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Transformers: Make It Stop!

I've seen bad movies.

I've seen dull movies.

I've seen incoherent movies.

I've seen movies that felt like pure torture to sit through because they're so damn boring to sit through.

I haven't encountered anything like Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Confession: once I read the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I knew what I was in for, so really, I have only myself to blame for putting myself through sheer hell. When they said that Michael Bay, maestro of destruction, had managed to top Revenge of the Fallen as the worst installment of the series, I didn't believe it. How could he top that clunky, incoherent mess of a movie? 

In just 2 hours and 45 minutes (yes, it's that bloody long), I found my answer. In ways I never could have imagined.

It's been five years since the events of the last movie, where Optimus Prime (voiced one again by Peter Cullen) and his band of Autobots stopped the Decipticons from terraforming our world into another Cybertron, but laid waste to Chicago in the process. Ever since, the U.S. government has de-activated NEST, ended all alliances with the Autobots, have begun hunting them down like dogs, and have thrown Sam Witwicky and his girlfriend/accomplice, Carly in jail, along with Agent Simmons. I'm kidding about that last part, but Shia LeBrouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitley and John Tuturro respectively are not even mentioned in this film. Perhaps they had better things to do than come back to this bloated franchise, but I digress

In this new installment, we have a new cast of characters, starting with Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, a failed Texas inventor trying to make a breakthrough that will put his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), through college. Allow me to stop and talk about the latter character for a moment. Bay is notorious for objectifying female characters in most of his movies: from Ben Affleck sticking an animal cracker down Liv Tyler's pants in Armageddon, to Megan Fox arching her butt over the back of a motorcycle in Revenge of the Fallen, Bay hasn't met a female character he didn't want his camera to carnally lust over, and Peltz's Tessa is no exception. His camera zooms in on her daisy duke shorts and her long legs several times, including where her and her girlfriends drop her off at home. Yes, they're all wearing daisy dukes, and yes, Bay doesn't want us to miss more drooling over young, hot, tasty teenage girls! Oh, I forgot to mention Peltz is 19, and here, she's playing a 17 year-old girl. That's right - Michael Bay is sexualizing an under-aged girl (albeit fictional). Do I even have to point out how uncomfortable and creepy that is?! Even Frank Miller wouldn't dare try and sexualize teen girls, and he's the perv that turned Wonder Woman and Vicky Vale into fap material in the All-Star Batman & Robin comic book series!

Where was I? Oh, right: Cade is struggling to make ends meet, until he comes across a battered truck, filled with shells. It turns out to be Optimus Prime (once again voiced by Peter Cullen), the one Autobot a CIA strike force team led by Harold Attinger (Dr. Frasier Crane himself, Kelsey Grammer) is looking for to kill off and send his parts to Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), a Steve Jobs-type tycoon who's building his own Transformer army for the U.S. Military using the decapitated head of Megatron and other dead Decipticons, along with an element called "transformium" (step aside James Cameron, because we have found a name for an element that's even dumber than unobtanium!), which can transform into anything, including a Beats Pill sound system (now just $299 at Best Buy!) and Hello Kitty merchandise (there's a great bargain for Hello Kitty toys and posters right now at Amazon.com!). Sadly, it can't transform Ethan Krugler's script into something forming coherence. There's backroom deals that feel tacked on, like Frasier making a deal with the remaining Decipticons to kill off the Autobots, in exchange for something called "the seed" (Don't ask), a weapon that can create more "transformium" (Seriously, I feel dumber for saying that)  for him and Joyce to create more of their very own Transformer army. What they don't know is that the newly-created Galvatorn is using Joyce to help-rebuild his army, and by launching "the seed" he alone can use the element to create more Decipticons and enslave the world. Do you see just how convoluted and inconsistent this "plot" is now?


There's also other characters, like Shane (Jack Reynor) and Su Yueming (popular Chinese actress Li Bingbing) and new Autobots like Hound and Drift (voiced by John Goodman and Ken Wantanabe respectively), but they don't really make much impact or impression. Reynor's just the stereotypical hunk/love interest for Tessa; Goodman's the stereotypical hard ass/comic relief; and Bingbing and Wantanabe are in this solely to attract the Asian market. Even the Dinobots, the one new addition that could give this "film" a new lease on life, they don't appear until near the end of the film. Yes, Prime riding on top of a transforming tyrannosaurus rex robot in some of the film's posters and in the trailer....is just the hook to get us to watch this overlong toy commercial for Hasbro. That comment sums up why Age of Extinction just plain sucks: It's product. Nothing more.

It's a commercial for Hasbro to keep selling their Transformers toy line; it's another way for Bud Light, Beats by Dre, General Motors and Ducati Motorcycles to shamelessly plug their products; and it's one more way for Paramount Pictures to exploit the fanboys and the Asian market by plugging in recognizable faces and characters to come out and see this bloated monstrosity. This film is both so carefully calculated and wildly incoherent that, frankly, only Bay himself could make something this damn awful and bereft of anything that qualifies as a summer blockbuster. It's not entertaining, it's not interesting, and it's not fun to watch in any regard. There's explosions and excellent visuals, but that's a moot point in my view, because all the Transformers movies have explosions and excellent visuals. There is literally nothing else about this movie I can say in a positive way. Last month I bitched at The Fault In Our Stars for being a cynical exercise in exploiting teenage girls' ideals on true love and romance. Transformers 4 is the opposite side of a two-headed coin that major studios love to play to see how much money they can rake in.

Oh, and Bay and Paramount are threatening two more sequels. God help us all.

Zero stars out of ****

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