Sure, we saw Mark Wahlberg, who adds his own kind of oversized magnitude to any project, but the visuals weren't on the scale that we've come to depend on from a franchise where, at some point during the second movie, a giant Transformer, made up of other, slightly smaller Transformers, ate one of the great pyramids of Egypt. So, it is with great relief, that we can safely report that the new trailer for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" brings it. Big time.
While the plot specifics remain fuzzy, we do get a few more of them: Stanley Tucci plays a nefarious government agent looking to stop the Transformers, following the cataclysmic Battle of Chicago that capped off the third film; Wahlberg and his family become caught in a battle between evil Decepticons and friendly Autobots (one of the trailer's highlights is a heart-to-heart Wahlberg has with Optimus Prime – YES!); and apparently Optimus Prime has to enlist the help of the Dinobots to prevent these new, bad robots from killing everything on earth.
Bay is an American auteur, an action filmmaker whose images are as delicate, beautiful and meticulously crafted as anything fussed-over frame you see in an art house cinema, and this trailer is full of moments that, if frozen, I'd be proud to hang on my wall. His move to 3D has made him an even better filmmaker because the format has forced him to hold on shots longer than he maybe would have previously; restraint (if that's the right word for it) looks good on Bay. And this trailer, particularly in the last few seconds, is full of so many-jaw dropping moments that you start to lose count. Still, here are our five favorites anyway (after Optimus chatting with Wahlberg, of course):
1. A giant spaceship sucking up an amphitheater (and boats).
2. Bumblebee snatching two of our hopeless human characters out of the air and scaling a skyscraper on the way down.
3. A curmudgeonly Autobot firing a machine gun, a cigar dangling out of his mouth, his beard swaying like Davy Jones's tentacles.
4. A car flying through the air and clipping a guy on the chin (in slow motion, no less!).
And last, but certainly not least...
5. Optimus Prime riding a giant, hulking Autobot (named Grimlock) through the streets of modern day China.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" opens June 27th. Thank god.
Photo courtesy Paramount