“Directed by Michael Bay” – The dreaded words preceding a film that all the cynics hate. It is here once again, the summer blockbuster extravaganza. Squeezing in between the Marvel films is the latest addition to the Transformers franchise, Age of Extinction. Does it change in anyway to the previous three? With a totally new cast you’d expect some major differences at least in the way it feels. Alas no, the film is nigh upon exactly the same as the previous three, only slightly less enjoyable than the third… which if anyone doesn’t remember, wasn’t enjoyable.
Regardless of how “good” a film is it should be seen for what it is. What is a Transformers film? It is a summer blockbuster filled with fighting robots, ‘speech’ dialogue and mega explosions. That is all a Transformers film needs to exist. Just because it has all these does not mean it succeeds, it may rake in a million-bazillion dollars in it’s first hour of opening, but that does not excuse it from honest criticism. A fire can have fuel, oxygen and heat and it is a fire, but that doesn’t make it a towering inferno.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (AOE) does manage to succeed. Regardless of how cluttered the action sequences are and how imbalanced the various factions are they are somewhat enjoyable to watch without too much interest. If Michael Bay can do one thing, it’s wreck stuff. And wreck it he does. Sadly that’s just about it for what AOE does. The rest of the 165 minute running time (yes that is the REAL running time) is filled with the usual cliche ridden dialogue, predictable plot line, hollow characters, over-use of slow motion and just all round recycling. It feels like déjà vu, there is nothing new to the story. Even the new characters are immediately forgetful, the robots are enjoyable for the part but are just lifted straight from a formula on “How to Make a Hollywood Gun Squad”.
It’s disappointing but should that be a surprise? Track record says it shouldn’t, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that many were hoping to go into this film to see something new, to see Michael Bay challenge his critics and rise above what people have said about him and produce a giant robot flick that is actually genuinely fantastic to watch and a film to remember, like the first Transformers film and to an extent Pacific Rim. What we got however was a repeat of the first Transformers trilogy and a joke in the first 10 minutes about how people have forgotten the cinema and all people want to see are “sequels and remakes. Loada crap“. The writer of that line is correct, we are at an age in cinema when the majority of blockbusters are not an original idea by any stretch of the imagination and are an open copy, remake, reworking, sequel or prequel to another film franchise. Is that the death of cinema? Probably not, but if the writers of AOE have the nerve to complain about it they should realise who’s fault it really is.
To respond to his critics Michael Bay said “I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime“. The biggest threat to an imagination is displaying it, as you are not experiencing the limitless of your imagination, but the narrow mindedness of others.
Verdict – 2/5 Turn up 120 minutes in for the dinobots, that’s what you paid to see.
RELEASE DATE: 5th July