Monday, July 21, 2014

Putting the 'Stink' in Extinction

Michael Bay spares no expense keeping the Autobots on their heels with new friends and old adversaries in the noticeably terrible Transformers: Age Of Extinction


ARTH VADER (AV): The Transformers are changing before our eyes. They are morphing,altering their DNA, becoming newer, bigger and badder. It’s downright Darwinian, Ponty. Moving the established Transformers cinematic universe (TCU) forward. Director Michael Bay introduces a whole new strain of enemies (and some ancient allies) to offer 2 hours and 45 minutes of some of the most beautiful eye-gasming, hi-tech, empty-headed disaster porn this side of Day After Tomorrow (ply or minus one hunky, frosty Dennis Quaid). The action is intense and it shows so many flags and lens flares, you would think J.J. Abrams got together with Betsy Ross. And indeed, in this fourth installment of the TCU, we are bombarded with hi-tech (and other!) eye candy.  

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Ah yes…another Transformers film has graced the silver screen, be still my beating heart Vader. Picking up where the last film left off, the continuity seems to be intact for the previous films (for the most part) if you can overlook Optimus Prime’s new arm and new ability to suddenly fly, I’m just not sure I even care anymore.  


AV: So after three blockbuster TCU movies, actor-turned-whack-a-do-head case, Shiaf LaBouff is done. So is Megan “Hey, my eyes are up here” Fox, letting us in on a whole new cast of dim-witted robo-sidekicks. Heading up this new list of TCU humans is Mark “Good Vibrations” Wahlberg as the new leading guy with immortal words “I think we’ve found a transformer” (I think so, too, btw). Wonderfully perplexing actor extraordinaire Kelsey Grammar is the evil G-Man who hates transformers as Stan "I am the 1%" Tucci uses his tech and skills (and some help from some not-so-nice off-worlders) make Optimus Prime's life a poo-storm. 

TP: There was a LOT of talent in this cast. Leading off with Mark Wahlberg with support by Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer, it was hard for me to fathom why this film didn’t absolutely blow me away. Add the voice talents of John Goodman and Ken Wantanabe and all you really have to do is provide great material for a hit. Granted, this was not the type of film that was ever going to win Oscar’s for acting, but it certainly could have been better with a better script and more focused directing.


AV: If I was in the turd-shinning business, I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams working on the visual effects for this movie, old friend. Say what you will about this film's attempt at a plot but this movie looks incredible! The ships, the fights, the Dinobots, a second Transformer invasion of Chicago–not to mention the incredible interiors on the adversaries giant spaceship simply take your breath away.

TP: Special effects is the bread and butter of this film and for the most part they blew me away…as expected. What I didn’t expect was to see any hint or sign of shoddy CGI work anywhere on the screen…after all, this is the fourth Transformers film and if they can’t figure it out now, something is wrong. Well, something is wrong. I was flabbergasted that in the scene where Yeager (Wahlberg) is being chased down the side of a high rise building in China by Savoy (Titus Welliver) it looked as fake on the pullback shot as the first few years of film CGI. Really…?


AV: Okay so if it's not evident by now, I was not a fan of this movie. It did not have a plot, a story that mattered, waaay too many flags and lens flares for my liking and I have learned not to expect much from these films and got exactly that…not much. How many Autobots are there? Every film says there only a few but we have dozens in each film. According to this film, the Transformers were 'seeded' to Earth by a race of cybernetic-enhanced beings. Where did they come from? Are there others? Were they defeated? Why the hell can Optimus Prime Fly all of a sudden? And why couldn't he just do so in the past? So Megatron is now Galvatron? Ugh! This stuff is so frustrating–I can suspend disbelief only so far. This movie goes way beyond that line. 

TP: Let me sum this film up in one word: cliché. There was so much that was unoriginal in this film that it became predictable to the point of being boring and all the explosions and destruction just added to the agony when the film reached this level. Some examples are the scene where Tessa (Nicola Peltz) can’t figure out which direction to run to avoid the danger of the Optimus Prime/ Galvatron/ Lockdown fight…and runs in every direction instead of directly to her father (who is obviously in no danger as he sits and gives her the ridiculous instruction to run everywhere else). There was no doubt in my mind she was going to be taken at that point. The scene where they are all doing their best tightrope impression to escape the alien ship…as if nobody could predict the cables were gonna break. The scene where they are just about to get Joyce (Tucci) and the seed aboard their ship, and they form a human chain to do it (instead of Bumblebee just jumping down, grabbing both, and jumping back in the craft) when (oh surprise!) a lucky shot shakes them all off the ship and into further peril. There were so many moments like this in the film that it was impossible to be thrilled, knowing exactly what was going to happen in the next scene…sigh. 


AV: I am sure there is another in the works already. Don't know how excited I am for it, though. I mean honestly, if this film was the 'Age of Extinction' –who died? No one became extinct. I know, don' t be so literal. I get it, P–Man, I really do. It's a misnomer, not a title. TV Commercial director-turned-Hollywood blockbuster madman, Michael Bay has such a love for the military, scantily clad skirts on near-underage fillies and American flags, he will be busy, I'm sure, getting hard to work on T5: Age of (yawn) .. oh who cares at this point. Pontificator? 

TP: So I hear that this film was the first in the next trilogy of Transformer’s films (groan) with Transformers: 5 set to debut in 2016. Truthfully, when I saw Galvitron (Megatron) escape, I knew I was in for another film…but another two? I didn’t think it was possible to have action-film overload, but here it is…me, overloaded and dreading more films like this one. 


ARTH VADER rates Transformers: Age Of Extinction: At two hours and 45 minutes runtime, there is very little positive I can say about his film. It's long, cumbersome, horribly cliché and full of itself in so many way its too hard to suggest otherwise. At an expensive of more than $220 million, you could hire a few writers. Shame on you Mr. Bay and shame on Hollywood. Nearly 3-hours and $220 million and we are none the worse for wear. (Sigh) So Transformers: Age Of Extinction morphs two (2) busted blocks into energon cubes with just enough power to make me want to know, begrudgingly, where the Dinobots ran off too. Scratch that, I don't want to know. 

THE PONTIFICATOR rates Transformers:Age of Extinction: Although this film was loaded with action and big budget effects, that was the only entertainment value it held for me. A film full of cliché’s just isn’t fun for me. With such a talented cast, I don’t think the idea should be to make the film even more mindless than usual and thus, only transform six (6) busted blocks. 

Transformers: Age Of Extinction: 4 / 10 Busted Blocks 

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