Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: * ½ out of 4
Optimus Prime is back in Transformers: The Last Knight

            Ten years ago, director, Michael Bay (The Rock, Armageddon, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi) and executive producer, Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones franchise, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park) brought the world of Transformers to the big-screen and was a massive hit and even won several critics over. The first Transformers movie released in 2007 was an ambitious film especially because of Michael Bay’s reputation as a director, but with Spielberg onboard as well as some dazzling special effects and thrilling action sequences he turned out a decent product, undeniably flawed but a fun dumb movie with some impressive effects and action; one of my favorite films from that summer.
            I was down for a franchise after the spectacle of the first movie, sadly none of them were able to live up to it. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen offended, Transformers: Dark of the Moon just existed, and Transformers: Age of Extinction kept the audience hostage for nearly three hours.
            Now Michael Bay has given us his supposed final Transformers film, Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth installment in the franchise and the second movie to star Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job, Deepwater Horizon, Patriot’s Day) as inventor, Cade Yeager. You’d think with this being Bay’s final movie in the series he’d put more thought, effort, and care into it…he doesn’t.
            Transformers: The Last Knight is a rusty rehash of the exact same things we’ve seen in the earlier films. Despite being shorter than the previous sequels, the film is clocked in for a two-and-a-half-hour runtime with a thin script stretched out and filled with overblown action sequences, poor character development, obnoxious and at times pointless side characters, an incredibly stupid plot even for Transformers standards, and really, REALLY bad humor.
            After the events of Age of Extinction, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) has left planet Earth and the Autobots in search for his creators on the remains of planet Cybertron. He confronts the creator of the entire Transformers race, a sorceress named Quintessa (voiced by Gemma Chan-Doctor Who, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) who corrupts Optimus Prime so he can do her bidding to bring Cybertron back by destroying Earth.
            Meanwhile the rest of the Transformers remain outcasts on Earth and as more of them arrived the government formed the Transformers Reaction Force (TRF) to hunt and destroy them whether an Autobot or Decepticon. After a few kids sneak into a war-torn part of Chicago and stumble upon a crashed alien ship that was piloted by a Cybertronian Knight they get attacked by a TRF Walker and shortly saved by Cade Yeager and the Knight gives Cade a metallic talisman.
            Yeager has been hiding out in a junkyard which serves as a sanctuary for many of the surviving Autobots including Bumblebee, Hound (voiced by John Goodman-Monsters Inc., 10 Cloverfield Lane, Kong: Skull Island), Drift (voiced by Ken Watanabe-Letters from Iwo Jima, Inception, Godzilla), Crosshairs (voiced by John DiMaggio-Futurama, Kim Possible, Batman: Under the Red Hood), and Wheelie (voiced by Tom Kenny-SpongeBob Squarepants, The Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time), and while there he finds out one of the kids he saved named Izabella (Isabela Moner-100 Things to Do Before High School, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, Legends of the Hidden Temple) followed him home because she has nowhere to go due to her family being killed by Decepticons during the Chicago battle and she wants to stay and fight them.
            An astronomer and historian named Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins-The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Hitchcock) calls in Cade and an English Literature Professor named Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock-How Not to Live Your Life, Da Vinci’s Demons, Guardians of the Galaxy) to explain the history of the Transformers and the purpose of his talisman. Apparently, the Transformers have been around since medieval times and fought alongside King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable and have battled in many of the world’s wars.
            Burton tasks Cade and Viviane to obtain a powerful staff to prevent an ancient machine from being activated and a collision between Earth and Cybertron that could result in the end of the world. It’s up to Cade, Viviane, Izabella, and the Autobots to find the staff, bring Optimus Prime back, and stop the Decepticons, led once again by Megatron (voiced by Frank Welker-Scooby-Doo, The Transformers, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) before they obtain Cade’s talisman and destroy the planet.
            The film also stars Josh Duhamel (All My Children, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Life as We Know It) as former N.E.S.T. commander and unwilling member of the TRF, William Lennox, John Turturro (Barton Fink, Mr. Deeds, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan) as former Sector 7 agent, Seymour Simmons, Santiago Cabrera (Heroes, Merlin, The Musketeers) as TRF commander, Santos, and comedian, Jerrod Carmichael (Neighbors, The Carmichael Show, The Disaster Artist) as Jimmy, and features the voices of Omar Sky (The Intouchables, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jurassic World) as Hot Rod, Mark Ryan (The Bill, Charlie’s Angels, Black Sails) as Bulldog, Steve Buscemi (The Sopranos, Monsters Inc., Hotel Transylvania) as Daytrader, Jess Harnell (Animaniacs, The Emperor’s New Groove, Cars) as Barricade, Reno Wilson (Heist, Crank, Mike & Molly) as Sqweeks and Mohawk, and DiMaggio also provides the voice for Nitro Zeus.
            Overall, Transformers: The Last Knight is just another lousy Transformers sequel and quite possibly the one I disliked the most. Yeah, I thought it was worse than Revenge of the Fallen despite this one being less of a pain to sit through, because the action sequences have gotten stale, the humor is really terrible this time around (Not once did I laugh), and the inclusion of the Mohawk Decepticon; without saying much imagine the Twins from Revenge of the Fallen combined together into one robot and evil (Every time he appeared onscreen I wanted him dead).
            On a positive note, the climax doesn’t rehash the desert and city battle and despite looking like Transformers and Top Gun crapped out Avatar it’s actually kind of a fun sequence and a refreshing location change for a Transformers fight scene. Sadly, the movie doesn’t improve on its character development Wahlberg’s just doing his usual shtick, Haddock is just another Megan Fox/Rosie Huntington-Whiteley clone, Optimus Prime is barely in it, the side characters are forgettable, and the only standout character is Anthony Hopkins for reasons I dare not ruin here, also Michael Bay manages to make kids dumber in this movie.
            This is it, the worst Transformers (and Michael Bay) movie I’ve ever seen and I really hope Bay sticks to his word on his departure from the franchise. Because he managed to “Transform” a huge 2007 action spectacle with a lot of potential into a complete joke and lazily rehashing the exact same stuff.

            I’m sure kids and tweens will eat this movie up, buy the toys, and be thrilled by watching giant robots punching each other with fiery explosions in the background, and they’re such troopers. After you’ve watched the exact same thing for ten years now with little variety or new things put in, it’s time to throw it into the scrapyard.  

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