“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is set to destroy the box office this weekend, even as critics are destroying it in their reviews.
With a measly 17 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the fourth installment in the Paramount franchise directed by Michael Bay may go down as the “worst” one yet — at least, in the eyes of people who care about story, plot, character arcs and stuff like that.
But if ticket sales for previous “Transformers” movies prove one thing, it’s that a surprisingly small population of moviegoers do actually care about stuff like that, so expect the majority of audiences to thoroughly enjoy Optimus Prime riding a robotic dinosaur around town to thwart the end of the human race.
For those who don’t plan on dishing out dozens of dollars to sit through the 166-minute CGI spectacle of cinematic destruction, there’s still a way you can enjoy it, and that’s by reading about why it’s as awful as you expect it to be.
Here are 10 brutal blurbs from critics bashing “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
TheWrap critic Alonso Duralde:
“The film suffers from the usual migraine-inducing editing that renders all of Bay’s cinematic output so singularly unwatchable. Even with all this cutting, ‘Age of Extinction’ lasts a posterior-punishing 165 minutes, which is a lot of time to spend watching Wahlberg give his most embarrassing performance since ‘The Happening,’ [Nicola] Peltz becoming another in the franchise’s series of pneumatic sex-doll heroines, and Stanley Tucci as a Steve Jobs type who yells things like ‘Algorithms! Math!’ at his underlings … It’s no doubt going to be good for business, but it’s yet another paper-cut on the soul of the movies.”
Seattle Times critic Soren Anderson:
“Hello, police? I’d like to report an assault. Where? Down at the MegaGigaGrandePlex, and it’s still going on. Come quick! I barely escaped with my life. The perp? Michael Bay. He gave me a full-body beatdown. His weapon? ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction.'”
Vulture critic David Edelstein:
“‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ is nearly three %$^&%!!# hours, and they’re brain-freezing. Ehren Kruger is credited with the screenplay, and if I were him, I’d have gone with a pseudonym — say, Optimus Prime. The kindest thing I can say about the script is that it’s incoherent … If you do see it, I suggest you savor each image on its own terms as a work of CGI art. Dig the bombardment. Forget trying to figure out who’s zapping whom and why. Free your mind — or risk having it transformed into porridge.
BuzzFeed critic Alison Willmore:
“So many things are laughably out of the blue. For example, this installment has been heralded for including the arrival of the Dinobots, supersized Transformers who turn into dinosaurs instead of vehicles or appliances for … some reason, probably. Transformers: Age of Extinction even starts out with a Prometheus-like flashback to prehistoric times that shows spaceships causing an early extinction event. Ah, you think, an origin story — but no, when the Dinobots appear, they’re in no apparent way linked, and even other Transformers are surprised when one turns into a T-rex. Their fate at the end of the movie is priceless, but not as funny as when one character suddenly reveals an ability to fly that would have come in handy earlier.”
“I wasn’t paying enough attention to the words people said or names or anything else that came from a mouth onscreen. That’s because with the exception of Stanley Tucci (as a weird Steve Jobs-like thing) shouting, ‘ALGORITHMS! MATH!’ complications like explanatory talky-talk never matter in any film by Michael Bay. Pretty much all the dialogue here sounds like this: ‘AKKKKKKflumpq[oihtnj/jvalj’jinokqrmBUDLIGHTjnvocickjldsaoi0u9qtu8erhnbe90g49`p*^*&^&^%
Reelviews critic James Berardinelli:
“Michael Bay has often said how he loves to ‘blow things up real good.’ Well, if that’s his desire in life, there’s little doubt that he tops himself in ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction.’ This is as excruciating a movie as is likely to be experienced by anyone, anywhere. It isn’t merely that the story is insulting, the characters are bland, the action is dull, and the CGI is everywhere — it’s that all this goes on for nearly three hours. That’s three hours of your life you’ll never get back.”
USA Today critic Scott Bowles:
“Wahlberg, in particular, is given little to embody a robotic role desperate for a human touch. Instead, he wields one-liners as if he’s performing on open-mic night. Like most Bay women, Cade’s daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) is asked simply to pout and wear short shorts. Her boyfriend, the smug 20-year-old Shane (Jack Reynor), provides attempted comic relief, explaining to dad that he’s been sleeping with his daughter since she was a sophomore in high school, so the statutory rape thing is cool.”
Philadelphia Inquirer critic David Hiltbrand:
“‘Age of Extinction’ should carry a new parental warning: May cause hearing damage. Actually, director Michael Bay‘s fourth heavy-metal installment is sensory overload in every sense. Noise, action, rubble. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so punishingly long – 2 hours and 45 minutes of furious pandemonium. You leave the cineplex feeling bludgeoned.”
Badass Digest critic Devin Faraci:
“Sitting through ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ is like binge-watching the death of the human spirit. It is a crushing and relentless experience, one where even the comedic relief bits are nihilistically hateful. In between these cruel and unfunny segments are boring and repetitive action scenes, sequences that feel unmoored from space-time itself. The whole movie is basically a giant f–king disaster, and it’s about two and a half hours long to boot.”
The Verge critic Bryan Bishop:
“Distractions, meanwhile, abound, whether they’re music-heavy slow-motion sequences that look reminiscent of ‘CSI: Miami’ or absurd product placement. The lingering close-up of a Beats Pill speaker is especially egregious. And then there are the self-referential scenes in which an older character, who once owned a movie theater, laments the current state of cinema: All these sequels, and they’re all just garbage, the man sighs. It might be funnier if it weren’t so true.”