UK Release: July 10th 2014 (previews: 5th to 9th)
After making a $billion last time around on the worldwide box-office Michael Bay is back with his ‘’rebooted’’ ‘Transformers’ franchise (based on the Hasbro action figures, and in-turn seems to be dominating mainstream cinema as well, see ‘Ouija’), with ‘TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION’. In this fourth instalment (which has a running time of nearly three hours), Bay promised a ‘’rebooted’’, however his form of rebooting is just recasting actors into the same roles which populated the original trilogy.
Out goes Shia Labeouf, in comes Jack Reynor (Bay liked him in ‘What Richard Did’ according to the casting press notes, yes Bay watch’s independent Irish cinema), along with Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci’s Steve Job’s like megalomaniac, Nicola Peltz 19 year old Hermione like sexbot, annoying sidekick played by the cameraman in ‘Cloverfield’ and most importantly the stereotypes of the robot themselves, including the Sergeant which John Goodman voices and a Chinese/Samurai robot as well.
Ethan Kruger, Bay’s regular writer on this film has created a story which isn’t too dissimilar to what has come before it. It is still as daft, basically Tucci’s character is wanting to control the formula of what makes the Transformers shift-shape, ‘Transmorphian’ as it is called. Strangely though you get a sense of personality with this film though which the previous three lacked. Now before you get excited by me saying that, allow me to explain. It clear Bay has basically said ‘’F*ck you’’ to his critics. He has made the film longer; he has placed weird sex laws, which in this country would be seen as rape. Nicola Peltz, (the female lead), when shooting this film would have been 17 still, which in this country is seen as underage, so when middle-aged Bay is shooting this film and leering either at her low cut top she is wearing or very short shorts, you feel uncomfortable. He also has placed product placement in the film left right and centre, jokes about them as well (in the expense of toy companies) and most impressively (too add the cherry on the top), joke about how cinema is full of sequel and reboots these days, and that its killing cinema.
If your still following me with this review, then perhaps you might stand a chance at watching all this on a screen. Why to me, all this strangely makes sense with it being Michael Bay, and him clearly to rapping it up to 11, to respond to the critics that he is untouchable, and they cant take away his success with this franchise, may biggest issue comes from the following. Considering the amount of hype going into this film, and Bay wanting to create something ‘’Bad-ass’’ and ‘’Memorable’’, the Dinobots are actually only in the film for three minutes towards the end, and it not clearly explained. Granted it get a ‘Prometheus’ style intro in the beginning. That the most screen-chewing thing on screen is Titus Weaver as the trench coat Government agent chasing after the heroes. Other issues I have is fact Jack Reynor doesn’t get anything good to do, other then got on about sleeping with Mark Wahlberg’s daughter, and looking like a second rate Colin McRae, driving rally cars and such. It also places the action in China towards the end to please the guys over at DMG Entertainment who co-funded this picture. It is also far too impressionable for its own good – the idea that the antagonist holds a young girl (who at the time was 17) with a gun and tells her dad he is going to do something impressionable on her doesn’t sit well for me.
On a whole it is what is expecting and so much more. A film which is personal, but for all the wrong reasons. For further reading here is a interesting article about how females are represented (http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/how-to-tell-youre-a-woman-in-a-michael-bay-film.html) and for added trivia the relationship between 80’s singer Stan Bush and Mark Wahlberg (http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/transformers-song-history-the-touch-stan-bush-mark-wahlberg-boogie-nights.html).