I don’t understand the rants, I don’t understand the ratings, and I especially don’t understand the hatred people seem to have towards Michael Bay and the Transformers movies. Yes, I enjoyed the latest Transformers and I have no problem admitting to that even though I am bound to be in the minority when it comes to critics and bloggers, but considering the box-office reports I probably am in the majority because this movie is making some serious money.
Transformers: Age of Extinction takes off five years after the “Battle of Chicago”. All the characters from the trilogy are gone, and this time we have Mark Wahlberg playing a homegrown inventor at a farm-barn in Texas raising his daughter and just trying to pay his bills. The story kicks off when he suddenly ends up buying an old truck that just happens to be Optimus Prime in the hiding from the government, and especially Kelsey Grammer’s Harold Attinger, who is hell-bent on destroying all the Transformers to get the metal they are made up of so they can manufacture their own “robots” with the help of a billion dollar businessman inventor Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), who might remind you of a very famous real life icon. Add to all this a number of other factors and what you have is a story that tries to be complex and intelligent, but in the end is just one huge battle sequence after another.
So what really is the problem with the movie? In all honesty I didn’t find anything that would irritate me to the level of ranting about it. I’m not one who is going to say that action films should be without a strong story; the story of a film is all important, but having said that I do expect that a film like Transformers will have a story that can easily be classified as juvenile, and I am totally at peace with that especially since we have seen the previous three installations and they all seem to fall in a similar category. So, that brings us to the action, which once again was perfectly fun for me. I wanted to see as many different Transformers as possible and surprisingly enough the fights were less “shaky” making them easily watchable and exciting. Furthermore, the sound was good and the CGI seemed a lot more polished. Point to be noted is that I did watch the film in 2D, so that made things a lot better as well.
There are some small issues that do annoy, like the new manufactured Transformers and the way they transform, or what happens with Megatron, or even the speech we hear from/to Optimus Prime about humans and Transformers working together (you know the one we got to hear in almost all the previous three films), and even the childish direct to the punch-line humor that is a Michael Bay trademark, but again these didn’t hassle me to the level that I would hate the entire film for them.
A major factor that many seem to have a problem with is that Transformers: Age of Extinction is just too long. I agree that it is a tad long, for a Hollywood movie, but then having grown up watching Indian cinema, 165 minutes feel like nothing. The length of the movie aside, I was quite pleased with the content so I never had that inkling thought of wanting it to finally finish even when the location of the film moved from US to Hong Kong and it was quite clear that a good amount of fighting still remained.
As a side note, I usually am quite surprised when films like Raid 2, which did feel longer (even though it ends 15 minutes before Transformers) is not criticized for their length, where as a Michael Bay film is. Moreover, similarly Raid 2 lacked a strong story, but everyone was happy focusing on the fight sequences, but when the same example is given for a Bay film, all hell breaks out. Granted there is a huge difference in the style and technique of the fight sequences, and I personally enjoy both equally.
Is Trans4mers the film that takes the series forward in the right direction? I would say so, and it ends in such a fashion that we can expect an inter-galactic, non-human, film next time, which in turn would be something completely different altogether, and I look forward to it.