July 1, 2014

Shadowcon Mini-Views- Transformers: Age of Extinction, AKA Not A Film

It's a three-hour explosion. That's literally the best way I can describe this albatross of a film. It's like sitting through noise. Like visual and auditory noise. I'm not even going to explain the plot because there isn't one. What this movie is doing to the brand is just atrocious, and if you can believe it, what it's doing to the film franchise that it's in is atrocious. That's right: this thing manages to make the film universe even worse than what it had been back in Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon. Because say what you will about those things (and by God there is much to say about those things), at least those had slivers of storyline connected to them. This latest one doesn't even have that. It has faded bullet points and a blank check and some of the most gratuitous action scenes I've ever seen... and not the good kind either; these action scenes make you long for the days when Neo would face down thousands of Agent Smiths in the Matrix sequels. That's how irrelevant and monotonous these action scenes are.

Now, I never go into these kinds of films expecting greatness. We know Transformers is crap, but we go anyway. Why? Because we do enjoy seeing giant robots fight, and that's okay from time to time. I'm of the opinion that this type of film isn't ruining cinema; we've had well done action in action films in the past like Die Hard and we've had brilliant films with a high dosage of action in them like Terminator 2, The Dark Knight, The Edge of Tomorrow. So I don't say this as a fan of the old Transformers cartoon who doesn't like anything that comes after it, but as someone who recognizes how ridiculous the films are and who admittedly enjoys that sort of thing: THIS MOVIE HAS THE MOST ANEMIC ACTION... EVER PUT TO FILM!!!!

Seriously! How hard is this? How hard is it to make a compelling gripping action film with giant robots? Apparently it's damn near impossible, because the closest we've gotten to a good one of those in this Transformers franchise has been the third one in the series and that was utter awfulness! And that's my problem with this movie: even the things that are supposed to be ridiculous and over the top are pushed to such a degree as to not effecting us in either thrill or emotion. The action is so overblown and absurd that it loses any and all chances to be enjoyable.

The characters in this one are even more boring than Sam was in the last three films. The actress who plays Mark Wahlberg's daughter makes Megan Fox feel like Oscar material. Mark Wahlberg himself sucks in this movie; Stanley Tucci sucks in this movie (and you know it's bad when his performance sucks; he's usually any movie's safety net); poor Kelsey Grammer has literally sacrificed higher brain function to be in this movie; it feels like the script... oh I'm sorry, did I say "script"? Yeah, sorry. I meant the unravelling one thread of yarn that attempts to hold all the explosions together was made specifically to make every actor in this movie want to die. Grammer, I love you, but that was the most stoic performance ever... no fault of yours, sir; I blame the one-page outline draft that serves as the movie's script.

I'll touch on the robots a little bit here as well, because after all that's what we all go into these films wanting to see. The Autobots were weird in this one. Like more weird than they've ever been in one of these... and not in a good way. You have Optimus and Bumblebee returning, and then alongside them you have this gun-toting cigar-smoking bearded guy Hound who isn't Hound (or Bulkhead) in any incarnation at all from any other continuity; you have Crosshairs who barely does anything; and then you have possibly the least effective Autobot both in terms of "character" and in terms of action, Drift. Optimus himself is the best thing in the movie... damning praise if I've ever written it. He's over the top as normal, but this time the charm of homicidal Optimus is lost since it's now rendered normal because of how many other crazy things are going on around him.

EDIT: Oh! I totally forgot to talk about the Dinobots... kinda like how the movie forgot to talk about the Dinobots... moving on.

The new "Decepticons" are also weird. Like in the previous films, the 'Cons don't have any personality at all. Galvatron is even more unthreatening as Megatron was, all the other human-made Decepticons are just mindless drones, and you're left with the impression that these things could just be anything and it wouldn't matter because they'd blow up anyway. And then you have Lockdown... yeah, fuck that guy. He's about as effective a villain as Zod was in Man of Steel. Actually, no. Scratch that. This makes Zod look like Darth Vadar, because at least Zod had a shit reason for doing what he was doing. This guy has literally zero motivation! Oh sure, there's a line in there about the Transformers Creators (don't even get me started on that), but beyond that there's nothing.

And the runtime. Holy fuckballs. The runtime is just insane. This has the length of two hours and forty-three minutes; it felt like five hours had gone by by the time this shit was over! Non-stop explosions? You got it! And it's the most boring ride I've ever been on. This has anemic action held together by some duct tape characters and silly strings of outlined plot material. I'm pissed off at this movie for wasting my time. I'm pissed off at this movie for bringing the quality of the film franchise down to a whole new low (a feat I never thought possible given that Revenge of the Fallen exists). And most of all, I'm pissed off that this movie now represents the Transformers franchise... and the world is getting the worst of it. This has surpassed Revenge of the Fallen in my shit movie scale. This has reached a level of pissed-off-ifity that I haven't reached with a film like this ever. This is going in my Transformers tag, but it's being done as the more human part of my soul weeps for all the actual Transformers-related material in that tag... yeah, I think that about covers it.

Oh, PS: in case it isn't clear, I don't recommend this movie.

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