So I’ve got a confession to make and it’s fairly serious but I feel it’s best to just get it out there. I don’t think Transformers: Age of Extinction is a bad movie. There I said it. It’s out in the open. And in fact, I think it’s kind good, maybe not great and a little long, but much better then what people think it is.
See Michael Bay has an unfortunate relationship with people. He makes big movies well, and they are rarely moving or thought provoking on the surface, which is hard to do with helicopter shots and explosions. Or are they? See throughout all the explosions of the Transformers movies, the silly dialogue, so-so acting and gratuitous shots of up-skirting, the movies have interesting themes underneath.
One of the underlying themes of Sci-Fi is people messing around with technology they don’t fully understand in order to make a big profit. Companies in the Transformers universe exploit the Transformers, melting them down to make new ones, reverse engineering them in order to create phones, fridges etc without stopping to think whether they should.
Age of Extinction is no different. The bad guys are motivated by pure greed and a sense of entitlement. They have little to no regard for beings they know are alive but are willing to kill them just for their metal so they can make their own Transformers out of it for big profit. If they allowed the Transformers to be left alone, then the destruction in the third act wouldn’t have happened. Which brings me to the levels of destruction.
Mr Bay excels at blowing stuff up, and it’s one of the major reasons he gets the top directing gig with the series, and it’s kind of realistic in some sense. During any fight scene, there are numerous explosions, bullets flying around and a lot of innocents die. There is no escaping that fact. This is the response to people who say “Hey I wish the Transformers were real” if they were real then a lot of people would die in the cross fire. These are movies in which 30 feet tall robots crash into each other. I would be surprised if there wasn’t any collateral damage.
As for drift being racial, well, this isn’t really the case. Drift in the comics, is portrayed as a religious figure with a strong sense of honour and kicks butt using swords. Drift appears in the movie as a Bushido warrior, voiced by Ken Wanatabe, and after the skids and mudflap debacle in number 2 I can see why people would be freaking out. However that portrayal is totally fine, because Transformers assimilate to Earth culture. Drift in the movie is a being of honour and loyalty to Optimus Prime, and he has adopted the look of an old style Japanese warrior because that fits his personality. That said, they fashioned him of Springer, who is my favourite Transformer and he doesn’t appear so I’m not to happy about that but I’ll live.
Look movies are thing of personal taste, and while AoE is about 20 minutes too long, it’s not inherently bad. It’s a popcorn flick full of loud characters, exciting action and you shouldn’t be ashamed to say you enjoy it. It’s not as bad as every one thinks it is and it is a lot better then people give it credit for.