Paramount Pictures has had a bad couple of years in business. They have had flop after flop and lost hundreds of millions of dollars, so when I read they were pinning their hopes of a rebound to Transformers: The Last Knight, I had to chuckle. Good luck with that, Paramount. Paramount will rebound but it sure won’t be on the back of Michael Bay’s fifth (and final) entry into the Transformers franchise. He has stated this film is the last of the franchise but he has not specified as to why. I have liked several of his films and think he is unfairly maligned as a director but sometimes his films make it very hard for his fans to defend him.
As the Transformers films go, I like the first two, did not like the third and detested the fourth. So why do we go back time and time again, even though we suspect we are in for mind-numbingly painful experience? We do we subject ourselves to this stuff? I guess my only answer is, we hope Mr. Bay will finally get it right. Transformers: The Last Knight is not worse than films three and four, but it is only marginally better improvement and that is not saying much. Whatever you think you will see in film number five is a pretty safe bet. At least, it is not worse than its predecessors, despite what some have been saying.
The film starts out with an extravagant battle sequence between King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and an unnamed army horde (probably Huns). His group is awaiting Merlin to bring some magic in order to sway the battle the Knights way. The staff that Merlin brings is actually a gift from the Transformers whose ship had crashed landed years ago. Thus a pact between humans and Transformers is formed. The film then picks up in the aftermath of the last film where there are “no-go zones” throughout the ruins of cities across the world.
Basically, the plot is that unless they find that same staff used by Arthur and his Knights thousands of years ago, Earth will perish. It does not really matter what the plot is as it is only an excuse for a lights and laser show that lasts for two and a half hours. Virtually every visual and audio effect that has ever been invented will be utilized. Steven Jablonsky’s overly dramatic score will blast away and Mr. Bay’s slow motion shots will rule the day. Not all of it is bad and there are some rather fun action sequences. Mr. Bay shows he does have an eye for choreographing action and he does it with great affect.
But where Transformers fails is in its script penned by Matt Holloway, Art Marcum, Ken Nolin and Akiva Goldsman. They have toned down the ridiculous humor that sank previous Transformer films, but not enough. The characters are too numerous to even mention and are never developed for us to care about. About the only character that has any backstory is a young girl named Izabella (Isabela Moner) who lost her parents in a previous film. But she is introduced and then pretty much disappears until the last act of the film.
Somehow, Mr. Bay was able to coax Sir Anthony Hopkins to make an appearance in this film and for the life of me, I cannot imagine why. He is a tremendous actor but why he would subject himself to this is beyond me. The final straw was when he calls Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) “dude” and then uses the word ” bitchin’ ” to finish up the sentence. That is about as eye rolling and groan-inducing as they come. The line is not hip or cool, just silly, which pretty much sums up these films.
These ARE silly films, too. Chock full of migraine-inducing visual effects and ear-drum shattering audio effects, Transformers is a prime example of overkill. Oh sure, some of it is fun and the cinematography by Jonathan Sela is especially nice to look at, but this is a prom date all dressed up with nowhere to go. The actors do their best to keep a straight face but the dialogue is so cheesy it will make your flesh crawl. Mr. Bay seems to want to wear down the audience to a point where we all just give in and go with it and not mind in doing so. The problem is there is very little payoff. Everything that has to happen for the film to end happily, does so in predictable fashion. Mr. Bay even manages to rip off some material from Star Wars and there is even a robot that looks amazingly like Wall-E.
Transformers: The Last Knight has been savaged even more so than Tom Cruise’s The Mummy and with good reason. They are both loud, obnoxious assaults on our senses. As far as Transformer films go, this film is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessors in most areas, overall. I will say, however, I did enjoy Transformers: The Last Knight a hair more than The Mummy, if that helps to give my reaction some perspective. In the end, though, these are films that are done to excess in the worst way. No, I didn’t hate Transformers: The Last Knight any more than the last two. This film will appeal to the younger crowd of teenagers, but that is about all. If Mr. Bay is indeed finished with these films, maybe……just maybe we might get someone to do this right, once and for all. The name I heard tossed about is J. J. Abrams. Fine by me.
Transformers: The Last Knight – **1/2 out of 5
Transformers: The Last Knight – Rated PG-13 for extended action sequences, some graphic violence, scenes of terror and peril, sexual innuendo and language.
Transformers: The Last Knight – Run Time is 150 minutes
Transformers: The Last Knight is now playing in theaters. Check your local listings for times and locations.