Transformers: Age of Extinction trailer – reaction

With a collective worldwide box office gross of $2.7 billion for the first three films, it looks certain that the fourth film in the Transformers series won’t have to work hard to recoup its  $165 million budget when it is released this summer, despite having having abandoned the recurring characters of the previous films in favour of a new cast. Mark Wahlberg stars as inventor Cade Yeager who finds himself pursued by both the Decepticons and the US Government, and the Autobots find they must ally themselves with the ancient Dinobots in order to save the Earth.

Garry Mac – Plus point: the Transformers themselves look much improved – less a mass of whirring knives and more coherent shapes, which I like. Negatives: pretty much everything else. It looks like it’s going to be the same well-trodden path as before. Also, does Grimlock make any sense in this context, or are they going to explain the Dinobots as having been around on Earth for a very long time. You know, kinda like they did originally with Megatron? Meh.

Having only seen the first movie (and a fraction of the appalling second one), this film really ain’t for me – the “emotional” resonance of Optimus Prime being obsolete will be lost on anyone who isn’t actually a fan of the films, I think. Big movie, big budget, big spectacle, big merchandise. It’ll do very well, I imagine.

Sam Read – I didn’t hate the first Transformers movie. It was what it was; a high budget, low brainpower genuine-article “Blockbuster.” I’ve seen worse from the same league get better receptions and avoid the type of aggressive high-mindedness that greeted it’s arrival in cinemas. Yeah, ok; it’s based on a toy line, but who really gives a damn if it’s entertaining for some of it’s run time? I’d be a massive liar if I said there weren’t moments in the first Transformers I enjoyed; for example, Blackout’s infiltration and decimation of the US military base early in the movie was a well directed piece of action cinema.

The second film unfortunately felt like the sensation you get when you have a nice large lunch, then eat the same thing for dinner; it so much less satisfying the second time around, and certainly more uncomfortably filling. It didn’t stay long in the mind either, and while I can remember some of the more engaging scene from the first film, I literally cannot recall anything of substance from the sequel.

I can’t remember watching the third Transformers film, though my Netflix seems to suggest I have, which I fear says more about my worryingly sieve-like memory than the film.

As for this trailer, well, if you are watching it expecting to get a sneak peak of 2014’s competitor to Citizen Kane, you were clearly out of luck. But then if that is what you were looking for, what are you clicking on the link for? You most likely understood was the third follow up of a movie based around huge robots spanking the engine oil out of each other, and you most likely knew it was going to drip money, explosions, copious segue steadicam shots and (duh) big-ass robots. There are a million other films out this year that you could go enjoy if this ain’t your bag, so go do so.

Watching this trailer with no expectations or preconceptions, letting it just wash over me, you know what I thought? I thought “that’ll all probably look pretty epic on a massive screen.”

The bit where Optimus Prime barrel-rolls out of a barn and blows up some dudes, humans hunting down massive robots and handing them their asses for once, huge ominous space ships descending to Earth, Stanley Tucci; these are all ingredients that decent popcorn movies can be made of. I mean, we get to see Optimus slap a huge mechanical wolf in the face for crying out loud! If you can’t disengage your pretension glad long enough to simply enjoy that as it is, I ask again; WHY ARE YOU EVEN WATCHING THIS TRAILER?

I recently reread Film Crit Hulk’s Never Hate A Movie article from way, way back. When something like this trailer appears, and people swarm out of the woodwork screaming about how it is awful and a plague on cinema, I think it is essential to revisit the sage words of the internet’s only big, green and very angry movie observer. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s totally brilliant.

Nothing about Transformers is built to be Oscar bait, ‘worthy’ or even probably remembered this time next year (when they undoubtedly announce the next in the franchise) but I bet the price of admission that unlike so many other offerings from across all forms of media (film, comics, music, you name it), this movie will more than likely deliver (and in spades) upon both it’s premise and concept. Unlike with a lot of things in this world, if you take it as it is intended, this trailer suggests you’ll get your money’s worth.

Wes May – I’m an eighties kid, so the Transformers films have always appealed to me on the nostalgia level, and as a not-so-closeted nihilist, the epic destruction always gives me a thrill. But can we get one Michael Bay film that isn’t some flag-waving, high gloss travel brochure for heartland America? Or that doesn’t feature the requisite teenage tramp in hot pants with legs up to her eyeballs in it? That said, show me some Dinobots and all is forgiven. I’ll be there with bells on for yet another high calorie two hour cinematic meal… even though I know I’ll just be hungry again an hour later.

Les Anderson – Am trying to find something to say but am utterly indifferent to this. More bangs for your buck and over-fussy design. The only watchable thing in the first film was Shia’s parents and then it all went downhill from there. Sorry.

Michael Flett – I’m not quite sure how it happened, but the Tranformers were never part of my childhood in any way, shape or form, and I don’t feel deprived because of it, possibly because I’m also one of the very few people on the planet who is not obsessed with either automobiles, trucks or robots. When the first film came out, I was aware of many people being very excited and I couldn’t fathom why. I went along, and I was still unable to fathom why, but since the general consensus was that it wasn’t very good that wasn’t a problem.

Then came the second film, Revenge of the Fallen, and the promises it would be better – no, it was worse, indescribably so. It was two and a half wretched hours of loud, brash, obnoxious industrial noise with people shouting at each other to be heard over it. There is no point in the entire film where anyone has a conversation, all the dialogue is conducted as an argument, as a competition to see who can shout loudest. Hmm, I wonder why I didn’t bother with the third film?

Yet this… doesn’t seem so bad. It doesn’t have Shia LaBeouf, which can only be a blessing as he has been a blemish on the face of cinema in everything he has been involved in. There seems to be a plot beyond repeated collisions of large objects. There appears to be some downtime on the farm, a pleasant twilight with a shooting star going by overhead. This seems to be more Superman than Transformers. And Mark Wahlberg can act, although it should be emphasised that he doesn’t always exercise that right.

And when the crunch arrives, the effects look suitably impressive; utterly appalling as it was as a work of cinema, Pacific Rim was technically superior in every way to Transformers in that the Jaegers had both scale and heft to them, and the FX team seem to have worked to make these mechanical beasts more realistic.

But still, that name, Michael Bay, who has proven himself time and again of being congenitally unable to create good cinema, the man who inflicted Armageddon upon the world, jingoistic, anti-intellectual, over-hyped, testosterone fuelled, idiot baiting drivel that it was. Remember this is the man who gave us Pearl Harbour. This is the man who gave us The Island. He deserves no mercy and no support.

Kevin Gilmartin – Let me say first of all that as a child of the eighties I love the original Transformers. I wasn’t blown away by the first live action movie, but I don’t think it was appalling as a lot of people make out. Rise of the Fallen was poor and the worst of the three in my book, as I thought Dark of the Moon was very slightly better – not much, but slightly. I think Leonard Nimoy raised the bar on it a bit.

The thing I’ve never quite liked about the new Transformers is the modern styled Optimus Prime – the original Prime is a childhood hero of mine and these new guys just ain’t him. So the first thing that struck me was the the old wreck being towed into Wahlberg’s garage – it was a flat nosed cab truck, just like the eighties version of Optimus Prime! A nice nod to the veteran fans. With the truck being colourless I expected it to be Ultra Magnus, but the trailer seems to suggest that it is in fact Prime in disguise. Oh, well.

The plot seems to be “Humans decide they don’t need Autobots anymore. Humans kick Autobots out. Decepticons attack Earth. Autobots come back and save humans.” Umm… didn’t we just do that in Dark of the Moon?

I could be wrong and the trailer could be leading us a merry dance, but let’s be honest – Bay isn’t exactly known for subtlety and misdirection. That said, as Michael Bay trailers go – and especially as Transformers trailers go – it was pretty subdued. I expected more explosions.

It was nice to see a Dinobot, albeit briefly. If it is Grimlock then anyone familiar with the franchise won’t be surprised to see him fighting Prime; he did always think he should be the leader of the Autobots and eventually reluctantly accepted Prime’s leadership.

I’ll probably watch this when it comes out on disc or Netflix, but thanks to its predecessors the trailer doesn’t have me super-excited; certainly not enough to spend money going to see it in the cinema.

Matthew Rutland – Whilst I didnt like either the second movie and the first half of the third which was all I could stomach, this does look to at least address some of the faults lain at Michael Bay’s door for the franchise. Whilst Megan Fox had many detractors, the removal of her and replacement in Rosie Huntington-Whitely (not the worst thing from Plymouth, admittedly) only went to show that at least Megan had at least a meagre portion of talent that Rosie was sadly lacking.

The introduction of Mark Wahlberg in this new film, who alongside Dwayne Johnson seems to be Hollywood’s go-to guy for saving franchises, at least looks to be part of an effort give us some new characters and some actual story rather than just pure pre-teen boy fodder. Some say Transformers is for science fiction what Twilight is for horror, and we may be past the tipping point of retrieval but at least this looks like being a positive move, and the introduction of the Dinobots, if far removed from their original appearance, looks set to breathe life into the series. Only time will tell if its breathing into dead lungs.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is scheduled for release on 27th June



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