Michael Bay’s latest foray into the world of giant shape shifting robots, Transformers: Age of Extinction, may be the movie I’m most curious to see this summer. I’m not a fan of the previous three movies in the franchise, though critical drubbings have never stopped them from being hugely profitable. The more we see of this latest offering, supposedly the start of a brand new trilogy, the more absurd it appears, but that also makes it look like it could be pretty damn fun. This new footage ups the ante even more and you can’t help but wonder what the hell was going through Bay’s head as he made this movie.
This new video debuted last night during NBC’s singing competition show The Voice, and is ostensibly designed to introduce a new song by Grammy-winners Imagine Dragons. I guarantee you’ve heard them before, whether you know it or not, over the past year their song “Radioactive” has been in every single movie trailer, it was almost impossible to escape.
But that’s not the main attraction here. No matter how you feel about the Transformers films, or even Bay as a filmmaker—he’s a divisive figure to be sure—it’s hard not to get a little bit giddy as you watch Optimus Prime brandishing a sword riding what is basically a fire-breathing dragon. We know that’s supposed to be Grimlock, one of the Dinobots, but let’s call it what it is, that’s a giant robotic dragon. It’s totally ridiculous, but also totally fantastic.
This could easily go a couple of different ways. It’s entirely possible that this will be my favorite movie moment of the summer blockbuster season. No matter how out of touch you are with reality, you can’t commit a scene like this to film and not be fully aware of just how ridiculous it is. I like that. The original cartoon from the 1980s can be a silly affair—remember how some of the Decepticons could transform from full sized robots and all of a sudden be the size of a cassette tape?—and perhaps this could capture some of that fun.
Then again, this could be totally terrible. This could easily be the moment where Transformers jumps the shark. If this isn’t a glorious, blissful expression of cinematic absurdity, it’s going to elicit wall-to-wall groans. After three movies of going bigger and bigger and bigger, perhaps Bay has finally reached critical mass and this will cause the franchise to implode. Either way, this should be an interesting scenario to watch.
There’s other new footage in this video as well. Set a few years after the destruction of Chicago in Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction follows an inventor named Cade (Mark Wahlberg) who comes across the bullet riddled carcass of Optimus Prime. Though Transformers have been outlawed, the government is building their own versions, and just in time, too, because a sinister new threat is about to emerge.
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens everywhere June 27.