Went to see Transformers 4: Age of Extinction last night. Walked out after the Irish rally driver boyfriend cracked his wheel rim doing “that thing” where he drove his car out of a 4th story factory door and landed it on an inexplicably perfectly situated ramp like he was Shaun White at the X games (plus two aggregate tons of inflexible and insensible rubber steel and plastic).
The new Transformers movie strains believability like Mark Wahlberg’s t-shirts strain at his calf-sized biceps (and yes, I do mean the baby cow). Please understand: I do not pick nits when it comes to action movies. I will ignore all sorts of brawny monosyllabic misogyny in the name of awesome explosions, wickedbad fisticuffs, and/or (as in the case of the Transformers franchise), ultra-violent mechanical ballets seasoned with a healthy dollop of robot apocalypse thrown in (to taste).
Nor do I blanch from the limitless possibilities of science fiction: I will abandon this reality for an alternate one at the slightest indication that it will take me in its teeth and rip into me a bit. E.G. to wit: I am a member of the paying audience at a movie about an advanced race of alien robots that feel that the best use of their creative energies is to transform into various present-day models of a 20th century mode of internal-combustion transportation.
Plus, it’s not like I had something important to do waiting for me when I got home.
But when the backstory idiocies pile up in such hyper-fast fashion one on top of another on top of another with no break, I start to worry that the people who made this movie made it with contempt, their indifference to the gift of my attention, their laziness, their callous lack of concern for my $12 ticket, and the time it took to drive down there, and the guy looking back over his seat and smiling in the dark to whisper to me that it would be okay if I wanted to rest my leg on the seat there (next to him), their calling it cocktail hour at 11am* and banking on my gullible willingness to swallow down this pap because it’s 4th in a dynasty, or because it’s made by the trusted Bay brand, or because it’s about robots with relatable personalities and that makes me feel like the future is less scary, whatever it is they think lets them off the hook of making a movie with love and care and attention and precision, whatever that is, I start to worry that they don’t really care about me. And that hurts my feelings.
And that’s when I make like a banana and split.
So I walked right out of there (and passed my smile-in-the-dark guy on his way back from his 3rd trip to the bathroom, who let me know that he “had that package” when I came back) and got in my car and drove home and watched The Raid 2, which handily satisfied my deep craving for abovementioned explosions and fisticuffs.
T4 is too dark for kids (a best friend gets incinerated 10 minutes in), and too stupid for grown-ups (see duh list below). The action sequences are fair to awesome, and Titus Welliver’s black-ops Savoy was a dry piece of villain with some gorgeous blu-blocker sunglasses, but alas, none of that was enough to save me from
If you’re looking for specifics, I submit as evidence this stack of stupidities from the first 15 minutes:
- Fantasy: An Irish rally car driver just out of high school and sponsored by Red Bull and dating an overprotected 17-yr-old girl 3 years his junior who lives miles from civilization. Fact: No Irishman would ever move to Texas.
- Fantasy: A grown man develops a savior/saved relationship with a semi-truck. Fact: Trucker Culture peaked in the 70s.
- Fantasy: Mark Wahlberg is an inventor/intellectual. Fact: Two. Words: Beefcake.
- Fantasy: A 21yr-old Irishman drives his car up a ramp out of a high-floor factory window and lands it on another ramp 40 feet below. Fact: Huh huh. He said “ramp”.
- Fantasy: The nymphette daughter, whose chest bounds over her bra and nuzzles at her camisole under her semi-transparent shirt… Fact:…serves literally no purpose other than to distract our eyes away from all the abovementioned unpalatable Fantasies.
- et cetera, et cetera.
To be fair, she exists to establish the backstory, but that backstory was thrown together so shoddily that like an enormous hole in the radiator, it blew the hot air of the story all over the road and left it for dead.
I swear if this doesn’t kill the franchise I don’t know what will. The leaked internal ToysR Us Memo says there are 2 more films in the pipeline, but I’ll stake my (absolute lack of a) reputation on no Transformers 5 any time in the next decade, at least until they figure out how to start fresh again.
Am I way off base? Should I have stuck it out? Was there something I missed? Comment below and let me know, and be sure to make your vote count in the poll below.