Transformers: No More Than Meets The Eye

7/06/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments


Transformers: Age of Extinction takes place 4 years after the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in a world that lives in fear of another alien attack like the one that destroyed Chicago.  Cade Yaeger, a down on his luck mechanic/inventor (played by Mark Wahlberg) discovers an old truck that he plans to repair and sell, but it turns out he's stumbled upon a dormant Optimus Prime.  Suddenly, Cade and his daughter (Nicola Peltz) and friends (Jack Rynor and T.J. Miller) are on the run from a secret government organization (headed by Kelsey Grammar and Stanley Tucci) that is seeking to eliminate all transformers, both Deceptacon and Autobot.

Cade just wants to get his home back and to take care of his daughter, but he is now caught up in something even bigger than he could have imagined, and planetary extinction could hang in the balance.


I'm a week late on this one, but I wanted to cover it because of all the attention it has been getting.  The response has been fairly violent amongst a lot of geeks.  I'm not going to disagree with the majority and argue that this is somehow an amazing movie, but I will say that I have no idea how this movie deserves the hate it is getting.

This movie is pretty shamelessly about fast cars, fighting robots, loud music, and impressive visuals.  I watched most of the trailers and I didn't see much of a promise of some sort of grand story and proper continuity with the other films.  I walked into this film knowing what to expect, and I wasn't let down.  Sure, I had my issues with it, but I feel like I was served exactly what I was advertised.

The writing was definitely weak.  I don't feel like the story demanded better writing, though.  By the time the movie was over, I didn't feel cheated out of a story.  The plot was lacking and the characters were flimsy, sure, but I didn't go to this movie expecting The Godfather.  I also don't go to McDonalds and get mad when it's not at a 5 star restaurant and the maĆ®tre d' doesn't come visit my table to make sure my experience is stellar.  Yes, I just compared Transformers to McDonalds.


So no, it's not the greatest movie ever.  I'd say its par for the course as far as this franchise goes.  My biggest complaints are the fact that the action started to get monotonous and repetitive, so the third act lost some thunder.  The visuals and action are definitely top notch (IMAX 3D almost melted my face off), but Michael Bay sets the bar so high, that the finale doesn't seem to stand out as anything super special.  Anyone that didn't have the patience for Gareth Edwards's patient tease of Godzilla will likely enjoy this style a lot more.

The other complaint is that the franchise as a whole has very little continuity, so when it's being compared to something like Marvel where all the movies tie in and the rules are consistent, it definitely shows to be rather thin.  Marvel is planting and harvesting seeds for plot points over a multi movie arc, but the transformers movies are all (mostly) self contained and inconsistent between films.  Characters gain and lose abilities based on convenience of plot and historical details of characters (like Optimus Prime) will become central plot poins in one movie, yet were never mentioned in previous installments (when they would have been totally relevant).

So in the end, if you want a good excuse to go see some mindless explosions, fast cars, and big spectacle cinema without having to do homework about the state of the franchise, or take notes to follow complex plot points... Transformers will be the perfect summer movie for you.  If you want something with some more brains, maybe a little more heart, check out X-Men: DoFP, Edge of Tomorrow, or wait for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes next weekend.

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