Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Optimus and Galvatron start duking it out, giving us another taste of the Autobot leader's legendary wisdom: “YOU DIE!”. Oh Optimus, you so crazy... and homicidal. Shit starts getting real when Lockdown's ship MAGICALLY APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE and fires rockets into Optimus. Seriously, that ship HAS to have teleportation abilities because I question how no one would have noticed a thing that big landing nearby. Lockdown emerges as slow motiony as his frame will allow, upping the slow motion shots in this movie to probably DOUBLE the entire original trilogy. He takes out Optimus with a volley of cannon blasts, announcing he has been sent by Optimus' creators to return him to where he was created. His... creators? But I thought the AllSpark- on second thought, I'll just let this play out because I KNOW there's more coming.

Lockdown deploys a giant net to not only catch Optimus, but the car he's resting his head on. This is important because Tessa is hiding in the car despite having multiple chances to leave. She's not the brightest explosion in the Michael Bay pyrotechnics pack, is she? Lockdown hauls them into his ship and takes off, leaving us to wonder how the net got underneath Optimus and the car to scoop them up? Why the hell wouldn't Lockdown's ship have a freaking tractor beam anyway?!


Aboard Lockdown's ship, he reveals this actually used to be Optimus' ship that he and his fellow “Knights” explored the universe in. The creators want all of these “Knights” killed to reset everything and start all over again, I really don't know. This entire thing is starting to feel like one giant retcon because I could have SWORN in a previous movie Optimus was part of a group called THE PRIMES that traveled the galaxy. Again, I'm SURE they'll explain all this so it makes sense ha ha ha.

Savoy lands a helicopter on Lockdown's ship to get the Seed from him, the bounty hunter shockingly keeping his end of the bargain and not killing the humans. The Seed is revealed one of the metal making bombs, which I'm thankful for because I was afraid it was going to be ANOTHER ancient artifact just to muck things up that much more.  The rest of the Autobots arrive outside the ship, making me wonder what the Ethnic Stereotype-bots were doing while all of this was going on because they VANISHED the second the fake Transformers showed up.

The humans tag along too, Shane making sure he'll do down as one of the most hated characters in all of sci-fi by continuing to rub his sexual relationship with Tessa in Cade's face. I don't think I've EVER wanted to see someone die as violently and graphically as I do Shane. Everyone manages to sneak onto the ship as it prepares to take off for outer space, British-bot activating a series of anchor cables into the nearby buildings to make sure it doesn't. This alerts Lockdown to the invaders' presence, deploying his guards and robodogs to hunt them down.

This leads to all kinds of boring “action” that easily could have been edited out, long story short Cade and Shane rescue Tessa thanks to some badass sword-gun things they stumble across. Actually Cade rescues her while Shane tries to surrender to the robots, but of course he takes all the credit when his girlfriend is saved. Ha hah that is so fun- I FUCKING HATE THIS MOVIE.

Next up are the Stereotype-bots finding Optimus, topped off by a heroic scene where the Redneck Bot kills a defenseless alien creature inside a cage because it spit goo on him. I really can't blame him for this, as his bloodthirsty leader has set the tone for what passes for an Autobot in this series. Optimus barks out how the ship can detach into a separate ship because OF COURSE IT CAN. This film is unbelievably lazy, even for Michael Bay.

Meanwhile the humans are crossing the anchor cables to try to escape the ship, but Tessa the Useless gets too scared so starts heading back to the ship. How PATHETIC are you as a character where you actually make Megan Fox's Mikaela look PROGRESSIVE?! Hell, freaking Carly from the third movie had more of a backbone than this woman. The robodogs start chewing through the cables in an attempt to (hopefully) kill them, but Bumblebee saves them in the nick of time. Yawn. Where did these idiots even think they were going to escape TO? The cables are embedded in the sides of skyscrapers, which aren't exactly known for their easy to open from the outside windows. But hey, it LOOKED cool right?

British-bot picks them up on a flying shuttle and kicks off a chase scene that is ALSO boring as hell. They end up crashing into a perfectly positioned Bud Light truck, Bay finally slowing down the film's breakneck pace to lovingly pan his camera across all the spilled bottles which JUST HAPPENED to land label side up. I wish Bay would afford this kind of detail for, y'know, the STARS OF THIS THING. This scene is topped off with Cade drinking one of the beers, getting super badass, and single handedly killing Galvatron with his bare hands.

With the anchors gone, Lockdown blasts off into space. Joke's on him though, as Optimus and Redneck-bot managed to deploy the other section of the ship, remaining behind. You really think his sensors would have told him that or something. Joyce, worried that the FBI is going to be swarming his company any minute now, calls Attinger and tells him they're moving the whole operation to box office friendly China.

About damn time Bay jumps on this China Ass Kissing Bandwagon, think of all the money he left on the table the previous three films by not filming most of it there. How effective was this sucking up? Let's see... this movie grossed $245 million dollars domestically versus $301 million in China. WOW, get used to this folks because this shit isn't going away ANY time soon.

Our heroes now reunited, Optimus tells Cade he sensed Megatron's spirit in Galvatron. Brains confirms all this, as he knew Megatron was still alive and manipulating KSI into getting the Seed. So what is the Seed then? An alien device that CYBER-FORMS planets, turning organic life into the metal material needed to make Transformers. That's what the aliens at the start of this thing were doing, destroying all life on Earth to build new Transformers or Knights or whatever the hell they're calling them.

Passing up WHY the aliens needed to create a race of robots, let's instead focus on the fact Optimus KNEW about all of this, which violently conflicts with EVERYTHING from the past three movies regarding his knowledge of Earth. I know I know, pointing out story inconsistencies in Transformers is like complaining about water being wet, but COME ON... can you at least TRY to make this a cohesive story? It's giant fucking robots killing each other, how does one screw it up THIS bad?

Brains goes on to say this is MegaGalvatron's master plan, to detonate the Seed in a big city to build himself a new race of followers. You know, EXACTLY LIKE HE WANTED TO IN THE FIRST MOVIE. Holy shit, this is jaw dropping the level of “We Don't Give A Fuckitude” going on here! This is the part where I actually got interested in this movie again, just to see how much lazier they could get.

Jump to China, where Joyce arrives and plans to detonate the Seed in the middle of the uninhabited Mongolian Desert, which will create enough Transformium to last the next century. Oh, so they don't need life to create Transformium? Optimus just said organic life was required, unless plants count. Are there that many lizards and cacti in the Mongolian Desert to create a century's worth of Transformium?

Right on cue, here's the patented Michael Bay brain pains. How did this whole Lockdown/Attinger/Joyce partnership come about anyway? I know I already asked why Lockdown is working with them, but seriously WHY IS HE WORKING WITH THEM? How did the Seed come into play? There is no way the humans could have known about it, seeing as how the KSI expedition led by Darcy was surprised by the metal fossil, so this means Lockdown had to bring it up. Why would he do that? Why would he give humans the means to build their own Transformers, especially when his whole mission here is to KILL Transformers?!

Speaking of that whole metal fossil thing, what was the point of that? Darcy said it was going to change everything, but what did it change? She had NO IDEA what it or Transformium was, so that entire scene was COMPLETELY USELESS, except serving to give us the illusion this film was going to have some kind of crazy mystery. I think the only mystery here is how the fuck this script got approved, because once again it makes NO sense.  Right... what was going on? Ah, Samurai-bot is somehow able to hack Joyce's cell phone so Cade can call and warn him about Galvatron. Joyce heeds this advice as well as you'd expect, so our heroes board the ship and follow him across the globe.

A brief interlude in space shows us Lockdown discovering Optimus' escape, so he sets course back to Earth just because this movie needs ANOTHER spinning plate to keep track of. Attinger brings the Seed to Joyce, who is now actually having second thoughts after Cade's call. Attinger, understandably, doesn't take too well to this and begins to threaten him but this is interrupted by Galvatron waking up and going crazy. He takes control of a fleet of fake Transformers in the factory, ordering them to find and activate the Seed. Joyce and Darcy take the Seed and GTFO as we cut back to the ship flying towards China.

Optimus tells Cade after this mission the Autobots will no longer be helping the humans, as he's tired of losing his friends over this endless bullshit. Even though Optimus is ACTUALLY in the right for once, Cade tries to talk him out of this decision with a big “Rah rah rah humankind is awesome” speech that you know Optimus is going to echo at the end of this nightmare.

Joyce makes his way to Hong Kong, hiding on the roof of a building with the Seed while the rest of our players begin to gather. I'm not really sure what happened, but somehow Joyce is now the lead character of the movie. His journey to the top of the building becomes the focus of the movie, highlighted by more of Bay's lazy racism as the residents break into a martial arts fight with the Cemetery Wind agents pursuing Joyce because everyone in China is versed in those right?

Optimus decides it's high time for reinforcements after learning Galvatron has taken over fifty of Joyce's Transformers, so he begins to reactivate the rest of the Knights on the ship. The Knights turn out to be the Dinobots, so let the fan service begin! Although they never call them the Dinobots and they never even talk, but whatever. Hopefully the image of Optimus riding a cybernetic Tyrannosaurus Rex into battle is enough to justify the previous two hours of HORRIFIC FUCKERY you've had to endure so far, because I know it certainly didn't for me. I was going to point out the first thing Grimlok did upon being activated was break into a fight with Optimus, but I'm sure Optimus had it coming.

And that's basically the next fifteen minutes of this movie, the Autobots fighting with fifty faceless robots that don't even have names. Cade also kills Savoy with an assist from a football, which I'm pretty was a gag reel scene they fucked up in editing and accidentally spliced into the final cut. The “climatic” battle is as mind numbing and monotonous as any action sequence I've EVER seen in a movie, the film hasn't given us the slightest reason to be invested in ANY of these characters so I'm 100% detached from any of this.

Optimus orders the humans to take the Seed into the hills, but now it's Lockdown's turn to step up to the plate and attempt to lull us to sleep. I'll give him this, he tries his HARDEST by taking a page out of Man Of Steel and turning his ship into a giant magnet that raises objects into the air and slams them hard into the ground while trying to kill the humans. Optimus takes out the ship with such ease it's curious he didn't do it earlier, setting up the final battle with Lockdown. Cade tries to help but Attinger pops up and is about to shoot him until Optimus BLOWS HIM AWAY. That's my Optimus, death for everyone! Remember in the first movie when he easily disarmed the Sector 7 agents without spilling a drop of blood? It's wrist-slittingly depressing that those are now the salad days of this abomination of a franchise.

This lets Lockdown get his opening, running Optimus through with his own sword... which somehow doesn't kill the Autobot. Guess he must have upgraded his chest defenses after Megatron killed him the same way in the second movie. But instead of delivering the killing blow, Lockdown consults his Bond Villain handbook and starts gloating. This leads to a bizarre scene where Cade runs behind a tiny piece of rubble which TRANSFORMS into a full brick wall in the next shot complete with some guy cowering next to him, but then the man vanishes in the next shot. REALLY? NO ONE caught that in editing?

More indecipherable action leads to Optimus cutting Lockdown in half the long way, but unfortunately he doesn't bark out some serial killer catchphrase as he does this. EPIC FAIL Michael Bay! We see Galvatron watching this unfold from the mountains, vowing to return in the sequel because he TRULY is the most evil villain in recorded history for holding THAT level of a threat over our heads.

So yay all the heroes catch up and get their hugs in, Cade finally accepting Shane even though he has no reason to WHATSOEVER. Joyce promises to help them with all their various troubles, Cade hugging him too because why not? This is probably a hollow statement on his part, as Joyce should be facing MANY years of prison from the government for his direct involvement in this whole fiasco. There's also a weird bit where Optimus tells the Dinobots they are “free”, so they just take off running out of the country. Uh? Doesn't the whole world hate the Transformers and want them dead, so this will lead to the Dinobots killing thousands of humans trying to kill- on second thought, I DON'T CARE. Optimus, please put a fork in this thing and get us the fuck out of here!

“This Seed belongs to our creators, whoever they are. There remains a price on my head, I endanger you all if I stay. I shall take it where it can never be found.”.

Oh, he was just talking to the humans and not narrating. Kind of hard to tell sometimes. Cade asks if they'll ever see him again, and we get this gem:

“Cade Yeager, I do not know. But whenever you look to the stars, think of one of them as my soul.”.

UGH. Mighty God, if afraid if I looked up how much money Kruger got paid for this script I'd eat a shotgun blast. Optimus blasts off into space because that's a thing he can magically do now, as he FINALLY starts his narration to wrap this turkey up.

“There are mysteries to the universe we were never meant to solve. But who we are and why we are here are not among them. Those answers we carry inside. I am Optimus Prime and this message is to my creators: leave planet Earth alone... 'cause I'm coming for you.”.

Cue the credits.

Like all Bayformer movies, this made all the money in the theaters while the critics ravaged it. Like all Bayformer movies, I had a different reaction to this than most critics. The first movie got fairly positive reviews whereas I thought it was awful. The second movie was almost universally reviled whereas I thought it was the best movie of the series, although I say best in the same comparison that the doctor says he needs to amputate your arm but only ends up cutting off your hand. The third movie got mixed reviews whereas I thought it was the absolute worst movie of the three.

Which brings us to Age of Extinction, hated so much by the critics it earned the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score of the series with a bottom of the barrel scraping 18%. Yes it was TERRIBLE, but not terrible in the ways these movies usually are.

This film does contain all the things that make a Bay movie the death of cinema: from the incomprehensible storyline and action, lazy stereotypes, turning women into pure eye candy, embarrassing juvenile humour BUT the difference here is it's all scaled wayyyyyyyy back. Except for the storyline, but that's like the least important thing to get worked up about when discussing one of these things.  Most of this movie is just REALLY REALLY BORING action with minor traces of Bay's trademark humour, which is what all of these movies should have aimed for in the first place.

Nowhere in this movie did I see the action broken up by a robot farting or a grown man walking around with his pants around his ankles asking for toilet paper. Any build ups to a conclusion weren't interrupted by discussions of masturbation or a mother giving her son a book about oral sex AND JESUS THIS SERIES IS AN ABOMINATION! No, Bay FINALLY stayed on course for once and delivered the movie we should have got way back in 2007.

Yes, the first hour was more endless bullshit about humans we were never once given a reason to care about and it contained the most Bayisms, but once that pointless setup was done it was pretty smooth sailing from there. Of course since Bay has absolutely no idea how to give us a connection to his characters or goings on, it was all boring as fuck but at least it FELT like he was trying to learn from his mistakes of the first three.

The acting was largely terrible as usual, but I will give Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci props for trying their hardest. Their effort was all undercut by the GODAWFUL writing of their characters, but you can tell they actually gave a damn. Everyone else was bad even for a Michael Bay movie, ESPECIALLY the actors playing Shane and Tessa. You KNOW you fucked up when you literally have me missing Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, or even... God help me... the Victoria Secret underwear model.

I'm guessing most of the budget that was earmarked for hiring some halfway decent actors was stolen for the action scenes, because they were way more prevalent and over the top than the rest of the series. They did look a lot better thanks to the streamlined designs of the Transformers, BUT they were SO lifeless. I think I exhausted my thesaurus for trying to find words other than “boring” to describe them, but at least we now have the new gold standard for Boredom In A Movie. Man Of Steel, you have OFFICIALLY been dethroned.

Still, endless and pointless action is better than anything else to date, which definitely makes this the least offensive film of the series. And that's even with the glorification of a statutory rapist scumbag who keeps a card of underage sex laws in his wallet, because at least that's only brought up once. I can't recommend this one to anyone under any circumstance, unless I suppose someone holds a gun to your head and forces you to choose one of the Bayformer movies to watch then I would definitely say pick this one.