Saturday, July 26, 2014

Transformers 4: Or Why Too Much is as Bad as Too Little

Every author has at some point or other experienced the curse of the writer, otherwise known as writer's block. That soul sucking phenomenon when the literary well runs dry. As a writer, I've always feared this dreaded curse, considering it the worst possible scenario. However, after finally getting the chance to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction last night, I realized there is something perhaps even worse. 
Too many ideas. 

I've always been a little critical of Michael Bay movies. For all his excellent taste in franchises, the man simply cannot get past his love of overwrought action sequences and short shorts. But after watching the latest Transformers flick, I have officially lost all respect. There were certainly aspect of the movie I enjoyed (namely Stanley Tucci), and I thought the first half was at least decent. But then came the fatal case of too many ideas. 

[Spoilers Ahead:] The story was all over the place. There were unnecessary characters who simply disappeared. Superfluous explanations for statutory romances. Dinobots, which despite being aesthetically interesting, felt out of place and would perhaps have been utilized in the next movie. And far too many villains (Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Megatron/Galvatron, bounty hunter Lockdown, and the somewhat confusing "Creators"). 

All in all, I counted four different plot lines in a movie which, if edited, could have had real potential. It just goes to show that sometimes having too many ideas can be far more detrimental to a story than too few. 


  1. Sounds like he sat around with the writers and said 'What about this? Add it!' Case of throwing in the kitchen sink. And chasing too many rabbits.
    I will check it out on NetFlix, just out of curiosity.

  2. I think T4 had more to do with the writer than with Bay. The guy (I forget his name) has just been getting more and more extravagant, and no one is telling him, "Hey, this is too much for a two hour movie." That, perhaps, is Bay's fault, but he's a director, not a writer, so, maybe, he can't tell? He just looks for explosions. The movie needed at least another hour to explain what was going on, and it was already too long. Basically, I said the same thing as you in my review.

    I haven't, at this point, suffered from writer's block.

  3. It was very disappointing as I usually love films like this, but you're spot on it was so over the place I found I was no longer invested after the first 20 minutes. Characters were so shallow (ie the agent all in black who's only deal was that his sister had died in Chicago and had about two lines) and SPOILER I was devasted when they killed off the comic relief so early!

    Was not a rewarding movie experience even having explosions on the big screen.

  4. OK I am still trying to get over the fact that Stanley Tucci is in this flick. I find that these action films are becoming more and more about using tech stuff and 3D at the cost of good writing, plot and character development. A great action film not only has the action but a great plot, great writing, great characters and that the director can put it all together. I have no desire to see this flick unless I am sick in bed and am too weak to change the channel

  5. I almost saw the movie with my girlfriend last weekend, even though I had completely skipped out on the third one. Good thing we decided to see How to Train your Dragon 2 instead. :)

  6. I haven't heard that many good things about this one. What a shame.

  7. I agree S.L. By the time the Dino-Bots came in I was tired of all the plot lines. I don't think any of them got resolved well either.