Usually when I catch widely released movie I aim to post a review relatively soon (time permitting) to help you guys decide whether or not to plonk down your hard earned cash on what’s being offered at the local multiplex. However with Michael Bay’s fifth (!) entry into the much maligned Transformers franchise I seem to be a little slow off the starting line. That’s because a little under a week after seeing it I’m still not entirely sure as to what the fuck I saw.
Since the (admittedly cool) original, Bay’s tenuous grip on the series’ quality has been slipping but with the previous instalment, the ludicrously bloated Age Of Extinction, I’d thought he’d hit a new low. Overlong, idiotic and insulting to all carbon based life forms, at least a fun performance by Mark Wahlberg (as the world’s most awesomely named Bostonian- slash – Texan, Cade Yager) and a last minute cameo by the Dinobots lifted morale a little.
Not here though. Transformers: The Last Knight is a truly bewildering suckfest that should carry a government health warning. A maelstrom of unfunny one liners, flubbed exposition and loud noisy things that stand as one of the worst examples of cinematic storytelling I have ever seen. The fact that a whole brainstrust of writers and no less than 7 (fucking seven!) editors put this together is horrifying to say the least but this is Bay’s fifth time at this. How the Hell can he be getting worse at this? Like Roland Emmerich with Independence Day: Resurgence and the Wachowskis with Jupiter Ascending, there really is no excuse for someone with this much experience at this exact thing to put out a product this shit.
Some of the storytelling attempts here are laugh of loud bad. For example, Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins plays a Lord who knows all about the secret history of the Transformers (because they have one of those now) so the vast majority of his dialogue is mountains and mountains of important exposition. In fact, his lines spell out not only what is happening, but also why. Pretty important stuff, yeah? So why is all of the above rendered virtually unintelligible buy the choice for Hopkins to play his role as “comically” senile. Whether going off on unfunny tangents or screaming a fat person off a submarine (go with it) the only thing more distracting than his performance is that he plays most of it off his 4 foot, lunatic, robot, ninja, butler. Yep, you read that right. You getting me now?
No one (except maybe Bumblebee) escapes Bay’s disinterest in keeping things logical. It’s like he’s bored and is trying to stoke interest by torpedoing his own movie.
Why else would you have a scene where uber-threat Megatron (his transformation into Galvatron in the last movie all but forgotten) has to negotiate with a group of lawyers to get his troops released from jail in an unfunny Suicide Squad style bit? Or have Stanley Tucci turn up as a drunken Merlin in the medieval prologue? Or have Laura Haddock’s professor character done up in specs and tight shirt like she’s waiting to fuck a plumber in a porn film?
Or the fact that despite being slathered all over the posters and trailers, Optimus Prime is barely in this movie for TWENTY MINUTES!? This fucker’s 151 minutes long, people!!
Oh, sure, the explosions are big and the CGI is a photo real as ever but even I’ve got to draw the line somewhere and I’m a fan! The flashy stuff isn’t enough anymore, this shit has got to start making sense or this proposed legion of spin off’s is done before it even starts.
So are there ANY good points? Young actress impresses and a proposed Bumblebee 80’s set spinoff from the director of Kubo And The 2 Strings still sounds fun and if planet eating Transformer God Unicron arrives in the next instalment like he’s hinted at I guess I’ll go see one more, although fans will NOT like where he comes from.
I’m gonna leave you now with quite possibly the most damning comparison I can muster. During the film, while plot points and various stuff hurled themselves at us with dizzying speed, I turned to a friend of mine and asked if this is what it is like to be off your meds in the maniac phase of bipolar disorder. My friend who has experience in this field said yes, pretty much, but person experiencing it can actually make sense of the chaos that’s occurring.
No one is making sense of Transformers: The Last Knight.
Make of that what you may.
But seriously? Save your damn money and go see Baby Driver instead.