Transformers 4: Age of Extinction premiered a massive reel of brand new footage at CinemaCon, and what we saw was the Michael Bay-iest film ever made. It was seriously Michael Bay doing Michael Bay while exploding tiny jean shorts made out of an American Flag with indiscernible Transformers dancing around in the background. It was glorious.
When Michael Bay goes full Bayhem, it's kind of like watching a big, beautiful exploding drinking game. "Sepia tone shot, drink!" "Sunset, drink!" "360 degree Hero Shot, drink!" "Slow motion punch, drink!" "Twilight with a comet, drink!" "AMERICAN FLAG, FINISH YOUR DRINK!"
So I will freely and fully admit that after Mark Wahberg took the stage, went totally off-prompter and claimed that Transformers 4 will make the most money in 2014 (which it honestly could) I was ready to be Baysified. And what I saw delivered.
Paramount screened a massive chunk of their new action film, which starts off very much like the trailer they released not long ago—but with one early-on change: for a brief second there was a shot of a dinosaur. No, really! A very pretty, CG dinosaur pops up on screen, makes a dinosaur-like gurgle, and then disappears. Because Dinobots? Don't over think it.
And now we're in the present-day Texas. Mark Wahlberg, who is playing the character Cade Yeager (now THAT'S a name) rolls into his Texas farm house with a beat-up semi truck in tow. The semi is clearly the dead carcass of Optimus Prime, but they don't know that yet. Cade is greeted by his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) and his partner Lucas (T.J. Miller). Commence comical banter. You see, Cade is a protective dad and is frustrated with Tessa's very short (exceedingly short) shorts. Don't worry, you get a great look at the tiny teen's shorts because a camera is placed on the ground behind her looking up at Cade's dismayed face. Fatherhood, you guys!
Everyone is mad because Cade spent his last 100 bucks on this beat-up old truck. But that's OK because he is an inventor and "all great inventors something something...your mother would be very proud of you." Dead mother, DRINK!.
I will openly admit that the humor in this movie is good. The beats are hilarious and watching Mark Wahlberg act like a loving dad worried about his daughter's legs is basically the Shakespeare of action movies and it never gets old. He even tells a laundry joke about her rapidly shrinking shorts, "cold water and air dry." It made my heart melt. Also, Cade protests that he isn't totally worthless as a father because he taught his daughter how to *insert car activity here* and how to "write a program," both of which we are sure will not become a pivotal plot point in the future ("It's a UNIX System! I know this!").
Moving on, Cade goes into his shop and tells the beat-up old car that it's "Judgement Day," and basically wakes up Optimus. Cue the Federal Agents in sick long, black trench coats with sunglasses and bad attitudes. They are being remotely ordered by Kelsey Grammer who hates Transformers. Hates them!
The Feds want Optimus Prime, but Cade isn't budging. Grammer says "use the girl," and of course, they throw her right over her little red painted wagon and hold a gun to her head—which really pisses off Optimus Prime. The Transformer bursts through the barn (which explodes) and starts fighting. The fight just gets completely out of control and then Tessa's BOYFRIEND shows up in a smart car with racing stickers and literally slow motion punches an agent in the face with the tire on his car. The agent slow motion spits. It is amazing.
Here's where things get interesting. The government agents pull out their very OWN Transformer, Galvatron. Back at the base there's a younger agent who appears to be piloting Galvatron via joystick. Galvatron is their puppet! Optimus and the piloted Transformer spar, and Optimus is losing. BUT THEN a giant fucking spaceship comes out of the sky.
Enter Lockdown, the Transformer whose face turns into a GIANT GUN, and he just starts blasting Optimus. Cade gets separated from his daughter and she and Optimus are caught in a robot net, which lifts them into the spaceship. Cade jumps onto the net and tries to hold on, but falls to the ground. In his sheer frustration, Cade slow-motion screams and PUNCHES THE GROUND.
The rest are all hyper cuts from the rest of the movie. Obviously, Cade has to go get his daughter and is reluctantly teamed up with her boyfriend, who doesn't have his respect AT ALL. The scenes jump across the globe. There is a pretty amazing chase scene between Cade and the lead FBI meany who is happens to be the Man in Black from Lost. They are scaling the side of (what appears to be) a Chinese apartment building and the FBI agent is just kicking air conditioning units free, toppling them onto Cade.
But the biggest takeaway wasn't all the American flags, the explosions, or even the Transformers. This particular chunk of footage focused mainly on the human story and the humor, and it really succeeds at humor. Stanley Tucci has a great moment where he flips out because he's ordered to hide inside a glass box; he's clearly going to be a ringer in this flick. Also, T.J. Miller has a few great scenes. But the best, the absolute best was when Cade careens a spaceship into a Bug Light truck and on top of some dude's car, destroying it. The man gets out and demands to see Cade's insurance, to which Cade responds, "Insurance? This is a spaceship!" He then slams open an aluminum can of Bud Light, drinks it, throws it at the car and yells, "Sweetie, get me my alien gun." EVERYONE FINISH THEIR DRINKS.
The product placement, matched with the actual good delivery just made me love the Bayhem. I have no idea if I'll be able to tolerate an entire movie of similar robots sparring, but the human stuff was great. Sadly, there was very, very little Dinobot action but that's probably going to be saved for the larger, theatrical reveal.
Transformers: Age of Extinction will hit theaters (hard) on June 27th, 2014.