Monday 26 June 2017

Movie Review - Transformers: The Last Knight

Can you believe it's been a decade since the live action Transformers series debuted? Whilst the original earned mixed reception, the series only got worse and worse the more it went on - churning out hideous, laughable CGI shitfests like Revenge of the Fallen and forced, underplotted nonsense like Age of Extinction. It seems the robots in disguise simply can't craft a half decent film, and this fact becomes only more true with the even more laughable The Last Knight - naught but an obvious attempt to milk whatever value the series has left without a care in the world for any meaningful storytelling or genuine entertainment value.

The plot - if you can even call it one - follows almost directly on from Age of Extinction, seeing Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) departing Earth to find his creators, a goal he soon achieves but with tragic results. Intertwined with this is the increasing hatred of Transformers back on Earth and their pursuit by governments worldwide...and, uh, some evil guys show up at sporadic moments, we rapidly jump between almost every single country in the world, and Mark Wahlberg is in there somewhere as a generic action star doing stuff.

It's hard to summarise the plot coherently because everything is so badly drafted that you can just see how desperate the studio was to pump this out as quick as possible. The narrative begins sluggish and somewhat random, once again bringing Transformers into almost every element of human history, and jumping between all sorts of random characters and locations with no focus or structure. As things keep going, it gets more and more tied up in a series of nonsensical twists and turns - instead, Bay and his crew decide to focus more on his typical craving for dreadful stereotypes, consistently rude (and unfunny) jokes, and of course a handful of convoluted action scenes that are virtually flawless when it comes to technical finesse but repetitive and boring in every other respect.

Optimus Prime as a character has slowly worsened over the series, going from a decent take on his heroic, sympathetic persona in the 2007 original to a savage, snappy, and often scary beast whose personality makes it hard to dictate whether he is a hero or villain half the time. This is an important plot element of The Last Knight in all fairness, but it's so poorly handled that you almost forget about Prime due to his extensive absences and abysmal development - he certainly never feels like a main protagonist, and it's hard to take both him and the other main characters seriously when most of their "serious" dialogue is downright painful to listen to. People who have come to enjoy the Transformers films over time may find stuff to like in The Last Knight, mainly within it's admittedly epic if bloated climax, but it often finds itself as a testing, forgettable, and transparently sappy blockbuster that clearly had no interest behind it outside of monetary potential.