No, I am probably not going to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. I’ve only bothered to watch the first Transformers film, and I half watched Revenge of the Fallen on TV last night. It’s probably not terribly shocking, but I don’t enjoy Michael Bay movies that much. I think he has a knack for making action scenes dull, boring and chaotic, and his dialogue is notorious for being poorly written, immature, and dumb. My opinions won’t stop this flick from making well over $500 million at the Box Office though, so who really gives a care? Honestly, I don’t really care that much. If your movie has an audience, play to that audience and enjoy the rewards that are sure to come with it. Just because I don’t like the Transformers movies doesn’t mean that they are terrible. In terms of something meant solely to serve as a functioning cog in some big machine, Transformers films work masterfully. It’s a committee-made Summer blockbuster aimed at making the studio heaps of money. But, because of that very fact, the movie and its director get away with having to do very little in the realm of creativity, and that is where I start getting frustrated. Now, I’ve made a checklist of expectations based on my limited experience with Michael Bay films. If you do plan on seeing Age of Extinction, do me a solid and let me know how close my assumptions are.
Transformers: Age of Extinction Checklist
• Introductory voice over by Optimus Prime.
• A plot revolving around some sort of physical object that both the Autobots and Decepticons are trying to get a hold of. Extra points if this object is small in size.
• Some kind of government conspiracy or military subplot.
• An explosion-filled action sequence in which Transformers fight in a city.
• Closing voice over by Optimus Prime.
• A lead character that is down on their luck or struggling to make ends meet.
• An attractive female character included merely to serve as eye candy. Extra points if she: 1. Always has perfect makeup. 2. Is shown moving in slow motion. 3. Gets an unnecessarily large amount of camera time focusing on either her legs or butt.
• Some hapless, annoying, loud, idiotic character that adds nothing to the group. Probably like a brother, sister, friend, boyfriend or girlfriend type character that is attached somehow to one of the lead characters.
• A witty, loud, government business-type character that comes in as someone who already has knowledge about the plot.
• A scene that involves a tiny Transformer sneaking around humans.
• Excessive usage of both slow motion and explosions. (I’ll go ahead and give myself points for this already)
• A shot in which the camera is on the ground looking up at someone as they get out of a car.
• A shot in which the camera circles nonstop around two people having a conversation.
• Sexual innuendos.
• Race and gender related jokes or stereotypes.
• Glory shots of cars. (This is expected though because of product placement)
• Use of a Dutch angle or tilted camera.
• Some moment in an action sequence when all the noise drops out or becomes muffled. Extra points if there is also a high-pitched tone.
• The end credits play over some horribly generic pop-rock song.
Now, I understand that every director gets comfortable and develops tendencies. Tarantino will always rely on some gory finale (with the exception of my favorite Jackie Brown). Peter Jackson over-embellishes action sequences. Abrams lens flares. Spielberg sentimentality. Cuarón tracking shots. My only argument is that at least those directors direct creatively while Bay seems content to do the same thing over and over again. Is there anything wrong with that? No. Does it annoy me like no other? You betcha.