Monday, January 12, 2015

notsoterrible Movie Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

I'll be the first to admit that I really enjoyed the first two Transformers movies by Michael Bay and it wasn't until the third when I began to wonder if the franchise needed to take a break.   Oddly enough, "Dark of the Moon" is also when they ditched Megan Fox (whom I can't stand as an actress) but that shouldn't have made that movie worse somehow.    In any case, to his credit, four of the last five movies directed by Michael Bay were Transformers.    The only other was "Pain & Gain" (which I kind of liked) which happened to star the guy who took over the franchise here in Mark Wahlberg though his "P&G" co-star The Rock was also rumored to be offered the main role.  (Insert all Marky Mark and the Funky Bots jokes here)

One thing I will admit is that I feel like I need to re-watch "Dark of the Moon" before I get too far involved in this franchise after seeing "Age of Extinction".   I can give you brief summaries of the first two Transformers movies but if you asked me what "Dark of the Moon" was about I'd probably just shrug my shoulders as watching it just seemed like going through the motions for me.    In many ways, it reminds me of the "Iron Man" series as I strongly remember the first, vaguely remember the second and really don't remember the third that much.    Yes, I need to spend more time watching my comic book movies again and less time watching movies that I feel badly about watching afterwards.

The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it clocks in at something like two hours and forty minutes.    I've never been one to care about the length of a film because if it seemed long on paper but was really good it could simply fly by.   Just look at "Guardians of the Galaxy" as an example- that was over two hours and went by like a lot less than that.   The problem with "Age of Extinction" is not that it is long but that it feels even longer than it actually is.    There are a lot of scenes which I feel could be cut out and would have made the overall movie that much better.  

As a blatant example, which is just within the first hour or so, the main character played by Mark Wahlberg has a friend/business partner/surfer dude pal played by T.J. Miller.   When Optimus Prime comes to life and starts firing his guns, T.J. Miller blows up and is gone from the movie.   But, wait, the two main characters (Marky Mark and his daughter) are saved by... her boyfriend.    Who is introduced.   Right when T.J. Miller's character dies.   More or less.     So you're basically building up this one character just to kill him off and then replace him with another character.   It really doesn't make you care whether anyone (of the humans) in this movie lives or dies and since the franchise can't exist without Optimus Prime you know he's not dying.

So this movie is about a seed or something and how the essence of the Transformers can be captured and used to recreate them.    The Dinobots don't feel like they're in here for very long and I think that was kind of weak, but my son did enjoy seeing Bumblebee (He mostly only looked up when Bee was on)   It's just that the plot felt like it had been done before, but then it's also just a lack of real character depth but since it's a Michael Bay movie obviously the explosions were cool.

We also had here what I like to call the "Godzilla 2014" ending and by saying this I will effectively be giving a brief review of that film as well.   In "Godzilla 2014" a threat came about that was decided to be taken care of by Godzilla.   I asked my wife in somewhat seriousness what the plan would be after Godzilla helped them, and I even said, "So what, when he's done he's just going to go back into the ocean without any problems?"   And he did just that.    What kind of weak ending is that?   Godzilla just saying "Glad I could be of service" and going back in the water until they need him for the sequel.

Well, in "Age of Extinction" when it all goes down, Optimus Prime says that the Dinobots fulfilled their end of the deal and now he sets them free.   So they just went walking off into the woods, like, "Okay, see you later.  We'll try not to kill any humans".    Optimus Prime took the seed and went into space with it, where no one could ever find it, and the rest of the living Autobots remain on Earth.    This should be interesting since there is supposed to be a fifth movie (which is not supposed to be directed by Michael Bay, but since he might be doing "Bad Boys 3" you can still look for a Will Smith or Martin Lawrence lead role in Transformers 5)  and it would have to bring Optimus Prime back for some reason but I just hope that they can keep it more concise and trim down some of the nonsense which made this movie unwatchable at times.

One day I will go back and watch "Dark of the Moon" again as well as "Age of Extinction" and even the "Iron Man" movies I'm not 100% certain about what happened.   But until then, I'll just hope for a better fifth installment.

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