I’ve been reading reviews by fellow bloggers for the past few weeks and was shocked to find that they weren’t so fond of the Transformers films or of Michael Bay. I was shocked because I find Michael Bay to be quite entertaining.
His films are always explosive and exuberant and while usually not filled with the best character repertoires, I would not go so far as to call his plot pieces textbook. There’s usually a slight alteration, one so slight that it can almost pass as uninviting regularity but if you’re willing to give it a chance, you’ll find there is some enjoyment to be had with Bay’s puppets. Typical Bayisms always seem to find a way into his films, such as occasional slow-motion shots to slacken the pace followed by explosions, car chasing scenes with explosions, lots of bullets aided by explosions and finally, explosions. Yeah, Michael Bay loves seeing things go boom and you know what I find wrong with that: nothing. There is nothing wrong with seeing things go boom even if you’re probably overdoing it on a consistent basis. I personally don’t feel like Bay ever goes that far but I can see the opposing argument. Bay is and forever will be known for his extraordinary actions scenes and blunt, brutal approach to filmmaking and those are some of the things I love about the guy, things you will see in Transformers: Age of Extinction.
I’m not going to lie, I had my reservations about this film. I felt it had been too long in between sequels. A total cast and character overhaul wasn’t to my fancy either. Mark Wahlberg? Ugh, why Bay?
Regardless, I was going to see it anyway. Why? It’s Transformers, people. When you were a kid, what really got you excited? People punching other people in the face. Then it was robots punching other robots in the face. Well, you know what’s better than that? Robots shooting AND punching other robots in the face and that is what Transformers will consistently give you. Its plot will not be diabolically created by gifted script craftsmen or by great writers like Stephen King. Its characters will not reach the echelons of character ubiquity or versatility. Its action will not be restricted by anything aside from budget costs. The impression it leaves on you will be the same each time you watch it no matter which of the four Transformers films (so far) you decide to watch. That impression: WOW.
That impression can be read in two different connotations and regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, that is probably going to be the exasperated gasp that comes out of your mouth at the end of the film’s absurd running time. It’s either a “WOW, what the heck was all that?” or a “WOW, that was awesome!!!” That’s just the way you’re going to feel.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is more of the same grinding-metal carnage that you saw in the first seven plus hours of the first three films. If you feel bored with that spiel, that’s fine. I would suggest you don’t see this. If you love the first three like me, you will probably love this, too.
Mark Wahlberg is one of my least favorite actors. He just doesn’t cut it for me most times, but he’s pretty good in this, not that the script is asking that much of him in the first place, but I suppose that is beside the point. A protective and overbearing father is such a weathered character but Wahlberg makes me care. The supporting cast is good as well and gets my emotions churning. It’s not shooting out-of-this-world stuff at me to get me to that point either. It’s not overly creative. It’s just done right. I can appreciate a cast that takes their job seriously and does some hard labor. It’s a cast that had to dig down and lay their cards on the table and they had a winning hand, something I was caught aback by. I didn’t expect a character rehaul to work out so well because in most films that’s not the case. Why did I ever doubt my man, Bay?
The plot is straight cut although there are some things you just have to go with and accept rather than try to rationalize them. I’m accustomed to having to do that with Bay’s films so it wasn’t a big deal for me.
The action scenes are visually stunning and they always are with Bay at the helm. Explosions and sword fights and dinobots and fireballs and laser guns and humor all in a package deal. This is a more serious installment than the previous three but it still got its wise cracks here and there.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Young Guns, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Spider-Man 3)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Starving Games, You’re Next, Thor, Full Metal Jacket, Alien Resurrection)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Billy Madison, A Haunted House, 300: Rise of an Empire, Cowboys and Aliens, Serendipity)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice, The Contract)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (A Haunted House 2, Open Grave, Alien 3, Dark Fury, Midnight Cowboy)
My score for Transformers: Age of Extinction: 95.
An astoundingly fortified film, Transformers: Age of Extinction manages to thrill audiences with a new assortment of personalities both human and alien along with some more special effects from the boom master himself. If you walk out of the theater disappointed after Transformers: Age of Extinction, it’s probably your own fault because you should have known what you were getting going in.