This post is not an ad for Bud Light. I can’t say the same for ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction.’
In this CGI-fest a Transformer powers through a large Bud Light truck strategically centered in the middle of the frame, with the Bud logo taking up most of our screens. After the carnage we are subjected to a lingering shot of umpteenth Bud Light bottles strewn over a battle-ridden highway. At this point I jokingly whispered to my friend in the seat next to mine that this movie was really just a promo for the popular beer.
It is not uncommon for overt product placement to take place in movies, anyone who saw ‘Casino Royale’ would know that Bond only wears ‘Omega’ through a none too subtle quip by Daniel Craig. ‘Skyfall’ took it even further with characters throughout the film randomly drinking very conspicuous bottles of Heinekin, whether it be Bond brooding on an island or MI6 staff in the middle of a national security crisis.
But unbeknownst to my friend and I ‘Transformers 4’ had taken it to a whole other level. After the Transformer powers through the truck and leaves littered bottles everywhere for all to see, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), in the middle of a fight with an angry motorist, literally picks up a bottle of Bud, cracks it open and starts chugging. There is no shame, but this not unexpected in a film which, along with its three predecessors and 2012’s ‘Battleship,’ are unapologetically giant ads for Hasbro.
The appearance of Transformers in repeated installments is not a criticism; for someone who often played with the toys and watched the cartoon growing up it is pure delight to see them on the big screen, and if this makes kids want to go out and buy the action figures then all power to them. For those who aren’t fans, with the exception of the absence of Shia Labeouf this outing does not diverge from it’s predecessors in any significant way, nor do it’s repeated CGI-swamped action scenes leave any impression beyond blur and confusion. Kelsey Grammer is excellent in the bad-guy role and Stanley Tucci’s talents while evident are highly underutilized, with largely indistinguishable action sequences taking up the bulk of our attention.
Bud Light is notorious in that it is not light in alcohol content, contrary to popular belief, but is actually light in calories. For those unaware of either Bud’s properties or what the Transformers brand has to offer, partaking in an excess of either will leave you feeling like you haven’t gained anything as a heavy feeling of disorientation sets in. If you liked the franchise as a kid, or the other films for that matter, then you will enjoy seeing Optimus Prime wielding a 12-foot sword whilst straddling a giant Dinobot as much as I did, however if you don’t then this is two and a half hours of your life you won’t get back.