To say that Michael Bay is a horrible director would be an understatement. The lazy director recycles the same shots over and over again in all of his films and his sense of humor may be the worst in Hollywood. I would call his past work an aBAYmination. The guy only has two good films (The Rock and Bad Boys) and has spent the last seven years wrecking my childhood with the Transformers franchise. Now, Bay is making things real personal for this critic by taking one of my favorite characters from my youth in the 1980s. After not giving the audience what they wanted for years, Bay has now unleashed Grimlock and the Dinobot crew in Transformers: Age of Extinction hoping to give the franchise a facelift. Unfortunately, in true Michael Bay fashion, he manages to botch the job completely.
Let’s get to the positives first in Transformers: Age of Extinction considering it won’t take long. Even though no one in the audience really cares about the flesh and blood characters in Transformers, replacing Shia Lebouf and the rest of the obnoxious Witwicky clan with Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager and his daughter (Nicole Peltz) was a definite positive. Trust me these characters are awful as well, they are just not on a Witwicky “Oh My eyes” level. Also ditching the straight Decepticon vs Autobots plot was a step in the right direction. Giving fans a new set of villains was needed, but this is where a long line of major flaws begin with Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Mark Wahlberg is the type of actor who needs a skilled director to bring the best out of him. Peter Berg, David O. Russell and Martin Scorsese were all able to get the most out of Wahlberg. Michael Bay couldn’t hold any of those guy’s Clapperboard, therefore Wahlberg just ends up playing himself. Bay doesn’t have the skills to bring the most out of his cast. The only thing he seems to be good at is beginning shots between Nicole Peltz’s legs. Bay shows his chauvinistic, creepy side is still intact considering Peltz’s character is only supposed to be a senior in high school.
The other task Bay can’t handle is the decision to have multiple villains in Transformers: Age of Extinction. There are four separate groups of villains in the film. The CIA led by Kelsey Grammer, technical mogul Joshua Joyce played by Stanley Tucci, classic Transformer villain Galvatron and a group of ancient Transformer bounty hunters. Bay gets lost in the multiple subplots and should have just stuck with two sets of villains. Grammer is quite good, even with the poor script, and the robotic bounty hunters are a unique set of new villains. Unfortunately, they get neglected for Tucci’s goofy Joshua Joyce and the pointless Galvatron. I will say Bay got the look of Galvatron correct, but he’s hardly in it.
Maybe part of the reason Galvatron and the other pointless characters didn’t register was because of Bay’s treatment of Grimlock and the beloved Dinobots. For one thing, the Dinobots are hardly in Transformers: Age of Extinction. In the beginning of the film Bay tricks us into thinking the prehistoric Transformers’ involvement will be bigger than expected. Then they completely disappear until the last 20 minutes of the film. Did I also mention Transformers: Age of Extinction is 165 minutes long. That is way too long of a movie to begin with and the fact you hide the one thing everyone wants to see until the end is horrible. The Dinobots are given the total Bay treatment; zero back story and chrome skin with flames. Grimlock is one of the best characters ever in Transformers lore and Bay completely destroys his legacy. Bay even made the decision not to have Grimlock talk in his classic pattern of speech. Me T.M. not happy with Bay.
Prepare to be bombarded by Bay with loud action, dumb jokes and low angle shots with lens flares. What else would you expect from the worst director working in Hollywood? Michael Bay is off the leash for 165 minutes and there’s no reigning him back in. If you have kids, be weary of the long running time. With previews you are looking at a three-hour long film experience. It’s still not Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. That particular Bay experience is on a whole other level. I can’t believe I’m about to make this statement: The Twilight franchise is not the worst in the history of movies. Transformers: Age of Extinction wretchedness helps Michael Bay take the title of captain of the worst franchise in movies. This 80s child’s heart is broken.
Overall, I give Transformers: Age of Extinction o.5 out of 4 stars.
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