NOTE: there will be spoilers and an awful lot of swearing in this article. If either offends you, stop reading here. You have been warned.
Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Every time one of these things comes out, I think, "hey, maybe he's changed. Maybe he finally gets it. Maybe he's gone back and reflected on his work and had an epiphany. Maybe this time around, it will be different."
And it never happens.
Damn you, Michael Bay.
Of course, I'm talking about his newest film, Transformers: Age of Extinction. After calling it quits with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Bay flipped on his decision and came back for a fourth movie. And I don't understand why. It is so obvious he has no love for these characters and no affinity for the franchise. It's just an excuse for him to get more explosions, more fast cars, more female T&A, and more "Spirit of the USA!" on screen. Watch something like Pain & Gain and you'll understand that he can make decent movies. Hell, The Rock is even in the Criterion Collection for fuck's sake. It's just when he makes Transformers movies, it's apparent that he just. doesn't. give. a. shit.
Right from the get go, I could tell I'd made a mistake. The movie starts out back in the age of dinosaurs in a lush valley filled with prehistoric creatures and I was like YES! Fuck, yes! Dinobots!
For the uninitiated among you, Dinobots were a sub-group of Transformers that were built by the Autobots to be their heavy hitters. They were big, strong, and tough, but not too smart. And instead of cars, they turned into dinosaurs. Why?
Because we were little boys and all little boys love dinosaurs and robots.
Back to the action. So alien spaceships descend on this prehistoric valley and yadda yadda yadda. All of a sudden they start dropping bombs that set fire to the entire place, burning all the organic life where it stands. My first reaction is, "hey, pretty cool," but then in typical Bay fashion, the scene abruptly cuts to present day with no transition whatsoever. No wipe, no frame matching, no fade out. Just WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO THAT?
And that's the first and biggest issue I have with this movie. Not that it's not the Transformers that I grew up with. Not that it's not canon. I got past that very early on.
This is a terrible movie in the sense that it's a terrible movie.
The editing, the cinematography, the effects, the direction, the sound design, (some of) the casting, the script, the story... All of it is such a mishmash and so half-assed that I cannot understand how it got this far. It's unbelievable how unwatchable this is.
And before you go and say, "it's an action movie!", shut the fuck up.
I watch LOTS of action moves. I grew up on action movies. This is still a shitty action movie.
The action scenes have no geography, no continuity. They don't look planned or choreographed at all. It's like they took the camera, told their actors to get in the car and drive around randomly and followed them. Like the cut at the beginning, the scene will go from one cut to another and there will be no sense of direction or time, and characters jump in and out, appearing where ever there's space in the frame.
It makes me want to scream.
Then we get to the robots as Lockdown (heretofore referred to as Gunface because his face transforms into a gun - who the fuck approved that dumb shit?) strides out to kill a cornered Autobot. Another badly planned action sequence ensues. At first the Autobot's like "no! Don't kill me! Don't kill me! I'm an Autobot!" He's not fighting back because Optimus told him not to.
But then he does start fighting back and he's so ineffectual against humans it's baloney. These robots are 20 feet tall, weigh what? 10 tons? and fire blaster cannons that shoot laser beams. You'd think they could take out a few dozen humans. Nope. They take him down easily (as we're to believe they've taken down every other Autobot and Decepticon except the 5 Autobot characters) and Gunface walks in and kills him.
Then he transforms. But fucking off screen. He's there in robot form, it cuts away and you hear the transformation sound, then it cuts back to the car. WHAT THE FUCK?
This is an example of what I'm saying. It was like they were in the editing room and the editor said, "oh, we need a bit here, a transition shot where we can place the transformation", and they just said, "fuck it, we don't need no stinkin\ transition! Transitions are for sissies! Americans aren't sissies! Are you or are you not an American?" It feels like every shot in this film is like that. Or at least every effects shot. And nearly every shot in this film is an effects shot. And the film is three hours long.
Three goddamn hours long.
You know what?
I don't even want to continue this review. I had a whole plethora of stuff lined up, including a choice Christmas Jones reference, but I'm going to do what I should have when I was in the cinema and walk the fuck out.
The goddamned movie was bad. So fucking bad. There's your review. Don't watch the thing. Take your money and watch How to Train Your Dragon 2. watch 22 Jump Street, watch Noah.
Hell, watch My Illegal Wife.
Anything would be better than this piece of shit.