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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Michael Bay! BOOM! Explosions! Michael Boom! Bay ‘Splosions! BOOM! Michael Bay! BOOM! Explosions!

Look, I am sure that Michael Bay has his fans. But this guy is, at best, a second unit special effects director. I finally got to see Transformers: Age of Extinction and this will be the last Michael Bay Transformers movie I ever see. Four of these things are enough.

Actually, the first Transformers movie was excellent. The action was awesome and the story was fantastic. But after that, they just kept turning into orgies of ‘splosions! BOOM! Michael Bay! Explosions! Michael Bay is simply the worst director working today and, when given a chance to prove it, he leaves no doubt.

Once again, we are treated to a litany of Transformers that we are never formally introduced to. The thing I absolutely hate about these movies is that, unless you are a Transformers fanatic and know every detail about every part of the canon, then you are lost 15 minutes into every movie. We get new Autobots and only learn the names of a couple of them. We get a big, nasty bad guy robot and we are never told who he is! That doesn’t even include the 50 or more Decepticons we get without any kind of name or story at all.

Michael Bay simply does not know how to tell a story. He has no clue how to develop characters and no idea how to feed a story line. All Michael Bay knows how to do is blow stuff up. That’s it. If you like stuff blowing up (and who doesn’t?), then you will love this movie… for a little while. But at two hours and 30 minutes, even blowing stuff up cannot save this movie.

I grew up reading Transformers comics and watching the cartoons and I still have no idea who half the Transformers were in this movie. The new wave of Transformers looks more like T-X’s from Terminator 3 than Transformers. This is just a horribly told story that relies on cheap special effects and ‘splosions! BOOM! Michael Bay! to get through to the end.

The human characters are shallow and predictable. I have to admit that I cannot stand Mark Wahlberg as an actor. I am sure he has his fans, which is why he keeps getting work, but he just doesn’t convince me of anything when he is in a movie. That being said, Wahlberg is pretty good in this movie, but his character is predictable and boring.

The only human character worth watching is Joshua Joyce, who was played by Stanley Tucci. Joyce starts out as the bad guy no one can stand, but we see the circumstances that turn him into a nice guy and we feel that he actually does want to be liked. This character is a gem crammed into a 150 minute turd. At points, the only reason to watch this movie was to see what Joyce would say next. He was funny, interesting, and his representation by Tucci was done extremely well.

It takes a lot to screw up a movie that features Optimus Prime, but Michael Bay manages to do that. If it weren’t for Bumblebee, I would have cared less about any of the Autobots. Apparently, John Goodman voices an Autobot named Hound. That Autobot is interesting and funny. The unmistakable voice of Ken Watanabe voices an interesting samurai Autobot who we are never formally introduced to at any point in the movie. He is just one of those Michael Bay “Here. Here’s an Autobot. You know who this one is, right?” situations.

Fans of the Transformers series will love this movie. Honestly, if there was as much kaiju action in Godzilla as there was Transformer action in this movie, then Godzilla would still be the number one movie in the world. But if you know little to nothing about the Transformers, then this movie will only prove to bore and frustrate you.

My wife fell asleep twice during this movie and, if we weren’t at the drive-in, I was considering leaving while she was sleeping. Look, I love explosions as much as the next guy, but I need a storyline to keep me going. There is a weak storyline here that is never developed. The movie is great eye candy for a little while, but it just keeps dragging on and even makes Optimus Prime boring. Making Prime boring is about the only difficult thing this movie accomplished.

Any movie with Optimus Prime automatically gets two stars. If it weren’t for Prime, this movie would have been my first zero.

Rating: 2 out of 5

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and movie fanatic. He spends his summer weekends at the Sunset Drive-in and you should too.

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