This one w

This one works as punishment

*sigh*

*sigh*

The Transformers movies are like a menstrual cycle. They show up consistently and they won’t go away no matter how much we’d like them to. Unlike periods, however, watching Transformers 4: Age of Extinction is a pain that I am qualified to retell, as I feel is my duty whenever another one of these stinkers about “robots in disguise as various product placements” arrives.

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Stanley Tucci discovers the Transformers’ new, more fake-looking way of transforming into vehicles.

Michael Bay is back and he doesn’t surprise in his still formidable awfulness. Like the last Transformers sequel, this one’s more of the same. More moronic jokes, more over-the-top CGI, more slo-mo shots of exploding cities, more government secrets, more useless characters, and more action scenes that are too long, too monotonous and too hideous to be enthralling in the slightest. Just how the target audience likes it! Get the toy line movin’!

The film is set four years after the events of Transformers 3, with the heroic Autobots having gone into hiding and what few Transformers remain being hunted by a vicious bounty hunter named Lockdown (Mark Ryan) and captured by a secret agency lead by the hammy Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer). Attinger is also in cahoots with a man of science named Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), who experiments on a rare material known as “transformium” (yes, really), which he has discovered is what the Transformers are made of and thus plans to make some of his own. But alas, since man should never play God, Joyce’s research eventually results in the evil Decepticon leader Megatron being pointlessly resurrected as the more advanced and powerful Galvatron (Frank Welker). He transforms by turning into floating cubes and re-assembling himself in the form of his choice. It somehow looks even worse than the regular transformations.

The main character is Mark Wahlberg as the penniless Cade Yeager, an improbably burly inventor who finds a rusty truck that might just be a dormant Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), the once great leader of the Autobots. Of course, a film like this wouldn’t sell if there wasn’t anything for adolescent boys to drool over in-between action scenes so there’s also Nicola Peltz as Cade’s attractive daughter Tessa. Thankfully, the only thing worth of note that she’s acted in before is The Last Airbender so it’s not like she had much of a reputation that her being in a Michael Bay film would taint. Either way, they awaken Optimus, who vows to avenge the robots that have been ruthlessly exploited by humanity.

As the nonsense plot moves along as clumsily as ever, we do find out a few things about the origins of Transformer-kind and eventually we get to meet an army of robot dinosaurs that breathe fire, known as Dinobots. Yes, robot dinosaurs that breathe fire. The testosterone just boils, doesn’t it?

You thought I was kidding, didn't you?

You thought I was kidding, didn’t you?

As usual, there are various side-characters and as even more usual, barely any of them are sufficiently developed or interesting. There’s Ken Watanabe as a samurai-Autobot complete with a stereotypically Japanese accent (sigh), John Goodman as a fat and bearded Autobot with an ever-present cigar in his mouth (double sigh), Jack Reynor as Tessa’s racer boyfriend Shane, T.J. Miller as Cade’s closest friend, John DiMaggio as an Autobot who for some reason has an impractical metal cape on him, Titus Welliver as one of Attinger’s agents, Li Bingbing as some Chinese woman, Sophia Myles as Joyce’s assistant, and of course, Bumblebee is back. Apparently he too thought it was a good idea to ditch Shia LaBeouf for the fourth movie. Nobody disagrees.

As much as this movie is a tiresome repeat of previous chapters, one thing I must give it credit for is that the resurrection of Megatron, even though we’ve already seen him again and again, is handled more similarly to the cartoons this time. Not only does he become “Galvatron”, but he’s also voiced by Frank Welker, the original voice of Megatron, instead of Hugo Weaving. So Bay, you get a small point for fangasm value now that you’ve reunited the legends Peter Cullen and Frank Welker!

I will also say that, astoundingly, I can actually tell from afar who’s who out of the new Autobot side-characters, which is more than I can say for the robot designs in the rest of this franchise. I also felt that Lockdown, with his fearsome ship and captured aliens, may be a refugee from a better film. Aside from all this, though, and a few okay lines from T.J. Miller, this is just more of the same junk. Even the characters, although most of them are a whole new cast, seem familiar once you examine them. Stanley Tucci is the new John Turturro, Nicola Peltz is the new obligatory sex object, Titus Welliver is like a villainous version of Josh Duhamel and Kelsey Grammer is the new “government jerk that won’t listen”.

The visuals, as always, are excessively detailed with too much to look at and aren’t even rendered properly in terms of lighting at times. It doesn’t help that multiple shots in the film either look grainy or like amateur footage from a GoPro. Did perhaps The Desolation of Smaug start a trend?

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I need not go on to mention the stretched-out onslaughts of brainless action, inexplicable color correction (Tessa looks like a damn carrot), mostly uninteresting lead characters, over-crowded storyline, shoddily written expository dialogue, even more idiotic dialogue for the Autobots, inconsistent tone, blatant product placement or even the fact that Optimus, while somewhat ruthless and harsh in the last movie, gets turned into an outright blood-thirsty psychopath in this one. Good call, Bay.

All I really need to say is that this is another Transformers movie. That should tell you everything you need to know about how tedious, stupid, visually unappealing, and just plain intelligence-insulting it is. Steve Jablonsky gives it his all with an intense and triumphant score, as does whoever was in charge of the sound design, but it is little redemption. It doesn’t have as much juvenile comedy as the previous ones, but Age of Extinction is still a bad, bad movie.

But since Michael Bay is basically the PewDiePie of action filmmaking, it’s not like he’s going to stop anytime soon. He has figured out that gullible teens who need nothing more than attractive women, excessive amounts of special effects, dumb humour, and loud action in order to qualify a summer movie as “good” are the most frequent visitors of film theatres, hence why he’ll keep making money and thus have no reason to create a work of art that exceeds the standards of those who keep this franchise alive.

Although I suppose that another thing that consistently breathes new life into the Transformers series is shmucks like me who are simply curious to see how horrible the film could be “this time”, and still go check it out. Either way, Bay: you’ve won! Congrats.

1/5 whatever

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