The Transformers franchise has never exactly been cerebral movie-going fare. It’s a toyline turned cartoon turned massive action movie spectacle where metal clashes on more metal and various special effects crews wonder to themselves if suicide would be more preferable than rendering a sexbot Decepticon to seduce Shia LaBeouf. But at least the previous three films have been fun, even if they did so at the cost of causing your brain cells to decay with every passing second.
Trans4mers (Copyright, roll out!) may just be the most extreme example of a Michael Bay film ever. And that’s not exactly a positive statement this time.
It’s the same age-old story: Human is struggling to find place in world, human meets bot, bot transforms and more bots show up to cause havoc while a zany side character attempts to shoehorn in a witty retort as CGI characters explode around their faces. Set five years after Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, humanity has turned on their previous Autobot guardians after the battle of Chicago left that American metropolis a steaming crater of ruined skyscrapers and insurance agencies crapping their pants at the thought of having to cover all that damage.
The Decepticons have almost been eradicated, with a secret CIA team by the name of Cemetery Wind venting their frustrations on the remaining Autobots as well, probably due the fact that they couldn’t call their black ops group “Tombstone Piledriver” because of a WWE copyright. Kelsey Grammar is the leader of this division as Harold Attinger, a government man who would do nothing to protect his country from a perceived alien menace that could possibly also make him patrio-tastically rich in the process when he flogs Transformer corpses to Stanley Tucci’s Joshua Joyce, a billionaire wannabe playboy philanthropist who gives the best Steve Jobs performance of the year.
Dialing the antago-switch even further up to 11 is Lockdown, a transformer renegade who works for neither side of the Cybertronian conflict and is instead hellbent on capturing Optimus Prime and sticking him in his massive MacGuffin ship. Ruthless, cold-hearted and able to quite literally shoot his face off, Lockdown is the gun-faced new threat of the fourth film that replaces the recently deceased Megatron. Or is he? DUN DUN DUN!
Caught in the middle of all this is Mark Wahlberg as the rather cool-named Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor trying to make ends meet so that he can send his daughter, Whatshername McPrettyFace to varsity. Stuck with bad debt and a permanently furrowed brow, Yeager picks up a damaged Optimus Prime and helps repair the Autobot leader who is none too pleased that humanity has an issue with the previous battle against the Decepticons which almost resulted in the massive planet of Cybertron colliding with Earth. Humans, so petty amirite?
Pretty soon things go south when Yeager’s business partner, Comic Side-Relief Surfer Dude whose name isn’t worth learning finds fault with Yeager housing the Autobot leader, leading to a Fugitive style-chase as Yeager and co meet up with Damsel Yeager’s boyfriend, a rally car foightin’ Oirish driver (Jack Reynor as Shane Dyson) who can p-klap a black ops soldier with a well-driven tyre and be practically useless when not in a car.
While the hour long first act of the film is a slow burn, Trans4mers then unleashes an additional unrelenting hour and a half of action that never stops until it baysplodes across the finish line. This is a Michael Bay film taken to a new level. Content aside, Trans4mers is a beautifully shot movie, filled with all manner of Bayhem that includes familiar tropes such as tilted camera angles, car pornography, romantic kisses that set off supernovas and an unending third act that has the Autobots fighting doppelgangers as they struggle to save China (‘s financial backers) and various famous brands that have been shoved into the flick.
Squeezing even more content into the film, are the Dinobots. Legendary warriors, Optimus Prime recruits them into the fight for freedom in the final act by bitch-slapping the Jurassic off of their faces and commandeering the hulking cretaceous creatures for a final run. Just don’t expect any fan-favourite lines from the voice actors behind the classic characters, as much like the film itself, the Dinobots are all fire and metal without any substance. Still, seeing Optimus Prime ride Grimlock into battle with a sword held high might just be the most metal album cover ever created.
As for the rumours of a new trilogy, Trans4mers is indeed the start of one. New plot threads are tantalisingly teased as we get a glimpse of an ancient race who sail the cosmos in galactic cyber-snail ships laying down the foundation for Transformium (I shit thee not) and something something plot.
But Trans4mers is a soulless hunk of junk. All flash and no substance, it’s done the impossible and made Dark Of The Moon look like a better film in comparison. The only way to possibly enjoy the film, is to regress yourself back to the age of 8 and marvel at the fancy CGI on display and beg your folks for a Grimlock quick-changer action figure. The film is an endurance run in excess and product placement, with little that reveals it to be more than meets the eye.
Last Updated: July 7, 2014