Dinosaurs! Spaceships! Explosions!Giant Transforming Robots! Explosions! Car Chases! Explosions! Alien Guns! Explosions! Car Chases! Explosions! Giant Robot Dinosaurs! Giant Robot Dinosaurs That Breathe Fire!
Michael Bay probably will never win an Academy Award for directing, but he sure knows all the elements for a summer movie.
If only he could make good ones.
I mean, all of the above listed elements are on display in “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the fourth in the movie series based on Hasbro toys. But, as always with “Transformers” movies, these delicious ingredients are fouled by other elements that Bay seems to love but that really sour the outcome.
Things like lame humor piled on with a shovel. Things like human characters caught up in the most boring and cliché storylines imaginable. Things like a plot that is pretty much incomprehensible.
Despite three previous disappointments, I had some hope for this new installment. Gone were all the bad human characters from before (I was going to call them “cartoonish” but that would be an insult to cartoons). Instead we have Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci — all actors with decent resumes.
But no matter how good an actor you are, once you enter the world of “Transformers” not all of your skills can save you.
Wahlberg plays a Texas robotics inventor who works out of his barn and whose greatest achievement appears to be a robot dog. He lives with his beautiful teenage daughter (Nicola Peltz) whom he forbids to go out and have any fun. She of course is secretly dating a hunk (Jack Reynor) who is an expert driver — a good skill to have since the trio are about to spend a lot of time in car chases.
Grammer plays an evil government official who wants to destroy all Transformers. To do so he’s enlisted the aid of a Transformer bounty hunter. Why does Grammer’s character hate the Autobots? They only saved the planet three times in recent memory. And how did he find this bounty hunter?
Tucci plays an industrialist who is building his own Transformers based on the information obtained from dissecting the head of Decepticon leader Megatron. Obviously nothing bad can come of that.
The actors struggle as best they can with this insipid script. It all comes to a head in a big city (for mass destruction appeal) with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) leading his small team into battle against the faux-Transformers and the bounty hunter’s giant magnet. Finally, out of nowhere like those ghost soldiers from “Return of the King,” Optimus calls on the Dinobots who come crashing and smashing to the rescue.
Did that make any sense? I admit to struggling to stay awake when the annoying little robot was dishing out all the exposition and I haven’t even mentioned “Transformium” and a mystery “seed” that Optimus flies off into space with.
It’s just a mess.
But them special effects is fantastic. As usual Bay delivers on that front. There are some amazing images and action sequences.
Why must it all be in the service of such utter crap?