Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Isabela Moner, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Anthony Hopkins, Glenn Morshower
Running Time: 149 mins
Release Date: 22/06/2017
10 years ago, a small movie called Transformers was released and with that film came a whole heap of charm and personality that many believed could be the start of a popular franchise with these loveable toys and well-liked animated television show. Enter 2017 and the release of Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth instalment and many will be asking for the end, but sadly with a proposed releasing idea similar to that of Disney and Marvel, we’ll be seeing a Transformers film every year moving forward. (Distant cries ring out).
Now let me be honest and be up front about my opinion on Transformers, as it’ll shock to reveal that I honestly enjoy the series, I loved the first Transformers, with a fantastic blend of heart, soul, comedic timing and action, it was refreshing, new and hooked me into it.
The second did the exact same job, I was happy with what I was seeing and really grew to appreciate it, but then something happened. Dark Of The Moon was when the franchise started to spiral, with moving away from what it made it great in the first place, to just pumping out a 3 hour movie, with loads of over-the-top bombastic action sequences, strung together with an incoherent story, trying to meld the Transformers universe into Human history, whilst using offensive, sometimes borderline stupid humour: it just became a hot mess.
The aftermath of that film led to Michael Bay recasting the film to follow a new narrative, and Age of Extinction was better, not great, but better and there was hope. And now that hope is gone. The same hope that’s disappeared from The Pirates of The Caribbean franchise but used to reinvigorate the Fast & Furious series. Maybe it’s just the inclusion of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson?
At the beginning we have Michael Bay’s attempt at creating a backstory to allow the story to have a decent foundation to explore, but it falls flat between slow motion shots of long haired, muddy, Glastonbury-type soldiers be blown up and thrown, then cut with Stanley Tucci’s random appearance as Merlin, who is trying to coax Transformers into helping their fight to save humanity. It’s clunky and really unnecessary. A common theme throughout.
Moving forward into modern day, we see a war-torn Chicago after the events of the last film, with a group of kids going into a no-go area, where they are soon greeted by a young girl and her small robot, who are helping the injured Transformers, and the man, the myth, the legend himself, Mark Wahlberg. You’ve also got Josh Duhamel returning as a part of a force helping to combat all Transformers, and there you have you’re beginnings. Throw in junk yard scenes that are tragically lazy and shot haphazardly, then it’s off to the races, with the main thread of the story being that a staff can protect Earth from Cybertron’s new villain who wants to use Optimus Prime to rebuild it to its former glory.
Wahlberg is one the key’s to ensuring this is stopped along with Laura Haddock, who plays an Oxford intellectual, who is a direct descendant, who so happens to be the only Human to control the staff; convenient. The only saving grace of this film is Sir Anthony Hopkins. Yes you read that right, Sir Anthony Hopkins.
From the moment he’s on screen to the last, he’s bats**t insane, mumbling, frantically ranting, and telling a lot of people to shut up. It’s a loose cannon type of role, and clearly Hopkins is having fun let loose. He does get irritating when it’s overplayed but it was refreshing in-between the soulless fighting, action scenes, and odd chemistry between Walhberg and Haddock.
Throw in a small butler, a C3PO knock-off, John Turturro returning for a bit part role, the main Transformers popping in and out of scenes without much going on, and a new “ethnic minority” sidekick, which could’ve been any actor, and barely is even a thought in the film. It’s horribly offensive to think how this is just a throwaway role, but Bay likes to have that in all of the Transformers movies. That and the use of CGI, which at times is great, and especially the moments Bumblebee breaks about to come back together, but the last 45 minutes is laughable. Just really takes you out of the action and it’s jarring to continue to watch. It’s convoluted, it’s messy and way too long, even though it’s shorter than the previous film.
I have a strong theory that the ending was completely different and the structure was, but has been undergoing changes, right up until the last minute. It seems to be going into so many different directions, starting up small storylines to drop them, and then to not explain why something happens, just leaves an empty feeling of Bay wanting to put out a 3 hour film regardless of what is presented.
I guess they’ll get a pay day out of it regardless as these films tend to do really well, especially younger audiences, but perhaps with Bay stepping down as the helm of the franchise, we could see fresh blood use the building block to create a decent film that harks back to the original. Next up is the Bumblebee stand-alone film, which we hope peels off into a new direction, perhaps a spy thriller or a Western, or even a horror film, about a car that kills when it transforms. Food for thought indeed.