Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction finally arrives in theaters this Friday, June 27th and I'm sure it's actual release will cause a lot of relief for a lot of people. If you're one of the many people who love the franchise, you'll get to see the new edition, and if you're one of the many who hates it, then you won't have to read about it anymore... until Transformers 5 that is.
Ahead of its premiere this weekend, several outlets have received advanced viewings of Michael Bay's latest CGI-filled robot-smashing extravaganza and dropped their reviews online. HitFix, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter all covered the movie, and as you can imagine from critics, they all kind of hated it to various degrees. The takeaway from most of the reviews is that essentially [Transformers: Age of Extinction](movie:206531) is more of the same. It has the same draws of the franchise - massive robots fighting - and the same downsides - terrible human characters, nonsensical story and product placement (although this time a lot of the product placement is Chinese). Here's what HitFix said about that issue:
Ultimately, these are still just vehicles for the sale of more toys, and Hasbro is poised to clean up once again. My own kids have fallen in love with this series, and I can tell you exactly what they love about it: all the goddamn robots. They don't care about anything else. Each new Transformers film could just be two solid hours of new robot characters walking out and introducing themselves, then jumping into an ongoing fist-fight, and my boys would be perfectly happy with it. It feels to me like Transformers is, in many ways, one of the least cynical of the major franchises currently in progress because Bay knows that he's selling a product here, and he sells it with all the slick that he can muster.
Whatever the case, Transformers: Age Of Extinction more than delivers on whatever promises Bay makes to an audience at this point. Giant robots. Giant mayhem. Destruction on a global scale. You know what you're in for if you buy a ticket, and Bay seems determined to wear you down with the biggest craziest Transformers movie yet.
Although HitFix appeared to realize the Transformers franchise is, and always was, a long toy commercial set against the backdrop of an action blockbuster, The Hollywood Reporter were slightly more scathing in their review. They stated:
Despite boasting an entirely new human cast and many a new onscreen mechanical warrior, plus a half-hour grand finale set in very different Hong Kong locales, Transformers: Age of Extinction isn't the breath of fresh air vitally needed by an aging franchise... Belying its ominous title, Age of Extinction barely skirts the idea that humankind and planet Earth are about to be totally annihilated. What is extinguished is the audience's consciousness after being bombarded for nearly three hours with overwrought emotions ("There's a missile in the living room!" Tessa hollers — twice), bad one-liners and battles that rarely rise above the banal. A trio of editors make a technical marvel out of the fight scenes, but can do little to link the story's multiple threads into something coherent.
Variety echoed much the same sentiments as THR, although they could find some shreds of silver lining, especially when it came to the actual Transformers. They stated:
As the sine qua non of the franchise, it’s the robots — endowed here with character-rich physicality and almost human-scaled facial features — who give the film its emotional heft. Optimus Prime’s charismatic leadership of his team, as well as his unwavering compassion for the humans, again makes him the movie’s moral anchor. Drift, with his samurai getup and Watanabe’s dignified line readings, strikes a neat balance with Goodman’s cigar-chewing, wisecracking Hound. Still, the character most likely to be beloved by audiences, especially tykes, remains Bumblebee, whose mischievous personality brings much-needed comic relief.
Variety also dropped limited praise on Michael Bay's new, but slightly haphazard, use of Chinese locations and characters - which forms the majority of the film's action sequences.
However, some reviews also paid particular attention to the film's ending, which will apparently take the franchise in an entirely new direction. Without giving too much away, HitFix reviewed:
What I'm really curious about is whether or not they're going to pick up the surprising story threads introduced in the film's final moments when they make the next movie, because it suggests a film that would be utterly unlike anything else in the series so far.
What do you think? Does Transformers: Age of Extinction sound like it's worth the entry ticket?
Based on these reviews, will you be seeing Transformers 4 in theaters?