Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) Review

Michael Bay has wholeheartedly devoted himself to making films from the perspective of someone with dementia. In the Transformers franchise, we have had the pleasure of witnessing ten years of a mind that seems to be slowly decaying but still technically functioning. Transformers: The Last Knight isn’t the worst Transformers film in terms of sheer boredom and duress, but it is the most sloppily constructed mess of a film I have ever witnessed. Films that are told in chronological order that are somehow harder to follow than Memento are a big red flag for me, as they should be for anyone.

Gratefully, this is an improvement on Age of Extinction, the last abomination to come from the whirling depths of Bayhem. This is mostly due to it being mercifully the shortest sequel of the series, though it still clocks in at a hefty two and a half hours, although I can’t stress enough that out of all the series so far, this is the most technically nauseating watch so far. Christopher Nolan has experimented with switching between aspect ratios to some success, although I struggle to not find the experience distracting on a normal TV screen. The last Knight, however, switches religiously between three different aspect ratios (2.39 : 1, 2.00 : 1 and 1.90 : 1), essentially between a standard letterbox, an IMAX ratio, and one somewhere in between. It’s incredibly distracting due to the movie being cut like an Olivier Megaton film but with the addition of cycling these ratios between cuts. Never before has a screen seemed so restricting.

This is all is part of what is responsible for the utter lack of intelligibility on display here. Visually the movie is bewildering, which means that when the dialogue and plot are asking to be listened to, it’s already too late. It also doesn’t help that the film is written seemingly by a 7 year old fan who has played too much Grand Theft Auto. Expletives are supposedly punch lines in and of themselves, but no one told me. I don’t believe I summoned any laughs that indicated I appreciated the humour, instead chortling at the sheer misguided spectacle of it all.

Mark Whalberg reprises his role as Cade Jaeger, still giving a worse performance than Shia LaBouef in my honest opinion. Why is it that he is allowed to do his voice from The Happening here and not get relentlessly chastised for it? Laura Haddock is the resident Michael Bay eye candy, along with Josh Duhamel for the ladies — returning to the role of Colonel Lennox for the fifth time. Anthony Hopkins appears as a British Transformer expert that is clearly very much enjoying picking up a big juicy cheque in his old age. I don’t blame him, but a small part of me is against it. I hate other people having fun.

The plot is beyond hard to regurgitate for you, which is usually a good indicator that a film has some deep seated issues. From what I can decipher, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) has been turned into an evil version of himself by Quintessa (Gemma Chan). This was a big selling point of the trailers and the way it actually comes to fruition here is the least cathartic drivel I have ever seen. God I love a good marketing ploy.

Beyond that there is definitely something here about knights, talismans, somewhere in here is a guy who is actually the titular last knight, I remember a robot dragon, also a bunch of elderly women spying on some girl supposedly having sex, and a robot butler (Jim Carter) that actually was funny on the off occasion but I struggled to make sense of what Bay actually wanted his character to be.

So what I can see here, is an amalgamation of ideas that one person or perhaps a few thought would make a good movie. These ideas were then taken and endless action scenes woven around them. These scenes would then be recorded by hundreds of cameras so as not to miss a single second of the delicious mechanical practical effects. I’ll stop being facetious for a moment to deliver much needed praise here, the actual staging of the action set pieces are impeccable, as is standard for a Bay flick. The man has talent there is no denying it, but somewhere along the line this immense practical vision he has is being distilled into a crooked mess of nuts and bolts. I want him to be an advisor on these things. It worked with Zack Snyder on Wonder Woman, it could work here. These movies don’t have to be bad at all, in fact I see great potential for these as summer blockbusters, if only.

Again, I left the viewing fatigued and wondering how on earth I was going to do this the next time the series rears its ugly head. I don’t really know and I don’t think I ever will, it is already a testament to human resilience that for ten years these films have successfully raked in dollar after dollar. Enough to justify exorbitant spending and still make a worthwhile profit. I’m not going to tell anyone not to see this if they are a Transformers fan. Knock yourselves out, if you wanted to boil down this review into an ‘is this for me’ summary then I’ll just say, this is pretty much what we’ve seen happen four times before now. Think you can fit another one in your life?

2/10

 

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The Emoji Movie (2017) Review

Those who know me, will likely think I saw this for a laugh. The Emoji Movie is being unanimously slammed by every critic currently living, potentially a few more, and I did know this before going in. I expected it to be bad but that doesn’t mean I wanted it to be. I am totally comfortable with liking a movie everyone else dislikes, why wouldn’t I be? I’m comfortable with my own opinions and don’t require validation, as satisfying as that can be. I like all of the Matrix movies, I enjoy Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes remake and I even think the World of Warcraft movie was pretty decent! Seek out hate and you’ll find it, so I sat down in the emoji movie aware of public opinion, but quietly and internally hoping for a satisfying experience. I put more effort into making this movie good than anyone involved in production did.

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Howard the Duck (1986) Review

“In the Beginning there was… Howard the Duck!”, I wonder if Wilard Huyck and George Lucas were anticipating the future success of Marvel studios when they decided to utter these lines in such a biblical fashion. Perhaps they thought that Howard would bring a new era of comic motion pictures that were non stop blockbusters that would cater to both adults and children alike. “Howard the Duck” was, in every sense, the furthest it could possibly be from this picture of family entertainment.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Review

So you’re thinking of going to see “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” are you? Well alright, that’s fine. Really it is, I’m not going to stop you. It’s not against the law to be a masochist after all is it? You aren’t really doing anything wrong hurting yourself by watching this trash, but I think that if you have any faint glimmer of the natural instinct of self preservation, then you will stop yourself right now. Don’t make the same mistake as I did and watch “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” in the vicinity of sharp objects.

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The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) Review

What a dreadful film. George Takei put it best when he said “Oh my”, believe me it’s hard not to “Oh my” once in a while during “New Moon”. “Oh my” why does that boy have his shirt off in the rain? “Oh my” why doesn’t she just listen to that pale boy from the shiny show and not become a vampire, he clearly has more experience than she does at being a vampire. “Oh My” how can a film feature so much god-awful silent staring for over two hours. How can director Chris Weitz seriously expect us to sit through this, I’m serious. I haven’t seen a movie this bad in a long while and watching it feels like trying to get comfy on a bed of nails. If you replaced “New Moon” with the ultra violence Alex had to watch in “A Clockwork Orange”, you’d reach the same end. In this way, I find “New Moon” to be quite an effective motivator.

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I, Frankenstein (2014) Review

My Mother has a peculiar habit of walking in the door cradling dreadful movies that she has bought in an attempt to pleasantly surprise me. It’s a nice thought and her taste isn’t especially bad it’s just that the wrong stuff always peaks her interest. First it was “R.I.P.D.”, secondly it was “The Day After tomorrow” and now it is “I, Frankenstein”. As the great prophet Miley Cyrus once said “Everybody makes mistakes”. Good job Miley. Good job.

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