Transformers 4: What We Learned from Watching It

Transformers 4 Review 8 photos
Photo: Paramount Pictures
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Transformers 4: Age of Extinction is one of those movies that totally lacks substance. Like Avatar, you watch it because “why not, I’ve seen all the commercials and I don’t have anything else to do on a Friday night”. So you sit comfortably in your Imax chair with a big bucket of popcorn for what’s essentially 2 hours and 45 minutes of explosions. Every Michael Bay movie is the same, and every time he makes one we get fooled into watching it anyway. And given the theater was packed, we’re not the only ones.
Cars and Product Placement

There’s no getting around the fact that General Motors has thrown everything at the Transformers franchise from the very beginning. Do robot dinosaurs change anything? No. But a lot of other companies have also gotten involved in a serious manner.

The big surprise for us, the car lovers were, the exotics. For instance, a Lamborghini Aventador makes its appearance right at the beginning of the movie as the car form of Lockdown, the key villainous robot in Age of Extinction. It’s extremely gratuitous, as Lockdown doesn’t actually need to drive around as a car, thus setting the scene for things to come.

Bumblebee plays a less major role, but is given a new, more futuristic form. After watching the movie, we are positively convinced this is a preview for the next Chevrolet Camaro. The headlights and taillights have that squashed look, just like the ones on the 2015 Mustang.

Heck, it’s even got panel lines for the front bumper – there’s no way it’s just another movie car. If we remember correctly, the Corvette Stingray was previewed in the first Transformers movie and should have gone into production two years after that (it was delayed by the banking crisis).

A Pagani Huayra makes its cameo appearance in red and we could have sworn the S-Class Coupe Concept is shown for just a few seconds. The Chinese also try their hand at product placement in T4, with their own luxury sedans (probably from BYD), the Chevy Trax crossover and a bunch of the Audis they so love.

Robots can’t Shoot for S…

There, we said it! There isn’t a single 5-minute sequence in the movie where something doesn’t explode and yet the Transformers never hit their targets. Rockets fly all over the place, but never actually hit anything, which is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like watching cannon fire from the 13th century or fireworks at a Chinese festival – nothing ever flies in a straight line.

Maybe for Transforms 5, Michael Bay can invent some countermeasures or targeting jammers to explain why these gun duels are as weird as they are. There are two other things that bug us, cinematically speaking. One is that slow-motion shots were abused. You can use them once in a while, but not for every single transformation, panning shot or fight.

The other thing they abused is a new special effect where dirt is fling through the air during explosions. Just like every single video game to come out this year features rain, taking advantage of the latest consoles and graphics engines, Age of Extinction has too much dirt in the air. There’s never been a time in our lives where we said “Oh, look at all the dirt in the air. It makes everything look realistic and nice.” If you’re a fan of special effects, 165 minutes of dirt and rockets that miss will leave you feeling numb. And if you’re not, the plot will put you right to sleep.

The Most Shallow Characters Ever

We went to Transformers 4 expecting bad acting and we were not disappointed. You’d think that in a movie almost 3 hours long, they would have the time to create credible “people”, but they didn’t. The relationship between Optimus Prime and Cade (Wahlberg) is actually way better than the one with his daughter, which is a generic protector-protectee.

Played by 19YO Nocola Peltz, Wahlberg’s daughter is extremely hot, but all she does is throw tantrums and scream “Dad!” all the time. In that sense, she’s like a younger, blonder, slightly thinner version of Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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