The Ninjabot


Posted on June 26, 2014 at 6:33 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson


I had a hard time getting excited going into Transformers: Age of Extinction, but I figured, “Hey, I love Transformers so at the very least I should be able to enjoy the ride.” Boy was I wrong.

The film takes place five years after the Transformers saved the world and destroyed Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. With all the destruction and death surrounding them, the aliens are now seen as a threat and are being hunted down by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) and his shadowy government agency, helped along by the bad Transformer (not Decepticon) Lockdown (Mark Ryan).  Meanwhile, struggling inventor Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) spends his days tinkering with machines, making sure his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) has no social life, and descending further into debt. When Cade stumbles upon Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), it puts them in Attinger’s crosshairs, and forces Optimus, Cade, Tessa, and Tessa’s secret boyfriend/race car driver Shane (Jack Reynor) to go on the run. Being the smart man that Cade is, he quickly uncovers a government wide conspiracy involving Attinger and the tech company/weapons developer KSI, run by Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), who can now make Transformers by repurposing the metal they are made of. The new metal is called “Transformium.” I shit you not. And while Joyce, and to a smaller extent Attinger, are trying to get rich, Lockdown has a more sinister plan to destroy the world.


Did you get all that. As ridiculous as that premise sounds, it’s a hundred times worse in execution. Let me start with the positive. Grammer and Tucci are amazing. When Grammer threatens you, you take him seriously. The gravitas in his voice works wonders when it comes to intimidation, and he has no qualms with what he is doing. On a similar but completely different plane, Tucci’s Joyce fluctuates flawlessly from a Steve Jobs-like douchy tech guru to an arrogant scientist, and finally, to a man way out of his comfort zone. He handles all of these transitions seamlessly, and you never doubt him for a second. These two actors seem to be the only ones who can take the script and improve upon it through a great performance.


The Dinobots are also a cool addition to the franchise. Their designs are interesting and a nice departure from the standard car and plane designs we’re used to seeing. Sadly, they’re barely in the movie, and we’re given next to nothing regarding their back story or who they are. That being said, seeing Optimus Prime riding Grimlock through the streets of Beijing, slashing fools with his sword, is pretty rad.

Now onto the films problems…plural. Let’s start with my biggest complaint, the length. At 165 minutes (2 hours 45 minutes) it is 11 minutes longer than the heavily bloated Dark of the Moon, and you feel every minute of that run time. While a long film isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when it’s poorly paced and the story is weak, it’s a nightmare.


Next up is the acting. I understand that a lot of people are not concerned with this acpect of the film, but it’s worth noting that this is the worst ensemble of the series. With the exception of Grammer and Tucci, the remainder of the cast is dreadful. Wahlberg seems completely lost in the terrible plot, and never pulls off the smart guy persona he’s saddled with. Every time he takes off his glasses to express how smart he is, the audience at my screening laughed at him. Tessa and Shane will leave you wishing for the return of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. The couple lacks any semblance of chemistry while reciting awful lines with all the nuances of a Wooden Indian. Michael Bay even got Optimus Prime all wrong. You could always point to the originals and say that he nailed Optimus Prime, but here Optimus e is uninspiring and often a pessimist who has all but given up.

I think the biggest disappointment was the utter lack of fun this film appears to be having. While the first three films have a lot that can be said against them, they were always fun and action packed. This film goes long stretches with no Transformers, and the visual style is starkly different from the original trilogy of films. It was as if Michael Bay forgot everything he did right in the previous films, but miraculously latched onto all the pitfalls, which is ironic given that a large portion of this film is recycled content. There’s ancient Transformers trapped in the Arctic, an ancient Transformer sect hellbent on destroying the World, and more nameless Decepticons. YAY!


I could go on and on, but it doesn’t matter. This film is review proof and will make over $100 million this weekend on route to making $1 billion worldwide when everything is said done. I just want to emphasize two things: this film bears no resemblance is style, tone, or enjoyment to it’s predecessors, and this film is not for kids. Transformers: Age of Extinction seems hell bent on having their robots use words like bitch, ass, shit, and even one F-bomb. I know a lot of parents will take their kids to see the film, but it has earned it’s PG-13 rating so be wary.

Snackbar’s Grade: D-

Pros – Grammer and Tucci do a lot with the script they’re given, Dinobots are fun and unique.
Cons – Long and poorly paced, atrocious acting throughout, terrible story, rehashed ideas, joyless.

Have you seen the film? Let me know what you thought of the movie in the comment section below.

Follow Snackbar on Twitter @snackie_cakes for all your Geek News

    • Jared

      I wish I could say I’m surprised, but this looked like a stinker from day 1. Might be time for Michael Bay to transform and roll out.

    • Persnickety

      I always hate the argument of “shut your brain off and have fun” If it’s the most expensive movie they should be able to afford the best everything… including writers and actors. Just because a movie costs a ton doesn’t mean it can’t be well made.

    • Chuong Nguyen

      I thought tucci and grammar were horrible in this. the only thing I liked was the action. There were to many dumb sub plots and the story was definitely put together by a think tank of manatees.

      • Snackbar

        Really. Tucci is my favorite actor out there right now. Such a chameleon. I thought Grammer was Sideshow Bob on steroids.

    • Becky

      Just saw it. It SUCKED soooooooooo much!! I agree with Chuong about Grammar, but Tucci was the tits! A shining beacon in an otherwise shit storm.

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