MOVIE REVIEW: Transformers: The Last Knight

Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg take one more run at the Death Star in the latest train wreck that is the Transformers Franchise.  This time Optimus Prime is floating aimlessly through space looking for his creator, while on Earth the rest of the Transformers both good and bad are being hunted down and exterminated.  When Mark Wahlberg finds a dying transformer it gives him a symbol that turns him into the last Knight.

I’m a child of the 80’s, well I was born in 1975 so, I really had my cognitive awareness fully awakened in the 80’s.  So The Transformers, He Man, Mask, Knight Rider, and The A-Team are all cherished memories for me.  The first Transformers movie was a great adaptation for me, it had its flaws for sure, but as far as 80’s adaptations it was far and above the usual.  Since then though the downward spiral continued with both fans of the Generation One cartoon and the first live action movie both feeling that the early promise has been overshadowed.

Here in The Last Knight there is little for me to say that you should have faith and go see this film.  Even fans of the films, if there are any out there still, will find it hard to say that this is a good movie.  The special effects are high above the norm for any film this summer, so far, and the chemistry between the human performers is quite good.  Anthony Hopkins offers some comic relief and bewilderment to why he’s there in an unusual role for the Oscar winner.  Also the fight between Optimus and Bumblebee is really well done.

Sadly that is where it ends for me.  The script, such as it is, and with so many writers giving their credits to this feature, is just lacking any emotional connection with the audience and the film.  But the biggest problem for me is that the editing is painfully woeful with the audience being asked to make some big leaps of faith to carry on the continuity that the film makers cannot manage.  Again as with previous outings for the franchise when it’s robot against robot you cannot make out which one is fighting the other.  When it came with the original cartoon you could always tell which bot was going against which bot.

Wahlberg looks like he’s just threading water trying to get through a contract that binds him to the films.  Hopkins is known for taking roles that just make you scratch your head, I guess if he was a transformer you’d call him Paycheck.  A lot of the main stars of the previous films are there in one form or another, with Stanley Tucci giving a very odd performance which threw me off-balance more than anything else.  Actress Isabela Moner, creatively called Izabella in the film, seems at the start to have a big role and then is practically forgotten about for a fair chunk of the 150 minutes.

As for the Transformers themselves, although their voices are good, their dialogue is bordering on the insane.  The only highlight is a non transformer called Cogsman, a robot butler/Ninja in service to Anthony Hopkins character.  A whole movie of him should be a fun exercise.

Everyone seems to be on record that this is Michael Bay’s last time with the Franchise, and I can only hope that this is true, I’m not a Michael Bay hater, but I think when it comes to this series he’s done all the damage that he can.  They need to get a different creative team, take a chance on a more edgy director, and get a script that works.  Some attention in the area of the editing suite would be appreciated as well.  If you want to finish off this series then this is how you’ll go about it.  I’d understand any Transformer fan who passes on this one.  You are forgiven in advance.

Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Matt Holloway, Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel

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