"Transformers: Age of Extinction" Movie Review: 1 1/2 Stars
by Christopher Borrelli
"Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth installment of
It is scattered, weightless, impossible to get hold of, and somehow, after seven years and more than 10 hours of screen time, I could not tell you what these films are about. Explosions? Real estate? Let's say: "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is 165 minutes, 11 minutes longer than the next longest installment ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon"), 10 minutes shorter than that piece of trash "The Godfather."
Even more so than skyscrapers losing sheets of windows, and a pounding cacophonous insistence that doesn't even make the "Transformers" series all that fun to hate -- really, no one is a bigger supporter of gigantic robots than myself -- time seems to be the defining characteristic here. For several reasons: These films, particularly "Age of Extinction," manage to come off as rushed, long and empty, all at once. Also, Bay's franchise, which can be fascinatingly contradictory, jingoistic and paranoid, xenophobic and worldly, has the air of a time capsule, of our frenetic, eager, air-kissy, confused techno-ubiquitous age. But even more so, the "Transformers" films are about reminding you that time, which stops while you are in a theater watching one, is relative, and whether you follow along or not, there will be more Transformers movies coming.
Oh, yes. Forever.
Transformers will bury us.
It's no spoiler to point out, for instance, that this chapter ends with
But also kind of sweet, one of a few moments when you feel
Because Bay, not so unlike
Except, oh, there's a bad robot who collects Transformers and wants, no kidding, to spread his "seed" around, which I think means extinction, or in the hands of Bay, could be very different. I really don't know.
Also, demolition: Lots of it.
Anyway, if you've seen a "Transformers" film, you know this one: Intended to relaunch the series with a new star and revitalized purpose -- the shadowy FBI storyline, apparently -- Bay is the real star again: As in his older blockbusters ("Armageddon," the "Bad Boys" franchise), one's eyes never get a moment to relax. Sunsets grow oppressive. I'm reminded of video games with similar visuals minus the visceral rush. ("Titanfall" for Xbox, one of 2014's best games, stars big robots, and is as graceful as "Extinction" is dull.)
None of which should surprise, of course.
What's disappointing is the lack of confidence.
It's Bay's world -- every professional female is British, every building could be every other building -- but he's uneasy, never relaxed enough to own the film's ridiculousness. Instead, characters quip: "You keep spending money on junk to make different junk," and "Out of ammo, out of ideas." And an air of self-hatred, or disinterest, settles in. Even as the loud maw of the film itself reduces even the most astonishing visuals to wallpaper, these characters talk so often about robot soul that "Transformers: Age of Extinction" commits the worse crime imaginable: It's totally boring.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo)
Running time: 2:35.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" Movie Trailer
As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control - all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his cross-hairs.
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'Transformers: Age of Extinction' Movie Review & Movie Trailer