He Said, She Said at the Movies: "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

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HE SAID:

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" is a title that begs the question, "you promise?" This is a terrible movie that's relentless in its awfulness. It's loud, incoherent, self-indulgent, nonsensical crap. It tells the same story as the other Transformers movies. The world needs Optimus Prime to save them, but the humans are making it hard for him to do that because they don't trust what they don't understand. Even though for three movies, all Optimus Prime and his team of autobots do is save humanity, there's always going to be a few that want to portray the machines as dangerous for their own personal gain. This time the unlucky actors are two of my favorites, Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") and Stanley Tucci ("The Hunger Games"). But with a runtime of 2 hours, 40 minutes, after a while we as an audience stop caring about the human elements of the story. There are about 17 different plotlines in play here, each one less interesting than the one introduced before it. The most absurd is trying to get the audience to believe Mark Wahlberg is the father of a teenage daughter, played by the insanely untalented Nicola Peltz. Mark Wahlberg's character is an overprotective dad, which is fine. However, his antics would be more believable if this were the 1950s. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) yells at his daughter for hugging her boyfriend, and says dating isn't allowed in his household, themes a little dated for a 21st century audience.

However, I would admire Michael Bay if he really wanted to make a point about underage dating or highlight parents who can be positive role models for their kids. But it's a disingenuous plot line. After establishing this dynamic, Bay inserts underage jokes about Texas Romeo & Juliet laws into the script, and even has the boyfriend (Jack Reynor) make one of the most tasteless jokes aimed at a 17-year-old girl you could imagine. Not that I'm surprised. Bay has never been one to create groundbreaking roles for women on screen. Megan Fox's character isn't exactly Erin Brockovich.

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I didn't go into "Transformers: Age of Extinction" thinking positive thoughts. I've seen this play out before, and I'm rarely surprised by the quality of a Michael Bay movie (the guy hasn't made a good movie since "The Rock" in 1996). While all of his action sequences and explosions are perfectly choreographed, there's nothing in the script that justifies them. Why do we care about stuff blowing up? At one point in this music video I actually forgot where I was, not to mention what was happening on the screen in front of me. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is one gigantic temper tantrum from Michael Bay, a director known for caring little about plot and character development, ditching humans for machines and explosions.

It's a movie that plays out like the kid at the toy store who starts crying and whining to his parents who won't buy him the action figure he wants. Maybe Bay's parents didn't give him that toy when he was younger, and his repetitive explosions are retaliation. Regardless of why, this plays out for minutes that turn into hours. I went into the theater at 11 a.m. and returned to the land of the living at 2:05 p.m. While I feel sympathy for some of the award-winning actors on-screen reduced to uttering inarticulate dialogue with a straight face, I think to myself at least they got a paycheck for this mess. Would you pay for a 2 hour, 40 minute headache? It's the only question you need to ask yourself before you purchase your ticket.

Finally, the language is despicable for a movie supposedly targeted at younger audiences. This movie easily could have been rated R, and while I'm not usually a prude sticking up for the MPAA, I think these are the movies that make our kids, especially boys, want to read less, talk dirtier and think of women as objects instead of intelligent, independent human beings. Wow, Michael Bay just made me a feminist. I hate this movie. At one point, John Goodman's autobot character Hound, who smokes a cigar even though he's made of metal, says "This is a bad idea. I'm all about bad ideas." That could easily be the title of Michael Bay's autobiography. It's a little long for a title, but then again his movies are the length of a trip to the DMV, albeit less fun. SKIP IT, DON'T LET A FRIEND PAY FOR IT AND STAY AT LEAST 50 YARDS FROM A THEATER IT'S PLAYING IN. That's a new label for He Said, She Said, but I don't think there will be another movie this year that earns it.

SHE SAID:

I can't say too many good things about this movie. I don't think most people can tolerate an almost 3 hour film unless it's amazing, and if it's an action movie, has you on the edge of your seat, wondering what's going to happen next, with suspense at every corner. This movie just does not do that.

While the special effects are to be commended, this sci-fi action movie has a lot of action, destruction, and blow 'em up scenes, too much in my opinion, that you grow a little numb to it all. This movie, in effect, is kind of boring. It definitely does not make your pulse quicken, despite all the battles throughout.

Now I have only seen Michael Bay's original Transformers movie, not the second or third, but what I liked most about the original is the relationship between Shia LaBeouf's character Sam Witwicky and the transformers, the quick wit and occasional humor throughout. There's not much humor in the latest Transformers installment. I was not impressed by the dialogue. The characters are not memorable. I was not invested in them.

My favorite character, the one who had a couple fairly decent one-liners is Joshua Joyce, played by Stanley Tucci, an inventor who's cracked the transformers' genetic code. He's over the top, but is one of the better things about this movie. All around, this is a pretty forgettable film, not suspenseful, not funny, and not worth your time.

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