Transformers: Age of Extinction

Day 9. 18 pages, 8,598 words.

What a spectacularly silly movie. Let me see if I can break it down.

Mark Wahlberg is a struggling single dad who grows American flags on a little farm in Texas. A little farm right next to some corn fields, a rally car track he a) had no idea existed and b) had no inkling his daughter was going to regularly[1], and a giant freeway system.

[1] I know, picking on the dad is easy, we have no idea what our daughters get up to and it’s always a surprise. Come on, that’s low-hanging fruit. But rally driving?

Anyway, in conclusion the first part of the film is like this:

The second act of the film is basically the boring bit of Real Steel, with some of the usual anti-fascist modern government fear thrown in and a blonde teenage girl with no discernible talents[2] instead of the little boy who could dance.

[2] I thought, when her boyfriend said she was a brilliant navigator, she’d come in handy and be cool-headed and useful at some point. But aside from shrieking “look out” and pointing out the obvious like the world’s most hysterical back seat driver, she did nothing. Classic Bay female, in this case I have to give the feminist complainers some credence. I mean, the junkyard chick in the first movies (and yes, I say that in a sexist and labelly way because I have been left with little recourse) was vile but at least she could whack things with a tyre iron and they’d stay down. The one in the third movie, I don’t know. I guess they removed any actual character traits from her, and any explanation of why she’d replaced the last one and why she was even remotely interested in Sam Witwicky, in order to fit in another thirty-seven inches of legs. I mean, not to complain, but … I came here to laugh and clap my hands like a child as giant robots smash things. Don’t confuse me by sending messages to my grown-up bits.

The … I don’t know, third act is all about the government betraying the good guys and selling them out to big research corporations and doing experiments on them and stuff. Oh yes, the Transformers have been branded as “alien terrorists”, which is a bit heavy-handed but okay. The CIA (Frasier) have teamed up with an alien bounty hunter (actually he was also in Frasier) to hunt Optimus Prime. They come to Wahlberg’s flag farm and the next bit, sticking with the Groening theme, is a bit like this:

And then John Goodman appears as a fat robot. Again.

I grant them extra points for his voice also appearing in Bumblebee’s sampling-speech, “I’m calmer’n you are.” They then lose the points for having a Samurai Transformer who made me giggle in outrage every time he spoke.

They gain points by having the voice of Bender as the sarcastic British-or-something green robot with the metal trenchcoat, and for not having the ghettobots from the earlier movies. But then they lose the points for Drift again. And for having that random Chinese guy in the elevator be a kung fu expert for no reason.

Then there was John Goodman as a robot John Goodman. I’m not sure whether to give points or take them away for that. He had some funny lines so I’ll come out on the “give points” side. Also on the one-liners side were Stanley Tucci saving the day, and James Bachman and KassemG as my new Two Guys I Most Want To Have Working In My Lab When I Have A Lab Some Day.

KassemG, my hero

James Bachman, also my hero

There was so much Goddamn nonsense in this movie, I don’t even know where to start. So I won’t. But it ended with Optimus Prime quite literally doing this:

As the credits rolled I had to shout “WHY DID THEY HAVE SPACESHIPS?

Fucking Hell. What did I just watch?

Hey, the new Dracula movie has Bard the Bowman and Tywin Lannister in it. And it also has a remake of the song Everybody Wants To Rule The World. And if you examine the lyrics, it seems to make perfect sense.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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4 Responses to Transformers: Age of Extinction

  1. dreameling says:

    Man, this was silly silly shit. The first act actually had some promise — sans the constant flags and cliché characterization (although I can totally forgive the latter in a Transformers movie) — and the government stuff was set up in a nicely dark and ominous way, but then… The movie just went fucking bonkers. More so than any of the previous ones. Felt like a loosely connected series of fragments of shit blowing up or people screaming or both. Was there a plot? And then we got the Dinobots. Goddamn.

    Fucking Hell. What did I just watch?


    Worse than Revenge of the Fallen. But pretty!

    • stchucky says:

      And then we got the Dinobots. Goddamn.

      Actually, aside from Stanley Tucci, the Dinobots were a highlight. I was particularly proud of the way the trailers had misled me into thinking they would be enemies, when they were in fact not so much.

      Although as my esteemed friend Mr. Bloom pointed out at the time, telling the Dinobots they were free and then saying “fight for me or die” is sort of a contradiction.

      And where did they go after that? They just wandered off into the suburbs of Hong Kong. Maybe they can crash at Glenn’s place.

      Ohh snap.

      • dreameling says:

        The Dinobots weren’t necessarily bad. They were just… bonkers. And they weren’t even set up in any meaningful way (as far as I could keep up) [1]. They just felt like gratuitous franchise exposure, something thrown in at the last minute to sell more toys. (For the record, as a kid, I never really liked the Dinobots in the G1 animated series. And I loved dinosaurs.) It just felt too much on top of too much. But yeah, I kind just went with it while watching the movie and giggled internally at all the shiny shit exploding or being torn apart.

        [1] Not that stuff usually is in these movies. But still.

        Talking about gratuitous: The Chinese market ass-kissing was so calculated it almost hurt. Oh, man.

        But Tucci was awesome. He should replace Wahlberg as the lead in the next one.

      • stchucky says:

        I just assumed they were MIB-style prisoners in that spaceship (which, incidentally, I could have watched a whole movie of just that ship and the things in it and the bounty hunter collecting them, why didn’t we get to see that movie?), and didn’t need explanation.

        And Dinobots can fuck off, Dinoriders were the shit.

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