“Transformers:” Age of Profits

Release date:
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Michael Bay
Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci,
Kelsey Grammar
June 28, 2014
1/5 stars

I entered the theater with a hoodie and sunglasses on. I put them all on as I approached the box office, and asked for movie tickets. As I took my seat, a couple of men with muscle shirts and backwards ballcaps sat directly behind me. Even though I had never known these men before, I was scared to whip out my phone for fear that they would learn my identity. This was all to preserve my dignity. I didn’t want to be caught watching this film, even if it was for a job.

Oh, I’m sorry. You probably wanted a synopsis of the film itself, not my personal story of how I entered the theater. Well, my story is a lot more interesting than “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” and it’s going to be important later, but if you really must pry, I suppose I’ll tell you about “Transformers.”

So it turns out the dinosaurs were really wiped out by an ancient Transformer race – no wait! Don’t leave. I thought you wanted to hear this movie’s synopsis.

See, this is the issue with “Transformers.” It looks very pretty, yes. The explosions are quite spectactular. But start talking about the context of it all and suddenly audiences lose interest, because there are plot holes and deus ex machinas everywhere. There are big-name actors, but they’re wasted on characters that would have been more interesting if they were portrayed instead by giant boulders with frowny-faces drawn on them.

No, reader, you and I both know of the issues that plague the series. You already knew everything in that last paragraph, even if you’ve never even seen a “Transformers” film before. So instead, I’m going to tie my own personal tale with that of “Transformers.” Because I did say that it was important.

My only knowledge of the “Transformers” franchise is of the first live-action film. I’ve had friends begging me to steer clear of the franchise, and other friends telling me I had to see them. I’ve waited until now to watch another one, and I’m going to tell you one thing that I honestly didn’t expect. I don’t know if this is true of the other films as well, but it’s still worth pointing out.

There is product placement in every corner of this movie. Even as Beijing is getting demolished around our heroes, there are still clear advertisements for products ranging from Victoria’s Secret, to Bud Light, to Chevy, to My Little Pony, to Beats, to Rolls Royce, to… well, you get the idea.

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This film is a massive commercial in motion, and that’s what’s convinced me that this movie isn’t for normal people. This is a movie for shareholders and board directors. “Transformers” is a machine purely built for profit.

And that is why, even in my humble disguise, even with my phone hidden, I have still lost dignity by seeing this movie. This is a gigantic money monster, and by buying a ticket, I have directly fed the beast.

Perhaps “Age of Extinction” is an accurate title for this movie, because my dignity is pretty much extinct at this point. But there’s still hope. Don’t waste your money on this movie. Save your dignity for a film that deserves it more. Together, we can save ourselves.