You already know whether you want to see the new Transformers or not; nothing in this trailer will change your mind. You either want to give Michael Bay your money and watch robots smash into other robots and destroy another metropolitan area, or you don’t.
The articulate Michael Bay has made a career out of explosions and slow-motion wreckage, and moviegoers arrive in droves. His second film, The Rock, featured a typically dedicated turn from Nicolas Cage and a typically badass Sir Sean Connery; it remains his best film because of the startlingly good cast — Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, William Forsythe, Tony Todd, an uncredited Philip Baker Hall who would have a late-career revival in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight that year — and because Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin both contributed some zingers to the screenplay. (Someone should have paired Connery and Tarantino a long time ago.)
After The Rock, Bay moved on to bigger and bigger productions: He went into space with Armageddon, one of two films in which Bruce Willis died in 1998, and by far the lesser of the two; he used Pearl Harbor to tell a Ben Affleck love story in Pearl Harbor; he did Bad Boys II, which might be the apex of his pre-Transformers blockbusters; and he moved on to producing remakes of classic horror films, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. If Rob Zombie hadn’t beaten him to Halloween, he’d probably have done that, too.
But the Transformers films have been Bay’s main focus since 2007. (Steven Spielberg served as exec-producer, which goes to show how little an exec-producer has to do with anything.) The series has been phenomenally popular; the Transformers brand was, contrary to the myriad fans’ proclamations, a children’s joke in 2007, and now, in 2014, it’s currently the twelfth highest-grossing film series and the fourth highest-grossing when averaged to gross per film.
Bay said he was done with the series after the third film, but what he meant was he was done with that series, and instead started a new series of Transformers films, replacing Shia LeBeouf with Mark Wahlberg and John Turturro with Stanley Tucci. Transformers: Age of Extinction stars two Oscar-nominees and fourteen-time Emmy nominee Kelsey Grammer. Let that sink in for a minute.
Age of Extinction‘s trailer starts off like every other Transformers trailer, showing us a tranquil house, a family, and some cars, before mysterious agents show up and demand to know stuff. Enter Optimus Prime, in slow-motion, enveloped in sparks.
You may be wondering just how in the world Bay is going to find new ways of destroying stuff in this new movie. Well, Mark Wahlberg has far better biceps than Shia LeBaouf. And also, there are dinosaurs: Optimus Prime says he needs a new army, and in the next shot he’s riding a fire-breathing mechanical T-Rex through the city streets before slaying two Decepticons with a sword. It’s ridiculous — well, the whole series is ridiculous, but this looks ridiculous in the best possible sense. Is Michael Bay becoming self-aware, like Skynet?
MTV’s Josh Wigler puts it well:
We don’t see Wahlberg and Prime picnicking together, or going on a long walk down the beach. They aren’t holding hands at the movie theater, sharing a comically-sized serving of popcorn. But they do have heart-to-hearts. And Wahlberg’s character is clearly elated to have discovered the existence of a new Transformer on his own soil. There’s high-stakes action at the heart of “Age of Extinction,” thanks to the arrival of a deadly Decepticon hellbent on destroying anyone in its path, Prime and Cade included. But assuming they’re able to survive the mayhem — not a sure bet, given one wound Prime suffers in the trailer — then it’s safe to say that Optimus and Marky Mark will be buddies for a good, long while. Who knows? By the time we get to “Transformers 5,” Wahlberg might even be saying hello to Optimus Prime’s mother for us!