Call me what you want, but I haven’t watched a Transformers film since Megan Fox gave up appearing as a scantily-clad car mechanic in the franchise. There, I said it. And the worst part is that you’re probably exactly the same too.
So when I was asked to review the fifth instalment in the saga, I was slightly hesitant. Firstly, because I knew little-to-sod-all about the events in the third and fourth film, and because I assumed it was going to be bloody dreadful.
I assumed right.
Now when I say “Transformers”, you think of science-fiction battles, set in a not-so-distant future, right? Well, you’re in luck, because the film opens in 484 AD. We’re greeted to King Arthur fighting the Saxons, while Stanley Tucci’s drunken Merlin finds a hiding Transformer, with a magical staff, which gave Merlin the ability to control a three-headed metallic dragon.
These are all real things that happened. I know you may think you’ve accidentally taken ecstasy, but that happened.
It’s almost as if Michael Bay leant back on his infinite wealth and said “Meh. People like Game of Thrones. I should do that. And thinking about it, people don’t like Nazis. Maybe I should have the Transformers kill a few of those during WWII?”
(Again, that did happen.)
Let’s put the weird Quantum Leap time-jumping aside, and head to the present day where a girl has a robot. That’s all you need to know about her, because while she featured very heavily in the theatrical trailer, that’s her whole story arc. She appears. She sits down for the duration of the film, and occasionally cries. Isabela Moner, the 16-year-old, plays her very well, but she’s about as useful to the story as a screen doors on a submarine.
During the first act of the movie, the girl is rescued by the main protagonist, Mark Wahlberg’s Cade, in – yup, you guessed it – a large-scale battle of explosions and fireworks. This is an occurring theme throughout this movie. The cameraman seems like he downed a pint of blue food-colouring on set, as the shot never stays still. Every actor is swearing and screams their lines. Naturally. It is Michael Bay. Is anyone else just fucking tired of these explosions?
EXT. CITY – DAY
A Transformer walks into shot and knocks a tree. The entire town explodes into a mass hysteria of fire and death, because… Why not?
Mark Wahlberg is Mark; he’s a so-so action star, alongside a rather annoying Laura Haddock – his female co-star, who begin the flick despising each other. Even Ray Charles can see where this is going. Despite bickering with one another throughout the entirety of The Last Knight, they end up being with each other. Mark had more in common with Optimus Prime; he should have ended up with him. Plus, imagine how bad-ass their kids would be. No-one would bully them.
Transformers: The Last Knight boasts an incredible roster of secondary characters. I’ve already mentioned Stanley Tucci, who had even less time than girl-who-appeared-in-it-and-cried-a-bit, unfortunately. Anthony Hopkins is quite delightful in the picture, making rude quips and gestures. Maybe I like this just because I’m not used to seeing the Oscar-winner in this fashion, but screw it – I could watch him play a goose and still adore his performance. John Goodman and Steve Buscemi also make appearances as Autobots, with the latter in another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it performance.
This picture seems to just be so bloody confused with itself, which in turn left me confused. And much like a more passive-aggressive Hulk, you won’t like me when I’m confused. For a picture about alien robots that can turn into caravans, this should be fun, but the fifth instalment in the franchise takes itself so damn seriously. Yet at times, it appears as if it was made for kids… And thick kids at that. During the film, Optimus Prime turns evil. This is indicated by Optimus’ eyes turning red, along with half of his face. Why? I don’t know. Do the Autobots have this weird red-feature in their skin just in case they fancy being naughty? It makes no sense, but as long as you know he’s now a baddie. It would have been less obvious to emblazon a Swastika onto his forehead. (But then again, during that unnecessary flashback to Nazi-Germany, maybe they had, and I didn’t spot it.)
I’ve made jokes about the Nazis being bad. I’ve made gags about Ray Charles being blind. I’ll admit – it’s lazy writing. But that’s nothing in comparison to Transformers 5’s screenplay. I refuse to give it its full title, because I feel a much more apt name would be Transformers: Deus Ex Machina. From the first film, the Autobot Bumblebee has only been able to communicate via recordings of popular songs and movies; replaying sentences from those, due to a lost voicebox. He. Physically. Cannot. Talk. So during his climatic battle with Darth Prime, what saves him? A huge grenade? A sword-wielding Transformer? A bloody powercut? I’d have accepted all of those over Bumblebee somehow managing to talk for the first time and convincing Optimus Prime to be a good guy again. Optimus Prime would make a lousy serial killer.
“I’m going to kill you.”
“But… Please, don’t do this!”
“Dammit. You spoke to me. I’m gonna have to let you go, aren’t I? This is the eighteenth one this week.”
I dare say huge Transformers fans will moderately enjoy this picture, before it’s 2019 sequel, as well as it’s spin-off, Bumblebee, which is to feature Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena, but any Avatar fan will adore this film. Simply because the entire third-act is a direct rip-off of Avatar’s.
The protagonist’s battle their foes on odd-looking helicopters and planes, as they duck and dive through floating islands, all connected to one another via intwining vines. Meanwhile, mystical winged creatures soar about, taking out the villains.
That is, however, about as much detail as I’m going to go into when it comes to the film’s plot. Why? No. Not in case you’re going to watch it, but because I didn’t have the foggiest what was going on for the most part.
Let’s just breathe a communal sigh of relief that the next Transformers movie is set for release in a year’s time. For a man whose livelihood is reliant on the film industry, I don’t say this often, but with any luck, cinema will become obsolete by the time the next Transformers movie is released.