Well I’ve done the deed and made my way to the movie theatre last night to watch a late showing of the fourth installment in the current Transformers franchise. Following on from the destruction of Chicago the Autobots are being hunted down by a mysterious CIA black ops team called Cemetery Wind who it would appear are getting some extra help. Optimus Prime has finally had enough with protecting humans but having been saved by inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), decides he owes them and decides to fight one more time against the new threat to planet Earth. Sound familiar?
The positives, well Stanley Tucci is Mr Reliable as a character called Joshua Joyce, the leader of a company exploiting Transformer technology in association with the CIA. He has some solid scenes with Kelsey Grammer who plays Harold Attinger the CIA agent behind the mysterious Cemetery Wind. Mark Wahlberg is also an upgrade on Shia LaBeouf and you can’t deny that some of the visuals are very good albeit somewhat repetitive.
That being said this film is awful. It’s difficult to decide where to begin. It’s way too long – two hours forty minutes for a summer popcorn movie is silly. Michael Bay makes an attempt to get us to care about the human characters in the same vein as Gareth Edwards in Godzilla (2014) but is far less successful. I couldn’t buy into Wahlberg as the inventor of useless gadgets and I couldn’t buy into him as being the father of a 17-year old girl Tessa (Nicola Pelz) who looked distinctly older than that. The result is there is no emotional investment in the movie when the characters are in jeopardy.
The acting is on the whole terrible. I mentioned above there were times when I threatened to buy into the movie but there are some performances that need to be banished to a deep dark dungeon never to be seen again. These include Nicola Pelz as the daughter whose main role is to wear tight shorts and shout “let’s get wasted!” to her gal pals. Her boyfriend Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) is for some reason Irish although the accent wanders all over the place like a drunk following last orders. Worst of all was T.J. Miller as Yeager’s business partner/surfer dude Lucas Flannery who has decided the middle of Texas is the ideal base for his hobby.
Michael Bay can’t get away from his appalling treatment of women and the sexualisation of teenagers. There is a scene where Wahlberg as the caring Dad tells his daughter to stop wearing short shorts, cue the camera to do a close up of her bum in said shorts. There is a near unbelievable scene where Mr Bay goes to great pains to suggest that Miss Pelz has been getting very chummy with her Irish beau. This includes a discussion about a Texas Romeo and Juliet law permitting contact between an older individual and a younger one in certain scenarios.
I remember laughing out loud at a now infamous scene in Casino Royale (2006) onboard a train as Daniel Craig and Eva Green discuss the watch he is wearing. Transformers: Age Of Extinction takes it to a whole new level. It’s blatant in a way I can’t remember seeing before. I can remember Gucci sunglasses, Victoria Secret emblazoned on a bus and Mark Wahlberg taking a minute to sup on a Bud Light. There also appear to be at least two Chinese drinks featured during scenes in Hong Kong. We can’t forget as this is a Transformers movie Chevrolet, a Ford rally car, a Lamborghini and a Pagani super-car.
There were various other issues including terrible editing at the beginning of the movie as it lurched from one plot strand to another. Inconsistencies in the plot included Optimus Prime being in terrible shape while the Yeager character tries to fix him only for it to scan another truck on a road and restore itself to full strength. To finish Optimus Prime develops an ability to fly at the end of the movie which would have come in handy much earlier in the piece.
So to summarise, it’s over long, the acting and dialogue is terrible, the characters are unbelievable, the treatment of women characters is embarrassing and it’s badly put together. Oh and it’s going to make a truck load of cash for the Studio. Can’t wait to sit through the fifth film.