I Saw the Fourth Movie

Ho-hum. Anyone who's read this site for any length of time is aware that I have no love for the Bayformer movies. As is now our tradition, Dollface and I sallied forth to the theater, armed ourselves with beer and snacks, and dug in for yet another installment. I went also armed with the foreknowledge that Age of Extinction was garnering the lowest rating yet in the series on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic — which, considering how poorly reviewed the previous three installments were, is almost a feat in itself. But perhaps my greatest dread was watching my most-disliked actor, "Marky" Mark Wahlberg, for over 150 minutes.

So what did I think? Spoilers ahead ...

Honestly, I'd have to say that more than anything I was bored. There was barely anything interesting about what was going on. I knew the core characters were never in any real jeopardy — hell, they barely got dirty. I had no investment in any of the Autobots, they were just hollow tin men (the gruff sergeant, the wildly stereotypical samurai, the Aussie hothead, etc). Stanley Tucci had the best dialogue in the film and his character had a little bit of depth, but not enough to carry things. It's always nice seeing Kelsey Grammar play a bad-ass, but his role had little meat. In general, the movie was just an excuse to go from one pointless action scene to another. I was bored.

And what was with the Dinobots? When the movie started and the archeologists found those metallic dinosaur fossils, I assumed that this would somehow relate to our favorite dinosaurian Transformers. But apparently the Cybertronian terraforming that was enough to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs, but not enough to leave any other fossil record trace had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the "legendary warriors" that Prime awakens (out of narrative thin air) turned into dinosaurs themselves. It was just a remarkable coincidence, apparently.

At least, through Galvatron and the other human-created bad-guy robots, they finally owned up to the whole sad truth that the movie Transformers are really "transmorphers" instead of "transformers", a point that had always bothered me. I mean, if you can morph your exterior and alt mode at will, why not just change into anything you want at any time?

Perhaps this is why, at the end of the film, the only moment of true comedy arrives when Optimus Prime, aping Superman, takes off up up and away into outer space under his own power. I guess he was saving this ability to fly (into space!) through four films until it was absolutely necessary (or something).

Isn't it interesting how so long as the girl's father keeps remarking how inappropriate his young daughter's scant attire is, we can just throw up our hands, say "Kids! What can you do?" and keep ogling her ass? I know, I know, this movie is aimed at young boys, but...

Eh, fuck it. After four Bayformer films, I'm just bored. Bored with disliking them, bored with critiquing them. Like the three before it, I can say I've watched the fourth film once, am familiar with it, and can leave it at that.

Instead I'll cherish the current More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise comics, which are superb (especially the former). I'll enjoy my Masterpiece toys. I'll even re-watch some of the original cartoons, shake my head at their silliness, and think "How far The Transformers have come in 30 years!" Well.... except the Bayformers. They're as nonsensical as the original cartoons ever were.

All good points. Just testament to Bay's indifference to the legacy of this franchise. That said, when I saw this it totally cheered me up!
» Posted 7.07.2014 21:50:06 by Ryan
Yeah.. Bay certainly did wait FOUR MOVIES to show Optimus Prime can FLY...IN SPACE EVEN...

More tiring than any Bayverse theme is those who still complain about it after 7 years! If you can't sit through these movies and just be entertained.. ya need to let your hair down some. They're fun, exciting, cool.. they look good. That's all they're meant to be. We all love G1.. I grew up with it, it's still the foundation of what I love most about TFs.. and while this stuff isn't G1, it's just fine--as it is-- on it's own. Just like RID, Energon, Cybertron etc none of them are G1-- but they were what they were, and fans had to just accept that. Sure some of the story doesn't add up--but it didn't have to for the kind of movie it is. It's not here to win any awards for writing or story.. it's action, it's effect, it's comedy. Just enjoy it man.. or, don't put yourself through it knowing you won't ever let yourself enjoy it.
» Posted 7.08.2014 8:19:21 by Todd
Agree with all of Botch said. I was really bored too. Kept checking my watch to see how long was left, and kept being disappointed by how long my watch said there was! And even as the end approached (according to my watch) I started to doubt the truth of it, since the dinobots had not yet shown up, and having seen the trailers I knew we'd have to go through a whole Prime vs Grimlock fight before they reconciled, and got back to the main plot.

I also take Todd's point that the action was certainly thrilling, and expansive, but it really wasn't anything we had not already seen in the previous three. And it was long, ever been on a roller-coaster that is maybe just a bit too long for its own good? This was similar.

My main gripe, is that at this point, in the eyes of Paramount, Bay and Transformers are seemingly a sure-fire, critic-proof financial gravy train, and there is zero pressure to move the franchise over to someone else. Which is a pity, because I think these films prove that the franchise is safe, safe enough to try a new direction surely? Not that they would take it now, but imagine what the likes of Whedon, Abrams, the Russo brothers etc could have done with the franchise.
» Posted 7.08.2014 9:43:35 by drmick
And *I'm* tired of fans of these movies painting us detractors as incapable of enjoying a "fun" movie and/or only being interested in a movie that is "G1 or bust". It's a strawman argument.

I like fun movies! But I think interesting, original plots are fun! I think believable, well-rounded characters are fun! I think unpredictability is fun! I think giant robots fighting is fun, but without all those other things, it's just porn. That's what these movies are: CGI porn, explosion porn. They could be *so* much better.

It's not like it's one way or another. Look at the Marvel movies! They're interesting, original, charismatic, unpredictable, and fun! They're not perfect, but they're leaps and bounds better than any Michael Bay movie.

Nor do I want the live-action movies to be nothing more than G1-made-real. The franchise has had 30 years to grow past the simple cartoons of the 80s. I'm not a fan of the movie designs, but I could get past that if the films had good stories and good characters.

So in summary, Todd, these movies are not fun, exciting or cool if, like me, you're not one to leave your thinking cap at the theater entrance. I look forward to a time when CGI is so inexpensive and these visuals are so commonplace that audiences demand a better story and better characters.
» Posted 7.08.2014 10:17:07 by Botch the Crab - WEBMASTER
Optimus Prime and the big G now have something in common: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94mg71wMZaI
» Posted 7.08.2014 10:36:25 by Marco
"Sure some of the story doesn't add up--but it didn't have to for the kind of movie it is. It's not here to win any awards for writing or story." And this sentiment is exactly what is driving shitty, hollow movies in Hollywood to be made time and time again. So what that it's an action movie? Shouldn't our standards be higher than "stories that don't add up" or groan-worthy writing? I think the latest superhero action movies have shown that summer popcorn flicks can not only deliver action and cool cgi, but also rich characters, clever writing, and a coherent story. We shouldn't have to lower our standards because if we do, these types of movie makers will continue to underestimate us.
» Posted 7.08.2014 11:19:37 by Doll
Thank you, Botch, for your defense against the argument that those of us who don't care for Bay's interpretation of the Transformers are either 1) incapable of having fun, or 2) G1-only fans. You said it better than I could hope to.
» Posted 7.09.2014 17:58:49 by Mark Baker-Wright
First hour was great, but poor/lazy script, and overly long action sequences, killed the rest of the movie for me. Still, the high production values and sheer quality of the animation are beautiful to behold. So I'll be happy to buy the Blu ray upon it's release.

And let's always remember... these are movies based on kids toys from the 80's.

» Posted 7.12.2014 8:41:25 by Deckard
I hate that argument "they're movies based on kids toys from the 80's". While technically that is true (even though the comics came first), this kind of sentiment just apologizes for the embarrassing movies Bay is pumping out.

This franchise is one of the biggest and deserves more. All I want is a Transformers movie made with the skill, talent, and care as something like The Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, or the Star Trek reboot.

Those movies show that you can have nuanced characters, appropriate comedy, and respect for the material, instead of stereotypes, meaningless characters, and weightless drama.
» Posted 7.14.2014 14:44:06 by Omegared
"Aussie hothead"? I'm an Australian and I never saw any Aussie hotheads in it. By process of elimination, I can only assume you meant Crosshairs who clearly spoke with a British accent.
» Posted 8.13.2014 20:59:00 by Nick
Spoiler Alert: Bay had Optimus Prime kill a human. Nah, this antithesis of the character. Probably why Star Wars fans get pissed with the reedit where Han Solo doesn't shoot first; Don't tamper with the core of the character; it ruins the story! Perhaps Mel Gibson will make a movie where Jesus carried a machete and rips the face off of Pontius Pilate.
» Posted 8.17.2014 11:53:03 by MJRJ13
I can't believe you paid to go and see them ;) i saw the first one at the pictures and watched the others when someone else had bought the DVD. I'm not giving them any more of my money.

Sadly, TF, star trek reboot, the star wars prequels (and the new ones) as well as the shield tv series are uncritisisable in most peoples eyes. Any criticism is met with "haters gotta hate" (officially the dumbest thing ever said by humans) and exhortations to not compare them to the old ones or their contemporaries. Take the last star trek film, "you can't compare it to the wrath of khan" was the cry. I'd loved to have been able to avoid the comparison, but being as they ripped off huge chunks of it, it was kinda difficult.

Loud shouty explosions are fine in a film, nonsense is fine in a film, bad acting in some cases is fine in a film. a dull, nonsensical plot with pretensions at something greater, isn't. Acting so bad it makes you quake for the future of thespianism - see Stanley Tucci's "oh my gaaaaaard". Also Mark Wahlburg. Using images from and invoking G1 then saying this film "ain't about your G1" bots, Prime at the beginning of the film being in his G1 truck form rather than the film version, a form he'd never taken. Awful production values-see the robot design generally. Things which make no sense whatsoever- Prime's cab is full of shell casings rather than the bullets that actually fly through the air and kill things. And that's just a few things fom the trailer.

Compare it to Pacific Rim, ridiculous story, not the finest acting ever witnessed, but it looked good and was fun and well paced. Also Idris Elba. I can forgive it for the magic sword they forgot about, then once they'd used it, forgot about again as I can forgive every film for one bit of madness.

Sorry if that's ranty and if you want to moderate the hell out of this I understand, but I find the Todd's of this world tiresome and their low expectations, depressing :( not every film has to be Shindler's list serious or 100% accurate like 300 is ;) but they shouldn't leave you feeling we're doomed as a culture.
» Posted 11.15.2014 4:37:05 by Glyn
Replies are closed for this post.