Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014)

Age of ExtinctionYears after the Battle of Chicago, the Autobots have been forced into hiding by CIA officer Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), while sister organisation the KSI are using Megatron’s decapitated head to create their own robot army, to be lead by prototype Galvatron (Frank Welker). Attinger has enlisted the help of alien bounty hunter Lockdown (Mark Ryan), and together they trace Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) to Texas, where he is being rebuilt by inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). The three escape thanks to Tessa’s boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), and soon reunite with Bumblebee, Hound (John Goodman), Drift (Ken Watanabe) and Crosshairs (John DiMaggio). They are each called upon by Prime to help storm the government facility and put an end to scientist Joshua Joyce’s (Stanley Tucci) work.

Of course, running in at a truly astonishing 165 minutes this only begins to scratch the surface of Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s plot. The film opens during the Cretaceous Period, where The Creators put a premature end to dinosaur life with the aid of Seeds, devices which “cyberform” planets by exposing them to “Transformium”. One botched jump cut later and all that remains of this extinction event is a metal T-Rex skeleton, unearthed by a character who we will not meet again for hours. You see, Attinger is helping Lockdown track down Prime in exchange for one such Seed, for unknown reasons. Everything in this film happens for unknown reasons.

Instead, we meet Cade Yeager, a character who is even more preposterous than his name might have you believe. He’s an inventor who specialises in crap, and who seems to think that a world populated by futuristic alien robots will be interested in a beer-retrieval machine that only occasionally works. After all, it’s not like advanced synthetic life has literally only just been shown to have predated humankind by 65 million years. He is father to Tessa, who is only notable for wearing a skirt that is so short you can see the lining of her pockets against her naked legs — often that is all you can see. It’s a relationship that fails to convince on just about every level possible, particularly with the introduction of Shane, an Irish racer who is hilariously dubbed Lucky Charms by Wade.

If the human characters are insufferable then the Transformers are just plain inexplicable. Despite having now directed four feature films on the subject (four very, very long feature films), Michael Bay still doesn’t seem to understand his titular aliens. We’ve already had girl robots, urban robots and even robot testicles, but Age Of Extinction only confuses things further by introducing robot cigarettes, techno-organic space wolves and prehistoric robots that transform into dinosaurs — you know, just in case they had to blend in with those animals their forebears had already eradicated. Most baffling of all is Drift, a Japanese alien robot who refers to Optimus Prime as sensei and wears a robot cloak into robot battle. Despite being aliens who spend most of their time as automobiles, their exchanges make regular references to chess, ballet and fortune cookies. For unknown reasons.

There really are an astonishing number of characters vying — unsuccessfully — for the audience’s attention. The first film involved a handful or Autobots fighting a handful of Decepticons, while a handful of humans avoided being squashed underfoot. It too was awful, but while the visual effects were completely incomprehensible the story at least made some sort of sense. This latest film boasts Autobots, Decepticons, a new handful of human characters (including a second Hong Kong-set ensemble during the last act), human-made Transformers, The Creators, inter-galactic bounty hunters, a car which seems to exist for the sole purpose of giving the Transformers paint jobs and Dinobots, which may star in the promotional material but in reality only play a pitiful role in proceedings. Even with nearly three hours at his disposal, Bay can’t even begin to make sense of his own story. That said, given how terrible Ehren Kruger’s script is (“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me”) you can’t help but wonder if he ever even tried.

Nobody makes a film as bad as Transformers: Age Of Extinction by accident; Bay has spent the last seven years honing his craft, methodically weeding out every redeeming feature the first few films may have had until he is left exclusively with the worst aspects of contemporary feature filmmaking. Transformers: Age Of Extinction, with its interminable action scenes, cynical product placement and overwhelming contempt for its audience, doesn’t refer to the end of prehistoric or modern life, but the death of cinema as we know it.

0.5-Stars

 

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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