‘Transformers 4: Age of Extinction’ has little to offer

July 6, 2014

I remember, during an early trip to the theaters, learning from the projectionist about an art film they once screened that was about six hours of just a man sleeping. The film was 1963’s “Sleep,” an experimental flick from Andy Warhol which was essentially just one continuous shot of some dude sleeping.

And while that film might not have been as explosion-filled as “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” I’m pretty sure you would walk out of either with the same feeling of brain-crushing numbness. This fourth franchise film (one that director Michael Bay threatens to be the start of a second trilogy) is perhaps the lowest rung on the ladder. And this is a series that has already treated us to robot testicles, a John Turturro wedgie, racist robot stereotypes and robot heaven.

I would say that this film is aimed directly at preteen boys, but I have to say that would insult a bunch of intelligent, discerning young lads who would opt for the more tranquil escapism of Minecraft than to be assaulted by this scrap-yard of a movie.

Starring a new cast of characters, “Extinction” attempts to jettison the story years into the future. I’m pretty sure that, despite his many recent personal troubles and run-ins with the law, Shia LaBeouf must still be rather satisfied that he has not returned for this most recent incarnation. Mark Wahlberg stars as Cade Yeager (I’m pretty sure you have to spell it with stars and stripes, but I’m not sure how), a Texas inventor-mechanic who is struggling to keep his precious farmland from the oppressive government. Cade’s dire financial situation is evident in his 17-year-old daughter’s wardrobe, as the poor girl can’t seem to afford more than a handkerchief to cover up her spilling flesh.

While scavenging for scrap metal, Cade and his annoying partner Lucas (played by TJ Miller), come across a heap of a semi that was once Optimus Prime. Seems that humans and the Autobots are not as cozy as they once were (for reasons I really don’t understand nor care to look up to further understand). All I will say is that the alien Autobot creators and the CIA are in cahoots to use a new metal called Transformium. That was not a typo. Sadly.

At one point, I was either bored, confused or generally just too pissed off to care, so I played a game that I play with my film class. I have them clap each time a film shot changes to demonstrate the process of editing. Now, it wouldn’t be appropriate to clap during the movie (hell, it’s not even appropriate to clap after this movie), so I started counting how many seconds there were between cuts. The longest I counted that a single shot was held was seven seconds. The average shot was 2.6 seconds.

There’s not a word I could write that would dissuade this film's target audience. Actually, I’m pretty sure the target audience couldn’t even read this sentence. But for those even remotely curious, or those who think this would be a fun trip to take their child to a theater outing, I can offer a positive take: you will have three hours to spend in air-conditioning. And that is the only machine I am thankful for in this “Transformers” film.

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