A film review by Craig J. Koban July 18, 2014



2014, PG-13, 165 mins.


Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager  /  Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager  /  Stanley Tucci as Joshua  /  Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger  /  Jack Reynor as Shane  /  Sophia Myles as Darcy  /  Li Bingbing as Su Yueming  /  Titus Welliver as Savoy

Directed by Michael Bay  /  Written by Ehren Kruger


I began my review of 2011’s TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – the third film in the series that I prayed to the movie gods would end with it – as follows: 

“Director Michael Bay has indicated to the press that this entry is meant to be an apology of sorts for TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN.  If this is his idea of a heartfelt apology, all I can say is this: Bay is either mind fucking us or is so self-absorbed and indulgent as a filmmaker that he has no objective foresight to acknowledge good from bad.” 

I’m not sure what I could possibly write beyond those words to describe the experience of enduring the newest film in the franchise (an apparent reboot that acknowledges the previous films…so…a sequel), titled TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.  Yes, there are attempts to inject the series with new characters.  Yes, gone are the annoying ones that plagued the previous three entries.  Yes, the makers here are self-admittedly trying to take the series in a “new” direction.  

And, yes, by “new direction” they essentially mean “same shit, different day.” 

If you – like me – found the first three TRANSFORMERS films to be monotonously unwatchable nonsense that bludgeoned viewers into becoming whimpering, self-loathing buffoons in the process, then nothing – not a thing – in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION will radically change your mind about the series.  The biggest sins of the film are not just that it’s awful and nihilistically disrespectful to the core tastes of a modern movie audience, but that it’s also long and boring.  The film clocks in at nearly three hours, which is too long for just about any film based on a toy line.  It’s tortuously long time to suffer through mindless excess. 

So, what I will leave you with is this: Imagine – yet again – what a conversation between Executive Producer Steven Spielberg and director Michael Bay would have been like in prepping this unmitigated piece of junk.  



Bay:  S-Spiel.  My main man.  Guess what I’m doing next? 

Spielberg:  Please don’t call me that…and please don’t tell me it’s yet another TRANSFORMERS film…for the love of…. 

Bay: DING, DING, DING!  Ladies and gentleman...we have a winner!  Yes!  I’m making another one of these flicks, and I want you as my producer wingman again, S-Spiel!

Spielberg: I don’t really have any interest to have my good name associated with this series anymore, especially on an artistic level. 

Bay: Stevie, this franchise has made nearly $3 billion in ticket sales and has padded your coffers rather handsomely, sir. 

Spielberg: Sigh.  Yeah.  Okay.  Good point.  All right, then.  Pitch me. 

Bay: YEEEEESSSSS!  Okay, so I wanna reboot this sucker, but still make it a sequel to the events of the last film. 

Spielberg: Ummmmkay…but isn’t that…just…a sequel...then? 

Bay:  Nah.  I gutted all the cast of the first three films.  This one will have all new human characters.  Bye-bye, Shia LaBeouf.  Bye-bye Megan Fox. 

Spielberg:  Uh-huh.  Interesting.  Go on. 

Bay: So, I’m gonna start this sucker six million years in the past. 

Spielberg: What?! 

Bay: Yeah, six million years ago…during which time a robotic race will come to Earth, plant their “seeds” and essentially wipe out all life on the planet.  So, ya see…they killed the dinosaurs. 

Spielberg:  How very…odd. 

Bay:  Yeah.  Awesome, I know.  Then we flash forward to the present day.  The government is really pissed about the alien war that reduced Chicago to smithereens in the last film, so they get a CIA man to engage in a black ops mission to rid the world of the Autobots. 

Spielberg:  Wait.  I’m confused.  Aren’t the Autobots the good guys, led by Optimus Prime?  I thought they saved humanity and vowed to do so in the last film? 

Bay: Well, if alien robots laid your town to waste, would you be a happy camper, Stevie. 

Spielberg: Good point.  Go on. 

Bay: So, the CIA guy…we’ll get the dude from TV’s FRASER to play him…he needs work…is systematically hunting down the Autobots.  Meanwhile, there’s gonna be this robotics engineer in Texas that’s struggling to keep his home from being foreclosed on.  He’ll be played by Marky Mark. 

Spielberg: You mean Mark Wahlberg. 

Bay: Yeah…Marky Mark.  Anyhoo’, Marky Mark is also gonna have this hot babe of a 17-year-old daughter that he desperately wants to protect throughout the film. 

Spielberg: Mike…can we please try to avoid any tawdry sensationalizing of the female form in this film…especially if the girl is a minor.  I mean… 

Bay: Oh my gawd, Stevie.  I’m getting excited just thinking about it.  I’m gonna have her look like a runway model, replete with shorts so short and cleavage so pronounced it’ll leave my peeps drooling for more. 

Spielberg: This…all…sounds…really unsavory… 

Bay: I envision a shot of her that literally has the camera shooting up her rear end.  It’ll be majestic. 

Spielberg: I’m not really comfortable with this at all, plus… 

Bay: Wait, you’re getting ahead of yourself, Stevie.  So, Optimus Prime is actually hiding out in Marky Mark’s barn…trying to avoid Fraser’s CIA goon squad…and a vile Decepticon named Lockdown that wants to wipe out Optimus and the Autobots. 

Spielberg: Er…wait…how does Optimus Prime hide from Mark Wahlberg…in a barn? 

Bay: DUUUUUH!  He transforms into an old truck to hide.  Gee, you’re getting slow in your old age, Stevie.  Anyhoo’, Marky Mark fixes up Optimus, and the two of them – plus that hot piece of tail of a daughter – hook back up with the remaining Autobots.  We’re gonna have a fat one with a beard and cigar played by John Goodman.  Seems fitting, eh? 

Spielberg: Why would an alien robot have a beard, smoke a cigar, and be…fat? 

Bay: I know…I know…it’ll be sensational!!!  So, all of them will be trying to evade Fraser’s men and Lockdown.  But…wait for it…then there’s this scientist that has discovered a way to hack into transformers’ brains and put them into human made transformers.  He also creates his own shape-shifting metal called “transformium” that will allow people to control their own trannies!  How cool as shit is dat!? 

Spielberg: Transformium...?  And...whose brain do they suck out? 

Bay: Megatron’s brain.

Spielberg:  I thought he was destroyed in the last film? 

Bay: His head survived…brain intact…DUUUUH!   

Spielberg: Okay.  Good point. 

Bay: Now, all of this is going to culminate in a big orgy of action madness in China…we’ve already kicked the living shit out of American cities in past films…so I figured… 

Spielberg: Why…China? 

Bay: My films are huuuuuuge overseas.  Plus…I’m gonna get Chinese financiers to fund this film.

Spielberg: Um…okay.  But one thing, though…can we keep the running time down to a minimum this time and try to have some semblance of editorial flow to the action scenes? 

Bay: Stevie…Stevie...Stevie...it’s ME, man!  When have I ever been know for directorial restraint?   

Spielberg: Good point. 

Bay: I’m gonna make this sucker long…and I mean LOOOOOONG.  I wanna punish my peeps into submission.  I want them to feel the exhaustion of the characters.  It’s gonna be nearly three hours. 

Spielberg: WHAT??!! 

Bay:  Okay…okay…a bit excessive…I’ll concede that.  How’s 2 hours and 46 minutes sound? 

Spielberg: Not really any better…plus… 

Bay: Plus…PLUS…I’m going to utterly assault the senses of audience members this time.  I’m gonna blow shit up like you’ve never seen before.  I’m gonna throw in nonsensical dialogue that will make my peeps groan like they’ve never groaned before.  I’m gonna throw in more titillating shots of that sweaty hot babe of a teenage girl – screaming for a man to save her – like it’s never gonna go outta style.  I’m gonna have Marky Mark shoot alien weapons.  I’m gonna level China.  I’m gonna throw in as many gratuitous product placement ads in as possible…maybe they’ll be in slow-mo during the explosions.  Jesus…I’m even gonna throw in transformers that are freakin’ dinosaurs… 

Spielberg: This all sounds so...idiotically excessive, Mike.  Plus, that part with the dino-robots hits me close to home… 

Bay: Ha!  Knew you’d love it!   

Spielberg: Do you have the script? Can I take a look at it? 

Bay: Sure.  Here ya go! 

Spielberg: Hmmmm…I just noticed a line of dialogue here where a character tells another “You keep spending money on junk to make different junk.”  Wow.  That’s soooooo bloody spot on it’s frightening. 

Bay: Ha!  You’re such a kidder, Stevie.  You really are.  So, you on board…or what? 

Spielberg: Sigh.  Okay.  Yup.  You got it.  But please – for the love of god – will this be the last one of these…ever?  Please say "yes." 

Bay: Stevie, you’re a comic dynamo.  You are.  Don’t be foolish.  This reboot is just film one of a new trilogy, my man!!! 

Spielberg: Dear.  Lord.  In.  Heaven. 

Bay: Stevie, not even God could have dreamed this up. 

Spielberg: Good point.  He’s merciful.  



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