None of this makes any sense, but damn it looks fantastic!
Transformers Age of Extinction, aka Transformers 4, is basically a tech demo for the IMAX 3D format. Only seconds into the nearly 3-hour movie, many in the audience were gasping with awe. Are movies supposed to look this amazing? And when they do, can we forgive basically everything else about them? Follow along as I “live blog” Transformers 4: Age of Extinction. (I’ve left out spoilers, and made up most of the times since I didn’t actually write this in the movie.)
7:00 — The screening is about to start, but it’s the IMAX at The Metreon in San Francisco, and a couple dozen people are still standing on the staircases, thinking they’ll get to watch the movie from there. Everyone is raising hands to show where there are available seats. A woman behind me is yelling at her kids to sit down, and her kids are across the theater. I hope they sit down through the movie or this shouting will get annoying.
7:15 — A voice comes over the microphone reminding us to dim and silence our cell phones. He says that this is a “very long movie,” and some people cheer for this. He explains where the exits are, and then the lights go down.
7:16 — They show us a trailer for the movie we’re about to see. It spoils the most exciting surprise of the entire film. Of course it does.
7:18 — Damn, this looks amazing. There’s a flyover scene reminiscent of the classic Star Wars opening, and there are tons of ships approaching earth, and now we’re on earth and there are dinosaurs being destroyed by a crashing spaceship, and holy crap these IMAX 3D cameras are doing some amazing work. This movie was shot with IMAX cameras, and fills the screen more than half the time. It’s totally worth it. If you’re not seeing this in a real IMAX theater, I don’t know why you’d see it.
7:25 — We’re in Texas now, and we’re being introduced to “Cade Yeager,” which, of course that’s his name. He’s played by Mark Wahlberg doing Mark Wahlberg stuff, including being a jealous father of his hot teenage daughter, Tessa (played by Nicola Peltz), who is actually called a “hot teenager” whose “shorts are getting shorter all the time” in the movie. They shoot through her legs a bunch of times. In IMAX 3D. Michael Bay doing Michael Bay stuff.
7:33 — It’s clear now that Kelsey Grammer and the doggedly antagonistic State’s Attorney from The Good Wife are the bad guys here, playing two CIA agents who have teamed up with an evil Transformer to eliminate both the Autobots and the Decepticons, bringing peace to the world and a bunch of money into their pockets from Stanley Tucci, who’s discovered something called Transformium, which I think is the “midichlorians” of this movie.
7:37 — Secret boyfriend is revealed, and he’s Irish, and he carries around a card with the Texas “Romeo and Juliet” law allowing him to “date” a teenager. (I looked this up. That law just means he just doesn’t have to register as a sex offender. No matter, because Age of Consent in Texas is 17, anyway, which her character is said to be. So they just threw this in there because they thought it was funny, not to be accurate. Great statutory rape joke, guys!) Mark Wahlberg hates him, natch. When in this movie will he finally respect him? End of act 2? Beginning of act 3? What’s your guess?
7:51 — Why does the Japanese samurai robot turn into a Bugatti and not a Japanese car? Too obvious? And why did they spend so much time on getting the other robots to look great, and make this robot look so fake?
8:04 — We get introduced to the movie’s MacGuffin, something called The Seed, and we still haven’t been told what it does, just that everyone wants it.
8:22 — This scene is giving me vertigo.
8:31 — The human characters just got saved by the Transformers again, again while falling, again by being grabbed by a Transformer out of mid-air. These are not real world physics.
8:40 — A car the humans were in just flew through the air, crashed a bunch of times, and rolled, and the humans jumped out and ran away.
8:52 — Don’t ask me questions like “Why do they keep putting themselves into these crazy situations when real people would be in the hospital by now?” If this stuff didn’t happen to them, the movie wouldn’t be about them. No one is going to make a movie about the woman whose living room they crash into while fighting on the side of a giant apartment building in a scene that looks absolutely freaking amazing in IMAX 3D.
9:00 — The scene I am watching right now will figuratively blow your mind when you see it. It’s both incredibly creative and physically impossible. Looks fantastic. I want to watch the 40-minute highlights cut of this film.
9:15 — Here’s the thing the trailer spoiled. Everyone is cheering.
9:30 — Why are they destroying the city they’re trying to save? Oh yeah, it’s a modern action movie.
9:55 – Imagine Dragons is playing over the credits. Thank goodness this is over. There’s only so much robotic carnage I can take, even if it’s the best looking robotic carnage I’ve ever seen.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction is playing now, everywhere, but I strongly recommend seeing it at the AMC Metreon or the Regal Hacienda IMAX theaters.