MOVIE REVIEW: Consider the ‘Transformers’ franchise creatively extinct

Print This Page

First Posted: 5/26/2014

Remember a few years back when Megan Fox compared Michael Bay to Hitler and all of us rolled our eyes and laughed derisively? Well, did anyone stop to think that maybe, just maybe, Fox wasn’t comparing Bay to Hitler: the ruthless dictator? Maybe Fox was comparing Bay to Hitler in the sense that both men are really terrible artists? It’s probably the only Hitler comparison that could be considered reasonable because both men were and continue to be really terrible artists.

However, I’m going to take it one step further and boldly proclaim that Bay is actually worse than Hitler (as an artist) because Hitler eventually gave up on painting to pursue a life in politics. Bay, on the other hand, continues making movies. And considering “Transformers: Age of Extinction’s” $100 million opening, he’ll continue to make movies – indefinitely – for the rest of our miserable lives. So I ask you, America, who is the bigger Hitler? Artistically, I mean. Oh, you know what? Screw these lame qualifiers! MICHAEL BAY IS A HITLERNAZI!!! YAAAAAAGGHHH!!!1!!!!

Experiencing “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is difficult to describe. I can’t decide if sitting through the movie was like having a three-hour ice cream headache or if it accurately replicated the feeling of what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of a schizophrenic pederast. Whatever the case may be, the experience was both numbing and nauseating.

In the film, a shambling pork mound with the face of a chubby little angel (Mark Wahlberg) is furious that his teenage daughter (Nicola Peltz, whose entire body is encased within a cocoon of spray tanner and rouge) may have left his house unchaperoned at one point and kissed a boy. Luckily, the pork mound’s murderous, misdirected rage at his daughter’s budding sexuality is slightly assuaged as he mindlessly tinkers with the lifeless husk of what used to be Optimus Prime. But one day, the tinkering goes too far and the semi-truck springs to life, threatening to kill the pork mound, at which point the pork mound heroically vows to protect the semi-truck from roving bands of anti-robot CIA agents, even if it means sacrificing the lives of his friends and family. Because, after all, they are not made of trucks and are therefore disposable.

From there, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” devolves into a confusing, barely coherent morass of government conspiracies, gratuitous shots of Kelsey Grammer’s forehead, casual racism (everyone in China knows kung-fu), blatant product placement, and so many lingering close-ups of pubescent asses that I’m pretty sure everyone who watched this movie has to go to prison now.

A movie this stupid shouldn’t be this unwatchable. The sight of a giant robot riding on top of an even bigger robot dinosaur should be thrillingly moronic, not exhausting. When a character tells another character that he doesn’t need a warrant because “[his] face is [his] warrant,” I should be laughing, not quietly seething. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is joyless, a begrudging act of corporate synergy unconvincingly masquerading as summer entertainment. For a director who’s frequently lauded for his visual style, Bay seems to have gone out of his way to ensure that everything in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” looks unappealing and hideous. In spite of the fact that millions of dollars have been put into the special effects, Optimus Prime and the rest of the Transformers still resemble – as my one friend put it – “a jumble of crumpled shattered metal that moves around.”

There’s nothing about “Transformers: Age of Extinction” that isn’t punishing. This film is basically what would happen if an air horn and a car alarm decided to make a creative collaboration. This is the first film in history that was actually hurt by the absence of Shia LaBeouf. This is the kind of film that has nothing to say and yet still hangs around for three hours. Not just the worst film of 2014, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the worst film of the next five years, and if you’re older than 12 and disagree with that, you are broken inside and will never be fixed. If you think that’s just bitter hyperbole, then you clearly didn’t sit through “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” Be grateful.

Rating: No Ws