Well, boys and girls, Michael Bay has worked hard to give us something else we didn’t ask for, the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise, Transformers: The Last Knight. For those of you that wish to thank Bay for all his hard work, why don’t you wait until he’s done with the franchise and give him one big thank you? I know I plan to! Now, if everything goes to plan (fingers crossed) there will only be two more movies. A sequel to The Last Knight (no title yet) is set to be released June 2019 and a Bumblebee spin-off (starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena) with a working title of “Brighton Falls” is set to be released December 2018. All told that makes seven Transformers movies. Six that try (and fail) to tell one big story and a (money grabbing) spin-off, because Bumblebee is that cool.
In case you haven’t noticed it, yeah, I have some animosity towards Bay and what he’s done to the Transformers. I grew up with the cartoons and played with the toys, I loved the Transformers. When I heard about the first movie, Transformers (2007), I tried to be happy, but I knew it was gonna hurt to watch and… it did. Bay has a way of taking things my inner child enjoyed, twisting it to his own perverse images and then slowing crushing it under his boot. Disclaimer: Those were the words of my inner child, not mine, but I do support what he said. What makes my inner child’s tear-filled words somewhat true is the movies have gotten worse with each film and it’s not just me that thinks this. The budget for The Last Knight was $217 million and its box office numbers are (worldwide) $605.4 million. Yeah, I know that doesn’t seem like a bad number, but The Last Knight has the lowest debut of the franchise by $25 million. Those numbers show two things. One, people, in general, are getting burned out on Transformers and two, even the fans are getting tired of watching Bay’s slow descent into Transformer madness play out on the big screen.
Here’s what they are trying to sell as Transformers: The Last Knight’s story. Optimus Prime travels back to Cybertron and finds out his homeworld is completely dead, but that there is hope. There’s a relic on Earth that could bring Cybertron back to life if he can find it. Meanwhile, the leaderless Autobots are in hiding due to the Hong Kong battle three years ago and are considered outlaws, all with Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), by all the governments on Earth. What could make this movie more interesting? There are giant metallic horns slowing popping up in different locations around the world. As doom slowly approaches Earth, all seems lost. Yet, if our heroes can find Merlin’s staff (… yeah, Merlin, knights of the round table and all that) Earth could be saved.
I’m gonna start with the whole Merlin time period because with each movie it seems like the amount of time the Transformers have been on Earth gets longer and longer. Now, apparently, the Transformers have thrown on some chainmail and pulled up a seat next to King Arthur, for the greater good. The storyline for this one is so choppy and incoherent it’s not even funny. Then again neither were most of the jokes they tried to pull off. It’s like they came up with several different ideas for the movie, couldn’t decide which one to use and said: “F*** it, use ’em all!” Cause that’s how it feels when watching it. There are so many plot holes in this one, it actually hurt my head trying to get around them. Another thing that killed the movie for me was the attention-grabbing or pointless characters they threw into the story like Mohawk or Sqweeks,for example. Then there are the random things they throw in that did nothing for the story like the “baby” Dinobots. Speaking of which, where did the babies even come from? Seriously, if you can answer that question I would appreciate it because the movie doesn’t explain it. I’ve now seen this movie twice because I was thinking I missed something on the first viewing that answered questions and brought it all together. Well, I was right on the missed a few things part, but what I missed actually brought more questions by the time it was over. I now feel worse about the movie than I did before and I didn’t think that was possible.
It has a hundred and fifty-five minute run time and I felt every one of those minutes being taken from me. While watching this movie I felt like Alex during the aversion therapy in A Clockwork Orange (1975)… minus the straps, eye drops, and Beethoven. For those that haven’t seen Clockwork. Alex is strapped to a chair and forced to watch horrible images. Afterwards, any thoughts or acts of those images made him sick. Luckily, my therapy wasn’t as hardcore as Alex’s but after watching this movie I’m stuck with that same sick feeling anytime I think about Transformers. Bay’s need for big and random explosions overrode any sense of story editing. Like let’s make a giant Transformer pop up in the middle of the road, cause some chaos (queue explosions) and then disappear. A hundred-foot-robot just came and went and everyone is more concerned with going after a human? By the way, that’s the last time we see that Transformer in the movie, it just left during a fight. Where to? Who knows, maybe to go get a giant robot size ice cream cone or something.
Some of the cast you’ll see is Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor), Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Josh Duhamel (Transformers), Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy), Jerrod Carmichael (Neighbors), Gemma Chan (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Isabela Moner (Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life), Santiago Cabrera (The Life of Fish), John Turturro (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), Glenn Morshower (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and the voice work was done by Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Erik Aadahl (Bumblebee), John Goodman (Hound), Ken Watanabe (Drift), John DiMaggio (Crosshairs), Jim Carter (Cogman), Omar Sy (Hot Rod), Reno Wilson (Sqweeks), Tom Kenny (Wheelie), Steve Buscemi (Daytrader), Frank Welker (Megatron), Jess Harnell (Barricade), Reno Wilson (Mohawk), John DiMaggio and Steven Barr (Nito Zeus). As far as the cast goes, everyone did as good of a job as they could’ve with what they were given. I will same it was kind of hard taking Wahlberg’s character serious though because they continue to stick with the same character formula for the main star, which is one part bumbling idiot and one part superhuman. Now, Hopkins is someone I’ve always enjoyed watching in films, but not in this one. While his character seemed to know and understand everything that was going on around him, Hopkins seemed unsure in his scenes and came off like he was just lifelessly saying what was in the script.
As you can read, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about Transformers: The Last Knight, but I can say, just like the past films, that the special effects are eyeball frying awesome. If nothing else, Bay keeps it constant by always making sure the effects are strong. The sets and scenery are some of the film’s highlights.
Side note: The film is rated PG-13 for violence and language. Sadly, the language is what really bothers me about the Transformers movies. They could’ve gone with more of a PG rating like the Star Wars movies did, still kept the violence and been more kid-friendly. Instead, like giggling school kids, the writers like to try and slip in an F-bomb while trying to stop the world from blowing up.
For all you die-hard fans, Transformers: The Last Knight had a Blu-ray release on September 26th, 2017 and here’s the what you’ll see in the bonus features.
* Merging Mythologies: A detailed look at how the film intersects with the Arthurian era and World War II. It includes narrative details, crafting the ancient Transformers, props and set pieces, casting, and more.
* Climbing the Ranks: This supplement examines the military characters who appear in the film and their role in the story, actor preparations for the parts, shooting intense action scenes, working alongside real Navy SEALs, filming locations, and more.
* The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK: An in-depth look at shooting key scenes in England. It’s a broad, all-encompassing piece that focuses on far more than filming locations and offers some interesting anecdotes, such as how the crew had to be careful not to break any treasured antiquities at some of the locations.
* Motors and Magic: This piece takes a close look at several key characters: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Hot Rod, Hound, Crosshairs, Drift, Cogman, Sqweeks, Day Trader, Megatron, Barricade, and Mohawk.
* Alien Landscape: Cybertron: A look at the role Quintessa and the Transformers’ homeworld play in the film.
One More Giant Effin’ Movie: A rapid-fire look at the Bayhem on the set.
Overall, as an adult, this is the worst of the Transformers movies, but the kids will like watching the giant robots bumping into each other, even though neither of you will understand why they’re doing it.