Ahh Independence Day, that great American Holiday sponsored by Bud Light and Kingsford charcoal is upon us once more. Between barbecuing, swimming at the lake, and drinking, a lot of us will often find ourselves at our local movie theatre to see our favorite actor save the world from whatever supernatural species is hot this year. 2014 is no different and we have been blessed (burdened) with yet another Transformers movie from the orange-filter, low angle king himself, Michael Bay.
Michael Bay and the gang have decided to reboot within the currently established timeline and swaps out the screaming, panting Shia Labeouf for the angry, panting Mark Wahlberg as inventor, Cade Yeager in “Transfomers 4: Age of Extinction.” After three movies of Autobot victories and what appears to be a vanquished Decepticon threat, Bay and writer Ehren Kruger have created a villain out of Frasier—ahem—Kelsey Grammer as he tries his best to do a Ron Perlman as Hellboy sans makeup impression throughout the movie. Grammer’s character, Harold Attinger, runs a black-ops mission under the umbrella of the CIA known as “Cemetery Wind” and is charged with eliminating the Autobots as America no longer needs aliens to fight its battles. But wait, Bay has obviously grown tired of only one villain and has Attinger using an interstellar bounty hunter with similar Autobot physiology to help kill the Autobots. You read that right, America hates alien robots and enlists alien robots to eliminate other alien robots. ‘Merricuh. The double villain strategy works in “Transformers 4” about as well as it did in Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman 3”… or Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spiderman 2.” (Hollywood, just look at any Spiderman film to see if more than one villain per movie is overkill) Grammer’s Attinger is in business with Stanley Tucci portraying Michael Bay’s version of Steve Jobs as CEO Joshua Joyce, whose company is making its own Transformers for the government. Nonsense ensues after Wahlberg finds Optimus Prime, blah blah blah… explosions…corny jokes…crazy angles. Then the movie ends. No it doesn’t. After sitting there for what feels like two days and what should be a movie reaching its conclusion, Bay decides to take the rest of the movie to Hong Kong to appease the future juggernaut of world cinema, China.
I left out plot twists and cliffhangers for those who still want to see the movie, but I assure you that “Transformers 4” is the loudest, and most exhausting movie that I have ever seen. I walked into the theatre with my large Frostee and small popcorn, confident that I could handle the 2 hour and 45 minute run time. Nope, I was out of my league, I felt like the boy in this YouTube clip on the Sling Shot Ride when the film crossed the 2 hour mark.
Like that little boy I was sure I could handle it but after two hours of explosions, screams, terrible plot and character development, I found myself slipping in my movie seat softly whispering Janice, Janice…
A summer blockbuster with a 2 hour and 45 minute run time should be full of awesome explosions, special effects and characters you can love and look forward to seeing again in two years, yet as the film crossed the 2 hour mark I didn’t care if Marky Mark and his teenage daughter lived or died at the end. I know that statement comes off as harsh, but there is nothing in the way of character development that will make an audience member like or care about the plight of Mark Wahlberg’s family. The action sequences have become the glue that holds this franchise together and even they have begun to lose their luster as robotic aliens can only do so much to excite after three movies. There is nothing that can save this movie, the subtitle “Extinction” is appropriate as this movie killed off any fun leftover from the previous three.
It’s a sad day when playing with Hasbro’s new line of movie tie-in Transformers actions figures sounds more exciting than watching this and any future installments of Optimus and the gang on the big screen. Michael Bay is a director who plays chicken with himself, lining up his red and blue semi-trailer truck from 2011 against 2014, seeing just how much he can best himself in explosions, crashes, and deciding if he wants a blue or orange filter this time around.Michael Bay has sadly become the poor man’s James Cameron. His films make tons of money, but unlike Cameron, Michael Bay’s movies beat you to death with action sequences and crazy angles and then beat your mother for good measure too. Summer blockbusters are supposed to be fun and exciting, unfortunately Michael Bay didn’t get the memo and I won’t get three hours of my life back.
Even with all of the warnings I’ve given you about the movie, some of you will inevitably still want to see it either tomorrow or in the coming weeks, so let me suggest an alternative if you truly desire the “Transformers 4” experience.
1) Buy 20 bags of Laffy Taffy candy.
2) Buy 10 packs of firecrackers.
3) Get a blender and a friend and go sit in your living room.
4) Turn on the blender.
5) Get your friend to read the jokes for the next three hours while occasionally setting off firecrackers.
There, you’ve just seen “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction”. Here’s to hoping the next film will be called Transfomers 5: Dead.
MJ’s Ruling: Macbeth’s words on life are perfect for summing up “Transformers 4,” “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”