“I hate cheap knockoffs!”
FULL DISCLOSURE: Before Transformers: Age of Extinction, I had never seen an entire Transformers movie from this current Michael Bay batch. I tried to watch the first one back when it came out, but fell asleep and never bothered returning to it.
FURTHER FULL DISCLOSURE: I didn’t really watch Transformers: Age of Extinction under the best of viewing conditions. I was on a long haul flight, I was half asleep, I had the volume down on the movie and was listening to a podcast. And I came in about 100 minutes in, stared dead eyed at it for 40 odd minutes, then turned off with about 20 minutes left. But I refuse to accept that a Michael Bay movie about robots hitting each other requires any more attention than that in order to form an accurate opinion and make an accurate judgment on its quality.
So, here goes, a plot synopsis based on what I saw. Marky Mark has an alien gun that can kill alien stuff. Him, a girl I assume is his daughter (Nicola Peltz) and a dude I assume to be her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) are fighting on the side of the good guy robots. There’s Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and for some reason, a samurai robot. They are fighting bad guy robots, and bad guy humans. Bad guy humans played by Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci and Titus Welliver.
They go to China. Optimus Prime fights some dinosaur transformers, but then they’re friends and he rides one. This is about where I checked out, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Optimus Prime, Marky Mark and all their friends beat the baddies..
I can’t imagine my synopsis would be much clearer or less snarky if I had wasted 165 minutes of my life on the entire movie. Here’s the thing, I was aged from four to 12 when the original Transformers cartoon was on telly and the original toys were in shops. So I can’t really be any more the perfect throw back target audience for these movies. I loved the animated Transformers The Movie back in 1986 and I have a DVD copy of it now that I pull out every now and again for a bit of nostalgic indulgence. But there’s something so cynical, so desperate, so calculated about these new movies, that I just can’t get past.
Sure, the original cartoon was nothing more than a commercial for the toys. But it had a an innocent goofiness to it that never made it seem like nothing more than a commercial for the toys. In 2014, the people who make these commercials for toys have become too slick and slimey.
I will say this about Transformers: Age of Extinction, screenwriter Ehren Kruger deserves some kudos. Usually these massive budget, CGI fuelled, studio behemoths need half a dozen or more writers all working together to make something this fucking terrible. But to Kruger’s credit, he did it all by himself. Congratulations Ehren, you piece of shit.