Thursday, July 3, 2014

[MOVIEHOUSE MADNESS] Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

"MOVIEHOUSE MADNESS" is when I review films currently shown in theaters. Also, I rarely watch new releases in the cinemas, but when I do, there are always face-palming incidences that make me regret going. So humor me and let me tell you what I think before you waste your ticket money, while refreshing your memory of the ABCs of movie house etiquette!

Sometimes, I think Michael Bay is really just a teenage boy on crack who is obsessed with his robots & cars & explosions - like a kid playing with his toys & bumping them against each other and not caring about anything else. Because that's evident yet again in his recent blockbuster movie, a term that I will grudgingly use in this post. It's not a movie, it's more like an extended video of metal clashing against metal & mind-numbing explosions, and product placements here & there - this is not a film, it's an over-sized boy's overindulgent wet dream.

Directed by:  Michael Bay
Written by:  Ehren Kruger (The Ring, Transformers 2 & 3, Scream 3 & 4)
Music by:  Steve Jablonsky (Gangster Squad, Ender's Game, Lone Survivor)
Cinematography:  Amir Mokri
Running Time:  165 mins
Budget:  $210 million
Box Office: $381 million and counting

Unfortunately, the way Michael Bay's indifference to critics' plea for a better plot & characterization, arrogantly justifying his lack of effort to make a substantial film that's more than loud explosions and crazy-ass robot action, this franchise is seriously losing its appeal to me. Not that I matter when it comes to its box office returns. That's the problem. WE don't matter. Whether we like the Bayformers or not, MB, with the gratuitous urging from Hollywood big guys, will continue to do whatever he does best because they know the money will keep on flowing. A few harsh words & negative reviews won't hurt this franchise, because as Bay have said, people are gonna see it anyway. Haters gonna hate, he'd still be riding Bee all the way to the bank. Besides, this franchise will continue to thrive, not because of Michael Bay, but because this is Transformers. Giant talking alien robots-slash-cars, man! That'll never get old! (I'm still waiting for Voltes V though, c'mon Hollywood!)

Now, now, I don't hate this film - even if it's really stupid & loud & everything seems to be irritating. To be fair, Mark Wahlberg & Stanley Tucci made this one bearable, and some times fun. The daughter, boyfriend, & goofy friend on the other hand are incredibly stupid. And I definitely prefer this than that awful third installment. No, I don't hate it. Because the graphics are really awesome, the autobots are cute, & like I've said, Wahlberg & Tucci's charisma won me over. But that's about it, aside from those I've mentioned - this is a pretty shallow & forgettable film. First of all, for a movie with no seemingly cohesive plot/script, T:AofE is pretty darn long! I was getting irritated with the guy sitting next to me because he kept putting his elbow on my armrest (etiquette, dude!!) & I was having trouble getting my soda trying not to touch his icky arm, so I kept on looking at my watch and then wonder when the hell will the movie end? I get that Bay caters to people who love these robots & explosions & action, but Jesus H. Christ this guy doesn't know the meaning of subtlety! Granted that the CGI is amazing, in my opinion, and the robots are slick & mesmerizing, but the thing is, when they clash and wreck things, all becomes a blur that you won't even care what the hell is happening, not to mention the fact that since the characters aren't fully fleshed out - so whatever is going on in the screen, my reaction most of the time is a nonchalant "eh?" and an occasional "meh". There's too much of everything that the only feeling I've had halfway through is "jaded."

You know you're looking at something attractive, but your brain becomes muddled as if it has short-circuited because of the garbage that it's trying to process, so half of the time you just sit there, munching on some overpriced popcorn, wondering if seeing this mind-numbing mess of a movie really worth it? Then again you can't think because your brain is temporarily fried. 

But I really liked the fat autobot. He's funny.

And while there were minimal jaw-dropping scenes, there's one scene that made me snicker and mumble to myself "About time I see something special!" - and it's not even that special!

Who cares about plot & characterization? This is an action movie about robots and that's all that matters! Note that that's the usual argument of Transformers' fans and while they may have a point, however superficial, of course it's ultimately flawed. To all the fanboys out there who accuse critics of being a bunch of arrogant pseudo-intellectuals for wanting something more than bangs & booms, be a little more open-minded and see the view from the other side. Is it really wrong to want something more than cliched characters/plot, cheesy dialogue, & shaky action (because I admit that during scenes where Bay just goes crazy & just puts every robots, ammos, grenades, & cars he has altogether - it all becomes a mess)? After all, we all paid for tickets. But then again, by this time you already know how Michael Bay works & how much fudge he doesn't give, so seriously, this is a losing battle. I say, critics, back the hell off because no matter what you say you won't win this war. And that's quite obvious.... After 4 blockbuster Transformers movies.

My Rating: 2/5 - Let's face it, this franchise is nowhere near extinction and we will still be on the lookout for Transformers 5 despite the spider sense ringing inside our heads warning us to stay the hell away from it. Maybe that's Michael Bay's real (and only?) talent, that is, to successfully lure us into his trap with colorfully-wrapped candies - which if you think about it - too much will give you diabetes. Here's a nice thought to end this review:  Wouldn't it be intriguing to see someone else direct Transformers, to maybe prevent us from having gangrene?

*Photos/GIFs courtesy of Tumblr.

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  1. Great review!!!.. I loved the humor especially, blended with your intelligent writing, clearly displayed here.. I laughed several times at parts of this, and also admired your candid opinions of the film.. Really enjoyable review.. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Thank you for reading Tabby :) Glad you enjoyed it =D

  2. Good review Lucresia. I give Bay credit where credit's due, some of this is fun and impressive. But some of it is annoying, over-bearing and way too long for what it needs to be.

    1. thanks for reading Dan! :) Yes, I enjoyed some of it too, and this is really better than the third one (all I can remember from part 3 was how annoyed I was with Shia, and that it felt forced).. But what ultimately made me disappointed with this one is its long running time and too much mindless explosions, shaky cam, and messy clashing of metals.

  3. This has to be one of the worst franchise adaptations I've come across, can't stand it. Nice review by the way.

    1. I like the robots but I hate the totality of the film. I can't believe how cheesy and empty the dialogues/characters are. Thanks for reading Phil! =D

  4. I saw "Transformers: Age of Extinction" last night (finally). I absolutely loved the robots (the Dinobots were my favorite - totally awesome). I agree that there was too much "guy" candy like muscle cars, huge explosion scenes and even a butt shot of the female lead - but it is "Transformers," so that's what you get. I appreciated the change to Mark Wahlberg as the lead (he was fantastic), as well as Nicola Peltz as Tessa (I noticed the innocence they had her portray with her wearing white throughout the film...). Peltz was a refreshing change from the previous female leads of the past in the "Transformer" films. I could have done without seeing Kelsey Grammer as "the bad guy," but he did a decent acting job. Overall, 2.5/5 stars for me. Almost 3 stars, because I laughed several times out loud, perhaps inappropriately and twice it was more of an inside joke between my husband and I because one of the Dinobots reminded us of our dog's mannerisms. Again, amazing review. :)

    1. I initially rated this 2.5 stars because I did enjoy some scenes, but the overall stupidity of the characters, cheesy lines, and overly long running time made me decide on a firm 2/5 lol.. I am wondering about the dinobots, are they really that metallic looking in the cartoons? I thought (just basing from a vague childhood memory) that they looked cute to me. The movie version, they looked scary and fierce yes - but somehow generic? Like if you don't look closely (and in this case it's very hard bec of the shaky cam and explosions), you really won't see who's who unless they stay still long enough for you to distinguish if it's a t-rex or pteradactyl or something.

      I didnt notice about the white clothes = innocence but you have a point! I do prefer her over Fox or that Fox-proxy, at least she wasnt being blatantly sexualized. That's a change.

      thank you for reading Chele!



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