Sunday, 6 July 2014



Robots In Distress

170 Minutes. Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammar, Stanley Tucci, Ken Watanabe & John Goodman. Director: Michael Bay.

Crash! Bang! Wallop! Michael!? Ok Michael...MICHAEL! Can you let someone else play with your toys now? PLEASE! You've had your fun, we get it. The first 'Transformers' movie was fresh, new and exciting. Whereas even the last one 'Dark Of The Moon', that tried to rip off Pink Floyd was a hell of a lot better than most people saw. Still this new 'Age Of Extinction' (in more ways than one) is more like the second slump of a sequel 'Revenge Of The Fallen' which threw everything at the wall only to have nothing stick. Its even been reported that director Michael Bay screamed in excitement " throw more stuff at him" when he filmed his new star Mark Wahlberg in one of his trademark energy charging then sapping action scenes. What more does he want? Yep Wahlberg is a beefed up Academy upgrade, but Shia is gone along with Rosie and of course Megan Fox who has now reunited and become friends with the man she called a "Nazi" again to play April O'Neal in the new Bay 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' movie...God help that nostalgic childhood dream of mine. When I was a kid it was a tradition at Christmas to tie orange, red, blue and purple bands around snowmen I made. If Bay came round for Christmas dinner he'd probably attach grenades to them all. What happened to this man inbetween all those explosions and sunsets? I mean this is the 'Armaggedon' director who made a decent hit out of the 'Pearl Harbour' misfire. Facing his own apocalypse, the franchise milker on a 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' shore, tide and scale shouldn't be surprised if no one wants a 'Bad Boys 3' anymore...let alone another one of these.

We've had enough! Even Bay can't tell if this a sequel or a reboot anymore (taking Optimus Prime to Counts Kustoms for a pimp my ride paint job doesn't count) new metal robots that change into everything and anything under the sun of the worst product placement you've ever seen since the 'Man Of Steel' was thrown threw every "convenience" store imaginable. Still can they transform into a better movie while we're sipping on those Bud Lights subtly strewn through the streets of downtown Chicago? The answer I'm afraid is...'of course not...are you mad'!? Have you not seen the others? This guys idea of a reboot is a recycle and he's using nothing but scrap metal. At times this franchise doesn't know if it's aerially trying to be 'The Avengers' or their own last movie. Hasbro cartoon fans will be happy to see things like Galvatron and the legendary Dinobots, but even Steven Speilberg-the man that opened 'Jurassic Park'-sitting in the executive producers chair here can't save those things from literally looking prehistoric. Besides they're only here for the last half hour of what seems like three , in what would of been an awesome plot twist and perhaps film saviour if this films hype and trailer didn't act as its own spoiler. We're going to need some more amber and some tinkering around with these short circuit's. The supposedly iconic, metallic symbol of heroism Optimus Prime is out for even more blood rust then his last two executions, whereas Bumblebee's legendary voice-activating car radio seems to be tuned into a new station that's playing the same old record. I don't mean to sting so much but this is what happens when you continue this ridiculous robot racism...I mean this time what was the seriously talented Ken Watanabe thinking? Whereas it may be great to hear the voice of the fondly funny John Goodman but you have to ask why is there a fat robot with a full beard that smokes metal cigars? What does he transform into? Coronary heart disease? There was a digital time where these nuts and bolts switching car gears to new robotic frames where truly the definition of special effects before your eyes...but now all the action happens too quickly before your bleeding brain as Bay crushes over the last bit of real estate he's just ruined whilst thinking he can rewrite not only the laws of physics and the properties of metal, but ancient history too.

Where's LaBeouf too? Just when Shia was maturing into something more than just another Mickey Mouse (just watch 'Lawless' for proof of where his real talent lies) he's gone. Replaced along with the likes of Tyrese Gibson who soldiered on and practically carried the third act of the last film like that Linkin Park songs extended cut. At least the actor/singer can motor on with his 'Fast and Furious' franchise which isn't running out of road like this is running out of metal. I mean I know these films aren't really about the humans but I never thought I'd say I miss Sam's parents. Still there are big names amongst the newcomers who may never read another script again. Wahlberg is an upgrade who could almost convince us he could muscle up and rock em, sock em, knuckle up with the Transformers himself. The Oscar nominated star and 'Ted' franchisee should stick to the comedy gold and cuddly toys from now on and file this one next to his Tim Burton 'Planet Of The Apes' (you would think he would have learned after 'Pain & Gain') because next to the new one and the new 'Godzilla' this is one movie that really needs a real reboot. Then again after all this who would watch it? The big appeal of this movie and best thing isn't even its marquee robot red carpet stars, but some of its co-ones. As the perfect villain Kelsey Grammer gets his 'Boss' on and plays it straight, although it would have been great to see him as a Transformer or using his trademark 'Frasier' charm or crazy Sideshow Bob shouting...then again there's always 'The Expendables 3'. Still, the best thing about this film may just be the great Stanley Tucci who plays a class A bag of you know what. Actor and character have no idea what they've let themselves in for. Credit to Michael Bay for some stunning shots in the sublime Texas, Chicago and Hong Kong locations and some...SOME comedy moments in this dumb fun that looks something between a music video and video game, but its time to evolve the establishing shots and make a transforming transition from the low angle theory. Let this be a lens flare lesson to director of the moment J.J. Abrams. Bay's bold camera work has turned into a self parody between all his pervy angles. If he's not careful soon he'll be shooting porn as well as this metal one...except he'd probably blew up the kitchen sink that was supposed to be fixed. Now that 'Pacific Rim' has shown where the real steel lies in these robot wars its time for some more mettle, less corn and then maybe once again this will be the big cheese, but please not another slice. Optimus is past his prime and that my robotiers is no disguise. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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