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Michael Bay and the crumbling state of action movies: review of Transformers 4

People asking rich people why they made a terrible movie
People asking rich people why they made a terrible movie
Photo by Andreas Rentz

Transformers Age of Extinction


Visual collaborative forms of art are all creatively unique. Putting the role of the writer, which is universal, aside, great theater has great actors, great television has great producers, and great films have a great director. In that same light, when theater suffers it can be most attributed to the actors, same goes for television with producers and films with directors.

So, when looking for the person who is responsible for the cacophony of horrific (not in the sense of horror, but rather of terrifyingly bad) character development, story structure, and general filmmaking technique that exists in "Transformers: Age of Extinction", there's nowhere else to look but Michael Bay.

It should be known, firstly, I didn't sit through the entire two hours and 45 minutes of the movie. Psychologically, and as an artist in the medium of writing and filmmaking, I couldn't. I've never walked out of a film in a theater before this, so that's saying something. Chris Nashawty of Entertainment Weekly calls it "the stupidest movie of the year" and it's a sign of the downfall of film as an art form that it will most likely turn a huge profit. Secondly, I think "The Rock" is actually a decent action movie, so Michael Bay hasn't made complete trash his WHOLE career, just since 1996. Thirdly, I know, for a fact, that I'll see another Michael Bay movie in the future because I've seen every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' movie and TV show ever made and I don't plan on stopping.

But, this, the fourth installment of the Transformers' saga (by the way, a fifth has already been greenlit), is an insult to the entertainment industry.

Attempting to list the gargantuan amount of things that confused, annoyed, disturbed, and/or nauseated me during only the first two-ish hours of the movie would be more writing than anyone who sees this review would care to read. Luckily, Dave Schilling and Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of VICE did just that for me. Thanks, y'all!

Anyway, minutia aside, this movie is a microcosm of everything wrong with Hollywood filmmaking and big-budget high-stakes drama TV in the last half decade or more. With endless chase scenes, unimaginatively designed alien technology, exponentially growing explosions/ scale of destruction, and the absurd justification for poorly written dialogue, lack of character depth, and exceedingly moronic plot lines, the pandering to audiences at the lowest common denominator is quite simply depressing.

But, in the end, what does it come down to? Money. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" has already made half of it's money back in its first week, reinforcing the movie studio's vision of Michael Bay as a cash crop. Imagine the vast amount of good story-telling that could have been produced had the 210 million dollar budget for something that is, essentially, destructo-porn (movies/TV made for the sake of seeing big/lots of things explode/break) not been giving to Michael Bay (shudder).

On a lighter, but still confusing, note, it was nice to see Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, and Mark Wahlberg in the same movie, even if they were speaking lines and doing things that made me physically ill. Why would they do this to themselves? Same answer as the last question: Money. Makes the world go 'round. And me nauseous.

Here's my advice, not that you need it but you've made it this far… Don't see this movie. Or watch the new TNT show "The Last Ship". Or anything else with Michael Bay's name on it. For all our sakes.