you're reading...
FILM ANALYSIS, My Takes on... Popular Film & Television Franchises

Examining ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ (2014): Not a Review

The most excruciating yet amusing “movie-homework” I’ve ever done.

In light of Michael Bay’s fifth (5th!) upcoming robot-sex movie, Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), I thought it appropriate to look back on Bay’s previous work on the franchise that has become synonymous with big, loud, brain-dead Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking, as well as obnoxious product placement and blatant, shameless international pandering. I have made my thoughts on the franchise and its imitators crystal clear for some time, but thought I’d share my observations on several prominent trends in Age of Extinction (2014), which have not surprisingly become more prevalent in Hollywood as a whole.

The accompanying photograph contains tallies of the number of times Age of Extinction features product placement, gratuitous, sexualized shots of female actresses (i.e. objectification), depicts an American flag, and panders to the People’s Republic of China. Oh, and it also counts each time star Mark Wahlberg mentions that he’s an inventor. Because inventing = smart.

For those who cannot read my handwriting, here is an edited text transcript:

  • Product Placement [# different ads/scene; multiple shots of same product within same scene count as single PP]: 45
  • Sexual Objectification Shots [# pervy shots/scene (total shots)]: 8
  • American Flags [# total shots of entire flag]: 25
  • People’s Republic of China, Nationalist Pandering [notable instances/sequences/lines/cameos appealing to China’s political power or cultural exceptionalism]: 9
  • No. Times Mark Wahlberg mentions “Inventors, Inventions, or Inventing” : 6

Keep in mind these tallies are approximations. I only watched the film with a friend once (I didn’t have the strength to rewind entire scenes, let alone rewatch the film), and we tallied as we went.

My friend and I watched this a long time ago, and I can’t recall whether we finished the movie in one sitting (I doubt it) or split the load into two parts. Either way, I remember being bored throughout and rolling my eyes numerous times. This is coming from me, the action-junkie. It strains the mind to think of an action franchise better at draining all the fun and excitement from computer generated figures punching each other for hours. It’s “awesome” in a weird sort of of way, that kind of power. But hey, at least they’re making more.

I have no romantic inclination to believe I’ll dissuade those audience members who watch this series out of either masochistic entertainment or a misplaced sense of irony, to forgo seeing this latest film, because those folks have already made up their minds. While I am somewhat relieved that North American audiences are catching on to Michael Bay’s bullshit, overseas markets — particularly those in Asia, and China, especially — have more than offset that domestic box office trend. Expect Transformers: The Last Knight to gross over $1 billion with its incoherent action, bland script, irritating characters, cringe-worthy humor, and artificial human drama.

No, I haven’t seen the film yet, and I like to refrain from judging a project before I’ve seen it, but at this point, after four bad to terrible films, it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. And the Transformers franchise doesn’t just blow — it sucks.

Fuck you.

About The Celtic Predator

I love movies, music, video games, and big, scary creatures.


23 thoughts on “Examining ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ (2014): Not a Review

  1. Haha that’s a good analysis. It’s a pitty modern kids have Transformers now when we had Aliens and Terminator.

    Did you compare this kind of analysis among all Transformers movies?

    Posted by Indie Sci-Fi 451 | June 23, 2017, 3:01 am
    • Most wide release films, particularly blockbuster movies, have that pervasive “studio mentality” now, whereby most every franchise must be related to some established IP (e.g. DC/Marvel, Star Wars, Robocop, Transformers, etc.) and high-concept movie budgets have ballooned so large that ubiquitous product placement has become a necessity. Not to mention, these blockbusters must appeal to everybody and anybody, all over the world, thus diluting their potentially more unique attributes. Transformers is the most extreme example of these dislikable trends, but it’s far from the only offensive example (e.g. The Mummy ’17, Fast & Furious, Ghostbusters ’16, The Not-so-amazing Spider-Man(s)).

      That being said, I think our generation has plenty of fine genre films, even if many of them are soft reboots of older franchises (e.g. Fury Road, TDK, Rise/Dawn of/War for the Planet of the Apes, John Wick).

      To answer your question, the only other post I’ve written about the Transformers franchise is this: https://expresselevatortohell.com/2014/07/16/my-take-on-michael-bays-transformers-2007-2009-2011-2014-franchise-and-big-dumb-loud-blockbusters-in-general-not-a-review/
      I simply don’t have the heart to give each and every film in this insufferable series a full-fledged, balanced review. I honestly don’t think these movies deserve them, nor I could write them well enough at this point.

      Posted by The Celtic Predator | June 23, 2017, 4:50 pm
  2. Yes, new Robocop and Total Recall could be easily added to that list. It’s true that we have plenty of genre films now, but I also see 2 trends currently ongoing a) the independent production is developing more and more b) studios are less willing to take risk than it was in the 90’s with the original projects c) studios now don’t have the same role as they did in the 80’s.

    Posted by Indie Sci-Fi 451 | June 23, 2017, 6:37 pm


  1. Pingback: Pacific Rim (2013): Review | Express Elevator to Hell - April 17, 2018

  2. Pingback: ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010): Review | Express Elevator to Hell - November 19, 2018

  3. Pingback: Things You Like that I Don’t | Express Elevator to Hell - March 31, 2019

  4. Pingback: ‘King of the Monsters’ (2019): Review | Express Elevator to Hell - June 14, 2019

  5. Pingback: ‘Blade’ (1998): Review | Express Elevator to Hell - September 2, 2019

  6. Pingback: ‘Rambo II’ (1985): Review | Express Elevator to Hell - September 17, 2019

  7. Pingback: ‘Rocky’ (1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1990, 2006): Franchise Review | Express Elevator to Hell - November 24, 2019

  8. Pingback: How Long Should a Cinematic Narrative Be? | Express Elevator to Hell - February 3, 2020

  9. Pingback: ‘John Wick’ (2014): The Return of the Hollywood Action Film | Express Elevator to Hell - May 14, 2020

  10. Pingback: ‘Age of Ultron’ (2015): The Definition of a Bloated Superhero Blockbuster | Express Elevator to Hell - May 29, 2020

  11. Pingback: ‘The Suicide Squad’ (2021): Whatever Happened to Numbered Sequels? | Express Elevator to Hell - August 25, 2021

  12. Pingback: Declaring Independence: What Is Independent Filmmaking? | Express Elevator to Hell - October 19, 2021

  13. Pingback: ‘Wolf Warrior 2’ (2017): Wu Jing Howls | Express Elevator to Hell - November 2, 2021

  14. Pingback: ‘The Big Short’ (2015): Adam McKay Gets Dramatic | Express Elevator to Hell - November 2, 2021

  15. Pingback: ‘The Lunchbox’ (2013): Indian Awards-Bait | Express Elevator to Hell - November 2, 2021

  16. Pingback: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (2014): The Tom Cruise-Mark of Quality | Express Elevator to Hell - January 22, 2023

  17. Pingback: ‘BAC Nord’ (2020): The Stronghold of Marseille Crime | Express Elevator to Hell - February 8, 2023

  18. Pingback: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ (2023): If at First You Don’t Succeed… | Express Elevator to Hell - April 14, 2023

  19. Pingback: ‘Biutiful’ (2010): Exhibit A in “Misery Porn” | Express Elevator to Hell - April 15, 2023

  20. Pingback: ‘AKA’ (2023): Men on Fire | Express Elevator to Hell - May 14, 2023

Am I spot on? Am I full of it? Let me know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: