TF: AoE Review
I’m so exhausted after this film I’m just going to bullet-point it.
*** SPOILERS ***
Seeing Ratchet getting killed was so sad. It took his death to make me realise that he’s one of the only ‘bots I give a shit about. But he went out like a total bitch; getting hunted like an animal. Bay doesn’t believe in noble deaths. His characters always die in unnecessarily horrible ways. It would’ve been nicer to see him go out trying to save another robot. He IS a doctor, after all.
And then later on we get to see his severed, horribly-disfigured head getting blowtorched by hot female scientists.
Lockdown’s face is distractingly weird. The proportions are all wrong. I get it; he’s supposed to look creepy. But he’s got a weird little pug nose, and a weak jaw. He looks like a small person in a big person’s body. Not scary at all, and his dialogue was weak.
Lockdown’s reveal is, visually, quite cool. He rises out of a swamp, from where he was hiding, like that scene in that war film that time. But it did make me wonder about the whole “robots in disguise” concept, and how unimportant it actually is to these robots.
Easily-changeable vehicular disguise? No thanks - this swamp is fine.
Hound was quite well done, but Crosshairs and Drift are no-marks. Am I supposed to like Crosshairs? He was a complete dick, and his voice acting was absolutely terrible - somewhere between British and…Australian? It sounded just like one of the Wreckers. Drift was pathetic. He did nothing, and had - yes - a yellow face. Good one, Bay.
Am I supposed to care about these characters? I don’t.
Bumblebee is rubbish. Even Prime couldn’t be bothered acknowledging his “old friend” at the reunion. No hug, no fist bump, no nothing.
Because after four films, his character has shown ZERO development, so if he were to die at this point, I wouldn’t give a shit. One of the most telling things is the fact that the drone, Stinger, had as much personality on display as Bee in this film.
I actually liked Marky Mark. He played Marky Mark, and that’s fine by me. I liked Stanley Tucci a bit, and Frasier was okay. Everyone else was forgettable.
The fairly likeable, fairly funny surfer guy at the beginning died in really strange, distracting circumstances. He was horrifically burned to death on screen, and the camera lingers on his burned corpse, for some disturbing reason. Was I supposed to be upset at his death or was it a joke? I genuinely have no idea.
I expected Lockdown to smash his charred body into dust, but he just drove past instead, like, “whatever”.
What were those crazy bug-eyed robot things supposed to be on Lockdown’s ship? I thought they were supposed to be a jokey reference to Marky Mark’s home made bug-eyed paint roller robot. But maybe not. I don’t know.
Prime and Bee’s scanning/reformatting featured a LOT of liquid metally, cheaty sort of stuff. I’d rather not see that happen again.
The fragmentation transformation that all the bad drone guys had was TOTALLY to save time (money). At NO point in the film did the effect come anywhere close to looking good. It was a TERRIBLE effect.
Welker’s voice acting for Galvatron was better than anything Agent Smith did, but was undermined by very weak/cheesy dialogue, and one of the shittiest robot designs in the history of cinema.
Galvatron’s truck mode was superb though.
Any time Prime was in his old truck vehicle or old truck robot mode, he was amazing.
This film had HORRIBLE product placement.
What was the fat British scientist guy out of? I recognize him.
That Chinese actress was a complete waste of my time.
This film DOES look amazing. Bay has outdone himself with the real-world cinematography.
There’s a part on the film where the Autobots Arrival music plays, and made me nostalgic for the part in TF1 where Bay did it right.
The Dinobots were just pointless. They were just monster robots that gatecrashed the film and made everything more confusing. Were they good or bad? Subservient or helpful? They had to listen to Prime because he’s suddenly a “knight”? They were twice his size and there was a bunch of them.
Prime can now fly, by the way. No jet pack or nuthin’. He can just straight-up fly, okay?
At the end of the film, he flies away into space to go and get the pink-handed creature from the beginning of the film. He flies like Superman.
Transformers, it seems, like to crawl, clamber, roll and swing more than they like to walk or run. I don’t know why, but they’re always clambering over buildings and crawling on things like fucking apes. They’re not elegant in the least.
This film features the most inconsistent character animation and rendering of all of the films. The quality and style of animation varies in quality throughout. This has a detrimental effect on their characterization. The animators seem to struggle to pose the robots well. Much of the animation looks hand-keyed or stylized, so the scenes where they use Mocap are really obvious.
Marky Mark’s daughter looks like a little prostitute. I feel wrong looking at her. She’s seventeen and Bay is showing me her ass.
The Autobots fight amongst themselves a lot. Like, literally, they punch and kick each other and roll around on the floor. They draw weapons on each other.
They seem like reckless, undisciplined animals.
That said, I didn’t have a problem with Prime killing Frasier. He was about to kill Marky Mark, and Prime was too far away to do anything about it.
End sequences in these Bay films are always weird, disjointed things. There’s never an obvious build, or flow to a climax. Just a serious of scrappy brawls that fizzle out abruptly under a monologue from Peter Cullen.
The colours they chose for each of the Autobots were way too gaudy and oversaturated. That, on top of the quirky animation made them look more like cartoon characters than ever before.
The Autobot designs/silhouettes are the most rounded and humanoid they’ve ever been. This actually made them look weaker, and also made it far more difficult on the eyes during fight sequences, due to there being more detail packed in to smooth off the shapes.
Literally every part of Hound animates when he moves. It seems like there’s a physics simulation for every single part. He is so over animated it’s ridiculous, and he ends up looking like a big bag of wobbling junk whenever he moves. There’s no need for this.
Those building-hugging twin engined TF jets are back in this. There’s a long chase sequence involving them that frazzled my senses in a way that I never recovered from for the rest of the film.
There are a lot of similarities between Tucci’s character and Malkovitch’s. Strange, perverted, over-styled, OCD, power-mad, woman-hating oddities. It’s common for Bay’s ‘strong’ male characters to have these traits. They always start out cool or wannabe-cool control freaks and end up as disheveled screaming wrecks, and that’s because each and every one of them is Bay himself.
The Chinese milk drink from DOTM shows up again in a weird and lingering product placement shot.
At one point during the climax of the film I forgot we were supposed to be in China and just assumed we were back in Chicago and my brain didn’t question it at all. It just made sense in the chaos that we were just suddenly hundreds of thousands of miles somewhere else, because that’s how these films work.
Marky Mark has a stupid robot dog that, honestly, gets more lines than most of the TFs in the film.
Brains is back, because I guess he’s now a ‘fan favourite’. They made his design even more confusing by ripping parts off him and adding new random ones. He literally tells us he’s walking off at one point…and then he does. And he never comes back.
One of my biggest problems with this film is, it finally, completely does away with the need for any rules in the TF movie universe. There are NO RULES. There is NO CONSISTENCY. So, therefore I cannot care.
Absolutely ANYTHING can happen and it doesn’t matter. Liquid robots? Fine! Giant metal dinosaurs from nowhere? Yes! Robo-wolves? You got it! Slimy alien monsters with pervy tongues? Here! A nice man, burned to a crisp on camera? No problem! Humans, falling or flying HUNDREDS of feet through the air and slamming into metal robot hands, or crashing in spaceships and NEVER GETTING INJURED AT ALL? Here you go! A Chinese woman fighting some men, and a random stranger joining in? You’re welcome!
The Transformers can do ANYTHING! They can fly! They can turn into literally ANYTHING! They don’t even need to do anything; just show up, talk, then leave (yes you Galvatron!). We’re in America now. Now we’re in China. Why? It doesn’t matter! Here’s a big spaceship that is a magnet that sucks up all metal but not all metal just some metal like boats and cars and not necessarily all cutlery.
You’ll see a robot Triceratops get pulled up into the air and smash into a building - a sight you never thought you would ever see, nor will you ever again…did it matter in the film? NO! It didn’t mean anything! It was just a thing that happened!
So, my review, in summary: Transformers: Age of Extinction is a thing that happened.