order for that kind of runtime to feel warranted. This has NONE of that. In what kind of cinematic world do we live in where we allow a movie that is this long with no redeeming qualities to exist? There is no need for a Transformers movie to be this long, yet all four of them have exceeded a two hour run time. The story is a series of explosions, attacks, and battles repeated over and over each taking place in a different city cranked up some ridiculously high sound volume. With such high octane and fuel going into this movie, there are about two different tempos going on. The cinematography is so frantic that the camera wizzes around so fast that you can’t see straight which is even more problematic if you see it in 3D. Am I already getting that old that it was hurting my eyes? The other tempo comes at that the opposite end of the spectrum with the multitude of “slo-mo” shots with our various characters running away from the action in order to survive. I would understand one or two but it was so excessive it was comical.

Let’s not forget all of the added moments of unnecessary bits, one-liners, and cheesy declarations that further add on run time. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger penned the second and third film, so he is very familiar with this series and working with Michael Bay. I wonder if they just sat around and thought of the most obnoxious and ridiculous lines of dialogue imaginable. A bad script typically leads to some bad acting. Have no fear as that concept still holds true here. Mark Wahlberg is doing a really good impression of Andy Samberg’s impression of Mark Wahlberg that he used to do while on Saturday Night Live. If you’ve ever seen Samberg’s sketches, you know what I’m talking about. Stanley Tucci comes off a bit better as there is a bit of campiness with his character that Mr. Wahlberg couldn’t pull off. Then there's poor Nicola Peltz, who does good work on Bates Motel, but is left screaming “Daaaaaad!” or “I’M. NOT. LEAVING. MY. DAD!”

I suppose one could say that you know what you are getting yourself into when you see any sort of Michael Bay movie. Do you go in expecting it to be this dumb, loud, action film? Yes. However, I don’t think that means it has to be completely stupid, over-the-top, and laughable or that he gets a free pass for how the final product turns out. I feel like making a Transformers movie could work. You could have decent characters, witty dialogue, and a movie that clocks in under two hours. Isn't this supposed to appeal to kids? I don't have any kids yet, but I am curious if a young moviegoer would sit through that run time? Are the explosions enough to keep them interested?  Godzilla is a good example of how you take movie that has some camp and make it fun and exciting. With so many awful one-liners, slo-mo runs, explosions, and fits of rage thrown around, I started to wonder if Bay and Kruger were trying to make the worst movie possible? Did they think they were making gold and has the audience been had in some sort of meta sense? I’ve talked to numerous people who have seen Transformers: Age of Extinction, and a majority of them that it was epically awful as well. At least I’m not the only one.

Is it Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Why would you waste $15 and 2 hours and 45 minutes of your day on this garbage?

RATING: 1/2 out of 5 Ticket Stubs

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  1. Nice review Paul. Didn't mind it much. However, it didn't need to be nearly three hours. That much is a fact.

    1. Thanks for reading, Dan. I will never understand why these movies are so long.

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