EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE
Asking me to review a Michael Bay Transformers movie is like asking me to review a firework show where I was seated two feet away from where the rockets are launched and some frat bro is talking about how hot of a professor he has. And keep in mind, I actually LIKE Michael Bay. Confused? So was I when I saw Pain & Gain and thought it was one of the best films to come out in its debut year. Hell I even liked last year’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, propaganda warts and all. Honestly, I’ve always felt the Transformers films have held Bay back from his true potential, because he seriously does not give ounce of a fuck about these films.
I liked the first film that came out in 2007…okay it was immature as hell, but it was at the very least remotely watchable. The sequels progressively got worse, to the point I wasn’t sure if Bay was pulling some The Producers-style gambit to purposely make the worst movie imaginable so Paramount would release him from contractual obligations. But he seems geared up to make a spin-off starring Bumblebee…somehow, so some hopes were high going into this movie. After all, how bad could it be?
….Fuck. Just…just fuck. I want that word to just sum up my thoughts, because this movie was like having Michael Bay vomit diarrhea laced with bath salts and meth into your screaming mouth. To hell with giving you a plot synopsis, because I’m 100% certain I understood what the high holy hell was going half the time. Fire is everywhere. Dialogue is barked at you, not spoken between characters. Lens flare and explosions raging everywhere. Major plot details are presented and immediately forgotten about with each passing second. There’s no cohesion to scenes. Fire is everything. Marky Mark talks shit to the only other adult woman in this movie so you know they’re going to hook up in the last five minutes. I am one with the fire, the fire is all, let it burn everything and…sorry, this movie was a two hour and 39 minute nostril fuck to my sanity. Everything is a little crazy in my mind right now.
Okay, I’m going to attempt to impart to you what I saw as best as I can recall. Don’t worry about spoilers because 1) I don’t remember much with all the sensory overload and 2) not one fucking bit of it matters a goddamn thing. Any who, our film starts with explosions in the Dark Ages (because why the fuck not?) and King Arthur and his knights are busy holding the Saxons at bay as they wait for their court sorceror, Merlin. Merlin (Stanley Tucci) is a drunk fraud who discovered a group of robotic knights who pleads with them to save his king’s life, and they team up to save Arthur and all of England with it. And…no it’s alright, I’m still reviewing Transformers, I’m not incorrectly remember the failed King Arthur movie from last month; this is literally how this goddamn film begins.
From there, we follow the events of the last movie where Optimus Prime (Peter Culling) launched his ass off into space to kill his creators because…reasons. Apparently, his ass got as far as somewhere before Jupiter, because he remains lost and adrift for what seems like ages. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yeager (Mark Whalberg) is busy protecting the Autobots, a group of robots that can transform into vehicles and like humans, from humans who want to kill them because more and more Transformers come to the planet every day in a stark metaphor for Trump’s immigration policy. While trying to save one such Autobot, Marky Mark gets two objects: a nifty talisman that protects him and a tomboyish girl played by Isabela Moner. Yes I’m calling the girl an object because she’s not a character, she’s a kid who appears for a grand total of 15 minutes of screentime before the movie follows Marky Mark in a National Treasure-esqe hunt to save the world by uncovering a mystical object with the help of Sir Anthony Fuck-Muthering Hopkins and a British clone of Megan Fox played by Laura Haddock.
What is the point of this mystical object? Apparently, it’s the reason Transformers keep coming to Earth after all these years…and we have now waited five freaking films to reveal this not-insignificant plot point. I’m sorry did I say plot? In a Michael Bay Transformers movie? I mean concept, because this film is a loose series of scenes stitched together as elegantly as Leatherface’s…well face. This is just random shit upon random edited more poorly than Batman v. Superman, which had an original cut that was a crime onto nature itself. There’s no flow to any of these scenes, events occur haphazardly and almost at random. In the time frame of an hour, we go from a junkyard in North Dakota to an English castle to London to under the sea in a WWII submarine to a spaceship hidden deep below the depths of the ocean. In between these transitions, we have soldiers barking orders to each other, scientists lamenting our planet’s destruction, and John Turturo being shoved into random scenes in Cuba for no other reason than for Michael Bay to crank up the sunlight.
Hell, even certain set pieces don’t make a lick of goddamn sense and are stripped of any goddamn origniality. The movie decides to rip off Suicide Squad (of all things) by introducing the villains of the movie, the Decepticons, with unique fonts for each one with names like Mohawk (because he has a mohawk and talks in ebonics because lol racism if funny to Michael Bay) and Nitro Zeus. I’m not making that shit up. You might be thinking I had a stroke as I wrote this, and the random jumble of words you’re seeing are the resulting cry for help, but no! There’s a fucking Decepticon called Nitro Zeus in this movie. And none of these character introductions meant dick because half of them got killed off within 10 minutes of their first appearance.
Set transitions have no logic to them either. We go from an abandoned small town (no tall buildings in sight) to a sprawling abandoned city with homeless people prowling the floors. A random android appears out of nowhere to Mark Whalberg, with no connection to this character beforehand, and demands he goes to London immediately to which he strangely agrees. Also, Laura Haddock and Mark Whalberg change outfits about six times within an hour seemingly from the ether or right out of their ass, which is the where the rest of this script was pulled from. And hey why not consider these numerous, flat, uninteresting stereotypes we’re forced to call characters as the dingle berries that were pulled from the ass hairs of the screenwriter.
Every good Transformer in this movie talks in a stereotypical accent for no damn reason: one called Hot Rod talks with a comical French accent that even John Cleese would find offensive; another called Hound (voided by John Goodman) talks like a NASCAR loving American who smokes cigars (because Michael Bay does not know how robots work); and you have Drift (voiced by Ken Watanabe) who looks like a Samurai and talks in a thick Japanese accent. Again, because Michael Bay has the maturity level of a 4th Grader and thinks accents are the funniest thing in the goddamn world. Oh yeah, and Steve Buscemi lends his voice in one random ass scene because he apparently owed Michael Bay a favor for something.
You may have noticed big names portraying a plethora of characters right? Too bad most of their scenes are limited to a grand total of five minutes of screen time a piece. Honestly, we spend a lot of time of Bumblebee (who’s voice box is still broken since the second one of these miserable films), Marky Mark, Laura Haddock, and Sir Anthony Hopkins (to the point I forgot there were any Transformers in this film called “TRANSFORMERS”). Hopkins is here to serve the role of a respectable casting choice being pathetically wasted in yet another Transformers movie (see Leonard Nimoy in Dark of the Moon). He does get to deliver a comically bad line in the proud tradition of Morgan Freeman in Wanted saying “SHOOT THIS MUTHAFUCKA,” by saying “That’s a bitchin’ ride.” He also gets to call Marky Mark “dude” if that’s something you’ve waited you’re entire life to hear from the legendary actor.
Now the Transformers fans (insane as they are) may be curious as to why I have not even mentioned Optimus Prime’s transformation into a bad guy. SPOILER ALERT (if you actually give a fuck) because Optimus Prime’s screentime is limited to 14 seconds in the beginning of the movie and the last ten minutes of the movie. His role as an “antagonist” lasts all of five minutes…that’s it. Fucking Vin Diesel had a more complex turn to the dark side in Fate of the Furious, this movie didn’t even TRY to play up this plot concept at all. It’s just another toy for Michael Bay to flaunt on screen before getting bored and moving on to the next explosion because he lost his Ritalin.
The tragic stupidity of these Transformers movies is that they all feel like “reboots” of each other. Every sequel reveals that the Transformers were involved in multiple events across history, and not one of these movies capitalizes on a single idea. Hell, this movie implies that several heroes across time (including Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas) were members of the Witwickian Order that Shia LaBeouf’s useless character was unknowingly a part of. The movie also flashes back to a period of World War II where Bumblebee was killing Nazis…and a pocket watch assassinated Hitler. The very concept of Harriet Tubman employing Autobots to assist her in freeing slaves is patently fucking insane, but it’s merely name dropped and quickly forgotten. Because that’s not important to Michael Fucking Bay.
What’s important to this man is to shove as much shit as possible on screen in as rapid succession as possible so you can’t say this story makes no sense and you really just want to see the action. To his credit…yes, the action scenes are indeed cool. Hell, I could make out what the hell was going on most of the time compared to chaotic, jumbled mess that was Revenge of the Fallen. But none of it fucking matters because I can’t attach myself to any of it. It’s cool looking shit on screen involving people I don’t give a shit about, in situations I don’t understand, that came about of events that are never properly explained. It’s a light show and nothing more.
And sure, there are people who like this bullshit, but I’m not one of those people. This movie left me drained and exhausted, as if all my senses were slapped with a disembodied elephant dick until I felt nothing at all. The speed at which everything comes at you makes this a mind-numbing experience, so you quickly stop giving a shit as to what is happening on screen. And if you’re the kind of person that likes flashy lights, than this movie will appeal to you. Everyone else will just be bored stiff because nothing goddamn matters.
And yet, against all odds, even with the racist stereotypes, this is Michael Bay’s least offensive Transformers film. It’s not absurdly sexist, hell both Isabela Moner and Laura Haddock look downright Amish next to all the other supermodels that appeared in these movies. And the film doesn’t decide to be a propaganda film for either the US or Chinese military as its predecessors were. So the film managed to lofty feat of not pissing me off…it just bored the ever loving fuck out of me.
I just don’t give a damn about these movies anymore. There’s nothing at all to recommend that I couldn’t recommend you see in far better films. Watch literally anything else this weekend (besides The Book of Henry obviously), because this is movie is straight up…
SOME OL’ BULLSHIT