Let me preface this by saying I’m a big Transformers fan. I love the series. I love the concept. I loved the animated series that used to air on TV. I even loved the previous Transformers movies. (Well, maybe not the third one, but I thought it was okay.) It is one of my favorite franchises and I just watched it being butchered for over two and a half hours.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is a disaster. I was thrilled to get the chance to see it before most of the world but ended up being thoroughly disappointed. The movie is 165 minutes of incoherent nonsense and if you thought that’s what the previous movies were, well, you might start appreciating them after seeing this.
First of all, it has that godawful Michael Bay humor that we saw in the previous movies. It’s not funny at all and there is so much of it so often it makes you cringe. It’s like watching a senile old man running naked on the street. It’s sad and it makes you feel uncomfortable.
But that shit was there before as well. What I loved about the Transformers movies, or what anyone loves about them, was watching the robots transform and fight. The previous movies had memorable moments. I still remember the scene from the first movie where Ironhide jumps up and shoots missiles mid-air in slow motion as the woman is screaming below, and Starscream jumping and transforming mid-air and flying off, Sideways getting sliced in half by Sideswipe, Scorponok rising from the ground, and the brief scenes with Demolisher and Devastator in the second movie and finally the Shockwave sequences and that time Bumblebee transforms with Shia LaBeouf still in the car from the third movie.
But nothing of that sort happens in this movie. Other than Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, there are three other Autobots in the movie, all of whom are new. They try to come across as interesting but you don’t really give a shit about them. Bumblebee is so seldomly seen on screen you forget he’s even there in the movie. And Optimus Prime goes through his usual routine of getting his ass thoroughly kicked in the first half of the movie, only to rise again later, something which has been a common theme of previous movies. This is why I don’t feel particularly strongly about the movie version of Prime because he fails so often and so hard in combat it’s difficult to take him seriously as a leader.
There are plenty of action sequences in the movie but the first half has about 10% of them. And considering the first half is about 90 minutes long it means you are treated to a lot of talking and other bullshit that is either plain stupid or just boring. When shit does start hitting the fan later, it’s just a bloody mess, with so much happening at once that you don’t care about anything and none of it is particularly cool or memorable. There is also the nausea-inducing shaky camera technique being thoroughly abused here, which actually makes it hard to see what’s going on because everything is shaking so goddamned much all the time. Except when there is a product placement going on, then the camera is absolutely still so you can see the brand name clearly.
The only redeeming aspects of this movie are the exceptional CGI with some stunning 3D and the incredible sound. The movie looks and sounds fantastic and if you do make the mistake of watching it, do it in IMAX like I did because otherwise there will be nothing there to enjoy. (Update: This film does have the highest amount of IMAX footage I’ve seen in any movie, with practically half the movie being in IMAX. However, I did not like the way it constantly keeps jumping between IMAX and non-IMAX footage between every other scene. This probably won’t bother you as much as it bothered me and if you watch it in a regular theater then you won’t see it at all.)
Overall, Transformers: Age of Extinction is a horrible mess of a movie and a complete waste of time and money. The previous Transformers movies were a guilty pleasure and scratched a very specific itch for a very specific audience but this one doesn’t even do that while inheriting all the flaws of its predecessors. It takes a special kind of idiot to mess up something so simple. Fuck you Michael Bay, you stupid fuck.