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

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) Review

Michael Bay IS the modern master of suspense. Forget Hitchcock, this guy can make me believe that this time things will be different between us. Maybe, just maybe this time will be the money. The first “Transformers” in 2007 was average but I can certainly see the appeal. The second movie, “Revenge of the Fallen” I had down as one of the single worst movies I have ever seen. “Dark of the Moon” in 2011 struck somewhere in the middle of those two quality wise, so when I heard that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was going to be a “soft” reboot of the franchise I was almost excited. Michael Bay has kicked me in the teeth once again with a movie that is not only jarringly similar to the three previous “Transformer” films but is actually worse than the abomination that is “Revenge of Fallen”.

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) Review

There are no surprises anymore. Not here, anyway. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” returns us to the Autobots and the Decepticons as they battle it out to save planet Earth. Megatron (Hugo Weaving) thankfully isn’t the sole antagonist this time but that hardly makes things what the suits call “interesting”. Shia LaBouef is back as Sam Witwicky, the focus of the film despite his inescapable irrelevancy. I suppose I should say something like “I loved the special effects!”. I also love tea, but God forbid you serve without milk.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Review

I have next to no previous affiliation with the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. Until I watched this movie, my first “Turtles” experience, I didn’t even know all four of their names. Nevermind which was which. So my prejudices don’t have to be left at the door, I don’t really have any. That is a lie, Michael Bay has his name slapped all over this one and my recent forays into his way of doing things have been unanimously upsetting (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) but he didn’t direct in fairness. Jonathan Liebesman directed “Wrath of the Titans” which I had the misfortune of seeing twice in the cinema and fell asleep the latter occasion; and “Battle: Los Angeles”. I haven’t actually seen that last one and that is because the general consensus is that I should avoid it like the plague. Clearly “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has everything going for it… so how is it? Make no mistake, he may not have directed but this is a Michael Bay movie, and all that implies.

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Armageddon (1998) Review

“Time to Kick Some Asteroid” — what a tagline eh? And Good luck to them. I would have thought that if you flew up into space and actually tried to kick an asteroid, you’d probably break your toes (depending on how much effort you put into it). What would be the point of kicking an asteroid anyway? Are you just trying to vent your frustration at the prospect of it destroying your planet? Maybe somebody disliked the unnatural look of the big hunk of rock, or perhaps the birds of the world will rise up to defend their Jurassic ancestors. That’s right, birds still feel the burn of their closest relatives. In “Armageddon”, it wouldn’t matter if the… “astronauts” were sent up to simply kick an asteroid, Michael Bay would still find a way for them to save the planet with a good old punt. Such is the way of it with “Armageddon”, realism itself is booted out the window faster than you can say “Shia Labouef” and it will infuriate some to no end, but it does help to create a mildly entertaining movie that unfortunately overstays its admittedly muted welcome.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review

Ah, The “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, one of what I call the “Big Three” of the slasher genre, along with “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween”. Those who have seen all of these movies, or even just a fair few, know that the endless sequels were almost all tosh. If there is one thing worse than the slasher sequel though, it’s the horror remake. All three of these franchises have been remade and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is the last to get this treatment, and oh boy oh boy, I can’t wait to tell you how disappointing it is.

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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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