Part way through the latest ‘’Transformers’’ movie, Mark Wahlberg’s character declares – having discovered something he cool – that he wants to “patent that shit”.
Too late, bro. Michael Bay registered the ‘bloated bots-bashing-bots blockbuster’ back in 2007, and to anyone watching ‘’Transformers : Age of Extinction’’, that’s pretty obvious – this thing’s more been there, done that than Harry Reems.
Speaking of registered trademarks, it’s time again to play the spot the cashed-up sponsor again!
If you fall behind on the fourth Transformers’ plot, entertain yourself by attempting to spot the film’s corpus of gratuitous product placement. Look, it’s some kind of Chinese flavoured milk! Hey, there’s Victoria’s Secret! Did she just say her beau is a race car driver that’s sponsored by Red Bull!?
And while a billion brand names slowly sink into the bank of your brain, enjoy the story of a Texas inventor (Mark Wahlberg), his teenage daughter (Nicolta Peltz) and her boyfriend (Jack Treynor), who discover that the old truck Dad’s salvaged and set-up in the barn is actually the legendary Optimus Prime – king of the ‘good guy’ Transformers.
Despite saving humanity in “Transformers 3” (referred to in this film as ‘The Battle of Chicago’), the Autobots (they’re the aforesaid good guys) are being hunted down by a shady arm of the government (Kelsey Grammer plays big bad, with Titus Welliver as his go-to gorilla). Needless to say, it isn’t long before the men in black descend upon the Texas farm Optimus Prime is hiding out at. But escape Optimus and his new human friends do, and for the next couple of hours find themselves dodging the authorities, battling Galvatron (Megatron reborn) and his cronies, and familiarizing themselves with alien weapons.
After all that, they’ll have an earnt a refreshing Coca-Cola. And a nice rest at the Hilton by the Bay. With a relaxing spa at the Beijing Springs the next morning.
The “Transformers” movies are a bit like an open bar – it’s all fun and games until two hours in when, having overdosed on the stuff, you just want to get out of there and lie down.
Not to say Bay doesn’t make spectacular-looking movies, he does, but not even a Jay Jay’s staffer on an acid trip wants to sit through [near] three hours of hotly-lit pretty. Fire your editor, man!
While this latest film itself is designed to be somewhat of a reboot of the series, and comes complete with a new cast of characters, the same can’t be said for the structure, story or tone: It’s so blatantly “Transformers” 1, 2, and 3, only with fresh faces, it’s not funny. Come the film’s all-too-familiar finale, where robot takes on robot in the big smoke, some might even question whether the projectionist has slapped the reel for one of the earlier films on by accident.
And can someone please get someone who has actually read one of William Goldman’s books to pen one of these films!? The character detail is shallower than an empty pool! And the dialogue? Tom Green and Drew Barrymore made more sense.
But if it’s state-of-the-art special effects, endless battle sequences, oodles of explosions, and some pretty dazzling production design you want to see, you won’t walk away from “Age of Extinction” disappointed. If anything, it’s loyal to its roots – a “Transformers” movie through and through. With the previous films in the series making a trillion plus bucks each, the cook clearly didn’t want to mix up the recipe for the fourth instalment. Sure, he’s replaced Shia LaBeouf (star of the original three movies) with Mark Wahlberg, and he’s introduced some funky new Transformers (including cartoon favourites, the Dinobots), but the beats remain the same. It’s more of the same – and for the fans, that’s likely all they want. Right, tiger?