When humanity allies with a bounty hunter in pursuit of Optimus Prime, the Autobots turn to a mechanic and his family for help.When humanity allies with a bounty hunter in pursuit of Optimus Prime, the Autobots turn to a mechanic and his family for help.When humanity allies with a bounty hunter in pursuit of Optimus Prime, the Autobots turn to a mechanic and his family for help.
BY RYAN C. SHOWERS
Knowing the reputation of the "Transformers" movie series prior to watching the fourth installment, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," could drown anyone into a disconcerting state, but the film is worse than trailers suggest. Director Michael Bay fails on his fourth attempt to give this alternate universe any justice with the new science fiction epic. "Age of Extinction" continues to boil a putrid franchise that is long overdue for extinction.
Since "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Transformers have been outlawed from Earth, for they are seen as a threat to humanity. A poor mechanic, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), harbors Transformer Optimus Prime in his barn after commiserating with the robot's sympathetic side. Once the government is informed of the active Transformer hidden in Yeager's home, Cade, his daughter, and her boyfriend go on the run, trying to rectify the reputations of the Transformers. Meanwhile, Joshua Joyce, a physicist played by Stanley Tucci, has his agenda for the robots to make "Transformium," a new tool invented for national defense.
Explosions! Talking robots! Kinky, blonde women! All are plot devices surrounding a screenplay that does not know when to shut up. A problem of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is the oversized screenplay by Ehren Kruger. In his career, Kruger has thrived in the suspense genre with successful films like "Scream 3" and "The Ring," but Kruger festers this screenplay with spurts of misplaced humor and trite dialogue that feels as if it were derived from made-for- television family movies.
Specific details of the script aside, the screenplay's basic structure is dismally assembled and the superfluous length plunges it into disarray. The plot is under the misapprehension that it is "changing history" (a direct quote during the film's exposition), and this ambition is why it feels so endless. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and each of those minutes are felt with agony. Most of the substandard character arcs are completed halfway through the picture, yet the film does not acknowledge its lack of story to tell and keeps running with gaudy action sequences until our patience dwindles into purgatory. Between the three story lines (Mark Wahlberg's family, the CIA, and the transformium scientists), the film is so bloated that it would pop like a balloon if plucked with a pin.
Riveting films excuse themselves from the criticism of having longer running-times, but "Transformers: Age of Extinction" loses its audience in the second half with nebulous and confusing storyline shifts. If "Transformers: Age of Extinction" would have been released exclusively on DVD instead of theatrically, it is reasonable to believe the most patient person would withdraw themselves from the film after the two hour mark.
Some big-budgeted action films are indemnified from their vapid screenplays if their technical elements shine with craftsmanship, but "Transformers: Age of Extinction" does not enchant with its cinematography or film editing. Bay ineffectively and needlessly uses low angle shots in most of his narrative exposition scenes before the obstreperous action sequences take the stage. Even the look of the film is unbecoming, for it resembles a tawdry photograph smothered with neon lip gloss. The shots are nauseating by themselves, but then to punish the viewer even further, the film editing is a nightmare and the moment-to-moment timeline is terse and incoherent.
At the year's end, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" should win the superlative for "Movie Most Likely to Cause a Headache and Discomfort." Atrocious from a directing, cinematography, and editing viewpoint and humiliating from a writing standpoint, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" validates the generic prejudgments against science fiction sequels.
ZERO STARS / * * * *
- Jul 4, 2014