Transformers 4: Age of Extinction hit theaters this weekend and it has been a polarizing film to say the least. It seems people either loved it and saw it as the redemption of the franchise, or people hated it. I personally enjoyed it and wrote a Top 10 Article about the depth of some plot points; but I can definitely admit that there were some drawbacks to the film.
As such, here is the Top 7 things that need the most fixing, didn’t make sense, or just otherwise hurt my head.
7. Transformium . . . . REALLY?
In what is possibly the dumbest named material since James Cameron’s Avatar gave us “Unobtainium”, we now have the rare metal known as ‘Transformium’. Really? TRANSFORMium? Nice to see there were no sleepless nights pondering over that one.
To make matters worse, the transformation graphic for man-made Transformers was awful. Yes, it was helpful in showing where they came from and making them distinct; but there was no need to make the transformation different. It just came across as one large cost/time-saving method. They weren’t even Transformers any more. They were more like … Reassemblers. If you’re going to make a TRANSFORMERS movie and name the material their made of TRANSFORMIUM you better have them actually TRANSFORM – not reassemble like a swarm of LEGOs.
6. HOW are they alive?:
There are countless times throughout the movie when a Transformer is holding a human and crashes through something. Sometimes the person is cradled in their arms or the Transformer turns to the side to take the brunt of the impact. Though other times the person is fully exposed and is even shown crashing into objects, overpasses, buildings, etc first. It’s like the Transformers grabbed them just to have a pair of human brass knuckles.
Though it’s not just the people who survive contrary to all physical and rational expectations. After the fight with Lockdown we saw Optimus grab Cade, Tessa and Shane and fly away to safety before the entire facility exploded. The problem with this scene – besides Optimus suddenly gaining the ability to fly – was that Bumblebee was in this scene as well; yet his escape isn’t mentioned, shown, or explained.
Optimus’s sudden ability to fly could be explained by his new Knight of Cybertron armor; but it’s Bumblebee’s escape that truly baffles us. The explosion was so large that Optimus couldn’t run away or transform and drive off. So how could Bumblebee survive the blast?
Dear Michael Bay, if you are going to have so many ‘close calls’/’rescue shots’, please make sure they are at least halfway believable!
5. Product Placements:
One of the first things you learn while studying Communications and Media Studies is the idea of Product Placement. These are important add ins for the movie/ TV/ radio where you seamlessly insert a product in order to promote it without seeming like you are promoting it. A good example for the Transformer’s franchise is how Bumblebee is a 2014 Chevy Camaro. People love Bumblebee and the car, so it promotes Chevy. Sadly, their product placement didn’t end there.
Product placements are meant to be seamless; but there were so many out of place/annoying placements in this film that all it did was add to the movie length. It’s impossible for me to go into all the over the top placements; but let me give you some examples. Remember when Cade and his family were doing recon work with the Autobots and Shane and Tessa come back with the stuff they stole? That whole mouth wash bit is a prime example of this. It was unnecessary and just wasted time.
Though the more apparent use of this had to be when Cade and them are fleeing Lockdowns ship, crash into someone car and Cade starts arguing with some guy. During this scene, the camera actually pans over to focus on all the spilled beer bottles from an overturned Bud Lite truck. Cade then picks up one of the beers, pops the top of the guys smashed car, drinks it and then pours it all over the place.
Yes, product placement is an important part of the movie business; but DON’T make product placements that apparent unless you’re doing a parody of it like 30 Rock did with Snapple. The best product placements are subtle – like James Bond and Aston Martins – ; but if you’re going to add scenes to the movie just so you can incorporate beer, mouthwash, milk, oreos, protein powder . . . . Well, you’re going to lose more people then you gain.
4. Using the Romeo & Juliet Law:
One if the most random inclusions in the film was the whole scene where we learn that 17 year old Tessa is dating 20 year old Shane. In the film, apparently the age of consent is 18 in Texas rather than the usual 17 in other states, which makes this situation considered statutory rape due to the age difference and Tessa not being the legal age of consent.
The young couple then goes in to detail that they are protected under the Romeo and Juliet Law, which protects couples in cases like these if they started dating while both were under the age of consent. This would mean that Shane and Tessa started dating when they were 17 and 14 respectively. Now whether a 17 and 14 year old dating seems creepy to you or not, that’s all besides the point because there a much bigger issue at hand.
WHY couldn’t you just make her 1 year older? – Or Shane a few years younger? If Tessa was 18 there wouldn’t be a problem and we could just move along. Sadly, they had to make the 19 year old Nicola Peltz play a 17 year old; and make us waste time on explaining away statutory rape when they could have just avoided the problem all together.
Now as I said earlier, apparently in the film the ‘age of consent’ in Texas is quoted as 18, not 17. Maybe the law changed while the movie was being film to now; but as of 2014 the age of consent in Texas in 17. If the law changed between filming and release, it could have easily been removed. They could have even just made Tessa a year older. Either way this whole scene is pointless and could have been easily avoided. That’s time that could have been much better spent explaining one of the other complex plot lines – rather than adding a new problem that had to be reconciled.
3. WAY Too Long:
It seems like each new Transformers movie adds about 10 minutes to its predecessors runtime. Now even though this film was about a half hour longer than the first Transformers film, it seemed like an hour longer. Whether it was the long stretches of darkness followed by blinding flashing lights or all the filler moments; but this film seemed extremely long.
Again, I liked the film; but I felt there were a lot of filler moments that could have easily been cut out or at least shortened. Though in the end, it seems like the only things that were edited out weren’t the filler-moments . . . but rather the explanations we so desperately needed.
2. Lack of Explanations:
Cyberforming the Earth. Knights of Cybertron. Megatron infecting and leading his own ressurection. Is it just me or do you feel like there was a lot of things that were ridiculously complicated and given no explanation? I just wrote an article explaining most of these and let me tell you, it was not easy to piece this together.
It felt like a Bourne movie where you literally have to pay attention to every second to get everything out of it. The only difference is that in Bourne movies you get that explanation in the end. Further more Bourne is a political/action thriller. Transformers is just for fun. There can be depth to storylines without having them so overly complex you forget what’s going on. Marvel Studios does it all the time.
In short: I like what you did. I like the references you were trying to make. I just didn’t like how you did it.
1. Lack of Dinobots:
Have you ever seen a movie trailer for a comedy and thought ‘WOW, this movie looks hilarious’; and then you go there and the only funny parts of the movie were all used already in the trailer. Well, yah. Transformers 4: Age of Extinction kind of did the same thing with the Dinobots.
Ever since we got our first teaser trailer for this film, the big draw was of course the Dinobots. Whether the movie was good or bad, fans of all ages would want to come and see some of their favorite Transformers finally make it to the big screen. From Optimus and Grimlock fighting to them all teaming up in the city and on the bridge, we basically saw every scene with the Dinobots in the trailers – or at least 70%.
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking there should have been more Dinobot screen time. Hopefully – BIG hopefully – they will resurface in the next two installments for longer periods. These are such great characters and whether they’re talking or just smashing everything around them, more Dinobots. I gotta have more Dinobots!
So there you have it. The Top 5 things that even I – someone who enjoyed the movie – felt could have been much better in this film. From the annoying to the painful, these are all issues that at the very least have to be addressed before the next film. Maybe a new writer? I mean Ehren Kruger wrote this and the past two films. His stuff is getting better; but it still has a lot of room for growth.
So what did you guys like/dislike about the film? Sound off in the comments to let me know.