Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Titus Welliver, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz, T.J. Miller and the voices of John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
Studio: Paramount

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is a smarter movie than most people who want to dismiss it. What most want to gravitate to is the apparent disconnect between the first trilogy of Generation 1 and this second Generation 2 trilogy. There are references to the original films, but you would be hard pressed to spot Bumblebee throwing sounds together to remember Sam Witwicky. What we have is a government that doesn’t want to deal with Autobots or Decepticons again following the Invasion of Chicago. Stanley Tucci is an inventor trying to create his own Autobots for profit or fun. When we find our new heroes five years later, it seems like humanity has all but forgotten about their brief scary encounters with killer robots.

Michael Bay takes a lot of lumps for his lack of creating empathetic humans. Honestly, I feel this is a purposeful choice. I also hear that we’re getting more of the same with this sequel. Well, when Tatum and Hill do it, you guys feel like it’s OK as long as there are laughs. Sometimes, the best comedians don’t demand laughter or paint a map for you to follow with your chuckles. They exist to make you question why these fictional constructs exist in a narrative. Whether it be a true crime story or tales of robotic trucks riding dinosaurs. Hell, I even spotted a possible “Critters” reference in the movie. But, I’ll have to wait for Blu-Ray to confirm.

What is so fascinating about the turn that Michael Bay has taken over the last three years is that his films are getting a little more cynical. Some reviewers dismiss it as dishonesty, as in the few who tried to assault “Pain and Gain”. But, I feel that they are missing a much broader perspective. Michael Bay knows that he is making products for kids, but adults keep going to see this stuff in a sustained state of arrested development. The second film that everyone seems to hate is one of the highest grossing films in American history. So, where is the big disconnect coming from? How come Bay can keep creating the same visual treats and keep getting bashed by the same people?

Well, it’s because those that choose to attack Bay and his work are pointing fingers back at themselves. You don’t fault the toymaker for your lack of entertainment. He’s creating a construct meant for a younger generation to influence the narrative. The toymaker faults you for saying that you’re buying hunks of plastic for your “kids” and then hoarding it for yourself. Blind consuming mouths running all the time and never discerning what they’re taking in is the problem. But, they’re also the reason that we’re probably going to see a live-action “Beast Wars” before we see a major motion picture adaptation of “A Confederacy of Dunces”.

RELEASE DATE: 06/27/2014

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