If you're one of the people I refer to in the title of this blog -- that is, people with brains -- then you are probably already aware of the things that make Michael Bay one of the most vile and overrated directors in Hollywood. Explosions substituting for character development. General cinematic bloatedness. You know these things. But in case your instincts need a little sharpening, I will save you your money -- and a precious three hours of your precious life -- by providing five handy reasons you shouldn't go see the new Transformers movie. You're welcome.
1) Michael Bay Once Again Proves That His Understanding of Women Is Mere Millimeters Deep
With every movie that Michael Bay makes, he further proves that he not only hates women, but possesses the qualities of a panting 14-year-old boy with acne and a public erection. His understanding of women is disjointed and stumbles between the two sexist binaries of Madonna and whore: the female lead in Transformers 4 -- I won't say heroine because then I'd be a liar -- reels between half-naked party girl whose skin provides 25 percent of the film's panning shots and nagging wife-figure who is pure and cares only for the welfare of her helpless daddy. As the film goes on and real action starts to take place, the girl gets fewer and fewer lines. In fact, I believe an entire hour passed in which she didn't say a word: just screamed, gasped, and moaned in fear. The last half of the movie was full of close-ups on her sweating, crying face. When she finally did get a moment of action in the last ten minutes of the film, it was 30 seconds long and completely underwhelming, seeming to exist grudgingly, added in as an afterthought so that her character does something other than hide and weep.
But creepier still is the fact that Bay chooses to make her young age a focus point of the film. He smugly references Romeo and Juliet clauses, as if to cover his tracks. "See guys, the fact that I'm forcing you as an audience to spend almost three hours ogling a 17-year-old girl is legal. Romeo and Juliet clause, baby!" Michael Bay is rich enough for therapy. I wish he'd go.
2) Michael Bay Once Again Proves That He Believes Explosions Are The Key To Good Filmmaking
Guys, I'm not kidding. Explosions. This movie is almost three hours long and I'd wager that 50 percent of it is just shit blowing up. It's an action movie... I get it. Explosions and chases and crashes are part of the game and ordinarily I love it. But a five-minute shot of a car overturning and smashing other cars is overkill. Ask yourself, is it possible that explosions can be boring? Michael Bay makes it possible. Trust me. In the lifetime I spent in that movie theater watching Transformers 4, I looked at my phone four different times to check the clock. Is it over yet? The explosions washed over me in waves of monotony. Never have I felt so apathetic about things catching on fire and being launched into the air. I literally yawned as a car flipped through the sky during a ten-minute motorcycle chase in which no real stunts were performed. I yawned. This is a problem.
3) Michael Bay Once Again Proves That He Has No Problem With Racist Stereotypes
Remember the Transformer twins in Revenge of the Fallen? You remember... the jive-talking, illiterate, violent autobots that were criticized widely? Well, Bay didn't learn his lesson. Age of Extinction features a samurai Transformer with a heavy Japanese accent who calls Optimus Prime "sensei." Oh, and his face is made of yellow metal. Need I say more? Also, another fun racist fact, my fiancé, who has done karate for over twenty years, pointed out that samurais are Japanese but when the samurai autobot bowed, it was the traditional clasped-fist bow, which is Chinese. Bay doesn't even do his research, apparently. An Asian autobot is an Asian autobot, right? (And made to have a yellow face? I mean, come on.)
4) Michael Bay Once Again Proves That He's Got Issues With Masculinity
Casting Mark Wahlberg to play a nerdy inventor is kind of a funny choice. Wahlberg's character is supposed to be a tinkerer, a guy who builds little robots and hopes to invent the"next big thing." But in the mind of someone like Michael Bay, that kind of guy isn't masculine enough on his own: he needs to be someone muscular who can also punch people in the face and shoot guns and ride spaceships. At one point, Wahlberg crashes a spaceship in downtown Chicago, wrecking a car. A nerdy man with glasses and average biceps gets out and delivers a "funny" line about hoping Wahlberg has insurance. What does Wahlberg do? He makes a big macho declaration, cracks open a beer, and threatens to shoot the guy. No, not kidding. That's what he does. Because BIG TOUGH GUY IS COOLER THAN SMALLER NERDY GUY WHO CARES ABOUT WIMPY THINGS LIKE INSURANCE. Guns! Beer!
5) The Writing Is So, So Bad. So Bad.
I actually stayed in the theater even longer than necessary so that I could glimpse who was responsible for writing this script. His name is Ehren Kruger. Ehren, wherever you are... stop. Please. For the good of mankind. The Transformers call people "bitch" (because aliens are familiar with misogynist epithets) and deliver the most pathetically limp one-liners I've ever heard. Optimus Prime, known for his speeches, delivers monologues more likely found in a badly-translated anime film than in a Hollywood feature. The plot holes... well, the entire film is a plot hole. The narrative coherence... well, there is no narrative coherence. Ehren, give me a call if you need a consultant for next time. (God forbid there is a next time.) I'd be happy to brush you up on creating female characters who exist outside of a misogynist binary, and we can discuss these one-liners too, because right now they've got about as much zing as a can of SPAM.
There you have it, folks. I hope I saved you some time and money. But hey, if you're a masochist, knock yourself out. If you can stay awake.