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Michael Bay said during an interview: “Transformers 3 will be the last”. Since the last movie of the saga, Age of Extinction, has just been released, we should wonder  what motivated Bay to plunge back into the world of Transformers for the fourth time. A possible explanation appears to come from purely economic parameters. The director does not deny that his involvement in this new saga is due to an agreement with  Paramount, negotiated to launch his previous film“Pain and Gain”, which was granted as a favor by the studio. The series of movies has been the hen with golden eggs for the filmmaker and the studio's for the last 10 years . However, beyond the traditional marketing jargon and financial reasons, it seems that Bay’s involvement in this opus makes allowance to his love regarding the saga and his perfectionist personality. The Californian director has devoted himself for almost a decade to Hasbro’s robots's saga and turned throughout the years a “Spielberg” franchise into a “100% Bay”universe.  As he is about to give it up and let the studio take over, the movie is a double challenge for Bay: offering the best episode of the saga and repositioning it on new tracks. “I thought I had come to an end… And at that point I said to myself :

 

“Oh my God, someone else will take over. And I started to think it over. Like, Ok, I am gonna make my little movie, Pain and Gain, and the studio wants to relaunch the franchise (…). Then, I told myself, I'll make the next movie, I'll lay the foundations and the direction to take…”

 

Not only Transformers was an opportunity for him, but it became his franchise with  which he maintained a quasi-emotional bond. Today, Transformers belongs to Michael Bay as much as Avatar to James Cameron. The filmmaker also confesses :

 

« When you own a franchise, it is very difficult to let it go »

 

This is of course linked to the perfectionist personality of the filmmaker, fascinated by the re-reading of others’ or his film gestures.  Bay, who reworks his sequences movie after movie, camera movements to reach the “best version” possible could surely appreciate  the opportunity of resuming his saga in the direction “he wanted”. And by this, offer a jewel in his upgraded action sequences. Before going back to work with his friend/producer Jerry Bruckheimer on one of his franchises like in the old days, here he is taking the lead of his “big Sci-Fi play game” and the movie contains the author’s usual trademarks more than ever. In a very surprising way, the movie seems also to follow the path of Pain and Gain and offers several self-reflected moments where Bay appears to question his pictures as well as the product he is producing.

"Optimus Prime is found in a very old abandoned theater, in which enthrones the huge truck. It's a kind of cinema universe where everything is possible : you only have to relaunch the machine"

If there are less pictures or strong symbolic postures coming to stress the big steps of the intrigue, such as in Dark of The Moon, Bay’s new movie  is one of the best existing representative of a pop contemporary esthetic, with some striking moments such as when Drift turns back to the audience telling them with a funny way : « This is the Optimus Prime » whereas Optimus plans to attack, knight way, on the back of metallic T-Rex, in the background. These thrilling moments really seem in the heart of the intentions of the Armageddon's filmmaker. The artistic direction boosting  the colors and the frames specially conceived in IMAX are it's culmination. The movie does not seek to justify itself and goes in all the excesses without taking its challenges lightly. The human intrigue, together with a nerdy bodybuilt hero who is a little too much devoted and an old-fashioned family, requires a certain naiveté  because Bay considers that the real entertaining heroes are the Transformers. Repositioned as main characters of the saga, being the only features connecting between movies, they are above all those who can give their full measure and enable a whole series of delightful action scenes like « Awesome Bay » knows how to produce them. The nostalgic fans will regret the total absence of references linked to the story-lines of the first trilogy. Only Steve Jablonsky wishes to give some echoes to his previous compositions (in the titles « Punch Hold Slide Repeat » and «Have Faith Prime » or again « The legend exists »).

This is of course linked to the perfectionist personality of the filmmaker, fascinated by the re-reading of others’ or his film gestures.  Bay, who reworks his sequences movie after movie, camera movements to reach the “best version” possible could surely appreciate  the opportunity of resuming his saga in the direction “he wanted”. And by this, offer a jewel in his upgraded action sequences. Before going back to work with his friend/producer Jerry Bruckheimer on one of his franchises like in the old days, here he is taking the lead of his “big Sci-Fi play game” and the movie contains the author’s usual trademarks more than ever. In a very surprising way, the movie seems also to follow the path of Pain and Gain and offers several self-reflected moments where Bay appears to question his pictures as well as the product he is producing.

 

If the Transformers saga can take in a amount of ironical critics on its content spite of being a blockbuster generating several hundred million dollars, this is because it has always been the symbol of the filmmaker's contradictions.  Age of Extinction is a kind of manifesto for Bay's entertaining cinema, as he is now freed from Spielberg'influence, allowing him to offer to the franchise a  new  number 1. It is almost a recreation for Bay, a sort of spin-off of his movies, resuming the characters in a postulate created for this opportunity. At the beginning of the movie, Optimus Prime is found in a very old abandoned theater, in which enthrones the huge truck. It's a kind of cinema universe where everything is possible : you only have to relaunch the machine. The hero remembers the movies he used to watch  like a lost reviving  memory. As we're waiting for the movie to begin, the leader of Autobots is in standby mode while waiting for his new movie in the neighborhood theater. The movie plays a lot with this « serial » aspect, considering itself as the beginning of a new saga. It offers more than ever, a pop universe reminding as well cartoons as Marvel comics. In the newcomers design, Drift, Hound, or the incredible Lockdown have nearly human being faces, with more cartoonish expressions than ever. It's also a comic-books character we immediately picture while watching Lockdown, who looks like a robotic Winter Soldier. The movie accumulates ultra-iconic shots, such as the one in which Optimus Prime is riding  a mechanical T-Rex, as on the film poster, or the slow-motion in which Crosshair shoots enemies by opening his parachute and saying a punchline coming straight out of a super hero cartoon.