Transforming ground zero

BY MATTHEW BYRD | JULY 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Audience vs. film director Michael Bay: An indictment for numerous counts of crimes against the audience’s humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Count 1: Adding a fourth film to a franchise that has become the embodiment of every evil in modern Hollywood, from egregious product placement (ramped up to 11 in this film), to rampant misogyny, to dizzyingly incoherent mise en scène, and beyond.

Count 2: Making Mark Wahlberg, a man who, for all his talent, is utterly incapable of playing a man who did not originate and spend a good deal of his life within 200 miles of the Massachusetts Bay area, play a Texan robotics geek with the boundlessly stupid name, Cade Yaeger.

Count 3: Cade Yaeger? Cade. aeger.

Count 4: Opening the movie with Wahlberg berating an insultingly stereotypical gay man. Oh, Michael Bay, you comedian, you. 

Count 5: The “plot.”

Count 6: Extortion. Torture. Kidnapping, or whatever videotape of depraved acts you used to blackmail talented, non-hack actors such as Stanley Tucci*, Kelsey Grammer, John Goodman, and Ken Wantanabe into abandoning any sense of artistic integrity or shame they may have once possessed in order to become puppets in this carnival show of horrors. I just hope the blood money they received was ample compensation.

Count 7: Jack Reynor, the older boyfriend of Wahlberg’s only daughter who drives race cars and is hated by Wahlberg in the year’s most original plotline, clearly being unable to do a discernable accent. I mean seriously, what the hell is it supposed to be? Australian? Texan? Vaguely Afrikaner? I guess he’s supposed to be Irish because Wahlberg keeps referring to him as “Lucky Charms” (Ha).

Count 8: Oh, there’s a female character in this film who is basically just there to be fought over by her father and her boyfriend. Cool.

Count 9: For being completely FUBAR when it comes basic pacing and editing skills. The film runs for 168 minutes (ONE-HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT MINUTES), which is about an hour too long and has about five to six sequences that would’ve qualified for an ending in essentially any other normal film, but Transformers decides to keep going, keep shoving down more explosions, more gunfights, more car chases down the audience’s throat in a manner similar to slapped by a cold fish every five minutes. 

Count 9A: Note: The audience won’t be impressed by a building being smashed to oblivion by a fallen Transformer when they’ve seen two Transformers destroy buildings and create a fireball two minutes before.

Count 9B: A film called Age of Extinction, which was, as one of its main draws, supposed to feature Dinobots, using them for five minutes at the end of the film and refusing to explain or characterize them in any way.


Count 10: Taking Chicago, one of the world’s greatest metropolises, and featuring it in a film that has all the entertainment value of contracting Ebola.

Count 11: Crafting a film that will inevitably be used to torture political dissidents in repressive dictatorships.

Recommended Punishment: Partially based on the suggestion from an amicus brief filed by the wonderful British film critic Mark Kermode, Bay should be forced to give the proceeds from the film to Tucci, Grammer, Wantanabe, and Goodman to make the greatest art-house film ever made.

* Tucci was kind of funny, so I guess that was sort of OK.

Final Verdict: 0 out of 5 Stars

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