In the fourth outing for Michael Bay’s Transformer’s series, we begin with the beginning. This is not to say exactly where we left off at the end of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, but actually at the start of creation. In this version, it is not an asteroid that kills the dinosaurs but Transformers. Flash forward to present day, after the war in Chicago, where the war against Transformers has been launched. Enter, Cade Yeager, Mark Wahlberg an inventor, who lives alone in Texas with his beautiful seventeen year old daughter Tess Yeager, Nicola Pelz.
Cade has a short leash on his daughter since he is a single parent. Thus, any contact with boys is not allowed. Add into this mix that he has not paid their mortgage, and they are being evicted. However, when Cade finds a beat up truck he discovers that it is a transformer, and that Tess has been dating a boy on the side, Shane, Jack Reynor. Further, when his buddy Lucas, T.J. Miller calls the feds for their reward, they are met with guns instead of cash.
This is a film for those who want to see things explode. In almost every frame cars are flying through the air, things are set on fire, and shrapnel and glass are raining down on the city as if it is snow. The detail in this film is astounding. The Transformers have never looked better. In addition since there were only five main Transformers: Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, Bumble Bee, Hound, John Goodman, Ratchet, Peter Foxworth, and Drift, Ken Wanatabe it was less confusing as to who was fighting who, and who the bad guys were.
Here is the down side. At two hours and forty-five minutes, this film was way too long. Therefore, viewer beware, make sure you either urinate before you go in, or set your phone up for the PEE APP, so you know when to take a leak. If you add into this the fifteen to twenty minutes of preamble before the actual film starts, you are looking at almost three hours. In addition to the length there a multitude of product placements in this everything from Bud Light to Lamborghini, even Victoria’s Secret finds away into it.
While it can be fun to see how many ads and promos you can spot within a movie, it is sad when things like plot and character development outweigh how many times you can say you saw a moniker for Chevrolet. Yet, the cast itself felt as if they were merely going through the motions, instead of telling a story. This is especially true of Kelsey Grammer, Harold Attinger, who is a former CIA agent, whose angle is both to turn a profit and save the world. Somehow the two seem to be diametrically opposed to one another.
Joshua Joyce, Stanley Tucci, is the inventor and creator of a company KCI who wants to profit from the Transformers. While he is an actor who has tremendous depth and talent, sadly it is not seen here. He has some comedic moments, but they are few and far between.
The trio of Cade, his daughter Tess and Shane, are at once interesting, sometimes funny, but a little bit strange. It seems as if Cade is vying for his daughter against her boyfriend, and yet still dealing with and accepting the fact that she has a boyfriend. However, the moments of comedy give much needed respite from the strangeness of it all.
As a fourth addition to this series it is not bad, in that at least it is sans the ego of Shia LaBeouf, and the wooden acting of Megan Fox, however, it seems to end as all Transformer films do, with the same scene of Optimus launching into the sky while he narrates to the audience. It is as if we are stuck in a bizarre time vacuum in which one film melds into the other, and but for the differences in the cast, little has changed.