I really have to hand it to Michael Bay. He’s somehow managed to make each entry in his live- action Transformers series consistently worse to the point where it’s almost an art form. While the original cartoon was never much more than an extended advert to sell kids new toys, it’s always had a certain charm and endearing quality to it thas is evident in the amount of nostalgia people have for it. While it was fun noticing the many animation errors and continuity problems that plagued the show (an extensive list of which can be found online), the real heart of the show was seeing all the heroic Autobots clashing with the evil forces of the Decepticons every episode. Optimus Prime was the best.
It’s a shame that the same can’t be said for The Last Knight however, which seems to go to great lengths just to perform an all-out assault on my senses throughout the entire thing. I’m not even sure this can even be called a movie, it’s a haphazard collection of scenes and sounds that have been somehow cobbled together to form what can only be described as a mess. Yeah that sounds more appropriate, from now on this will be referred to as a ‘mess’ rather than a ‘movie’.
The plot is more of the same of what you expect from one of these. There’s a magical maguffin that has been lost for centuries, and now the Decepticons want to find it for some reason or another, and the world is doomed. It’s up to a group of robots to rise to the challenge and save Earth. Oh yeah, there’s Autobots too.
Let’s start off with what I can sort-of say I liked. For one thing, both the Decepticons and Autobots have a lot more character and personality now. In the previous movies, the Autobots were all bright, colorful and had somewhat distinct personas that set them apart. There was the heroic leader, the gruff heavy, the… racial stereotype? Anyway, in this new mess, both sides get their own share of actual characters (robots?) with a Decepticon introduction screen that looks like it came straight of the equally-abysmal Suicide Squad (text on screen, yay!)
It was also bizarrely enjoyable seeing an actor like Anthony Hopkins starring in tripe like this, delivering lines you really couldn’t imagine someone like him even thinking about. The fluff about King Arthur and his knights being connected with the Transformers was fine, I wasn’t really bothered by it at all.
That’s about it for what I liked, but everything else in this mess was just horrendously bad. The story, if I can even call it that, feels like each member of the writing team turned up drunk to the meetings and slapped together some words onto a post-it note, then stuck it to a giant board while blindfolded, which was then used as the script. Optimus Prime somehow ends up meeting his ‘creator’, a female robot who mutters something about him being the only one who can save Cybertron, which is somehow not-destroyed but floating about in space like a wet piece of cardboard somebody dropped into the toilet, breaking apart but still somehow managing to remain intact. She tasks Optimus with finding her staff, which can do something, otherwise Cyberton will be destroyed, I think. I don’t really see what the point of this is, because apparently she’s already tasked Megatron with the job (offscreen, because I guess we don’t need to have these things explained to us.)
That’s it for the plot, basically. I could probably mention Optimus turning evil because it’s in all the marketing, but he turns good again after a few minutes of fighting so there’s not much point.
Characters come and go, and I think I’d much prefer the latter rather than the former because the main cast are so unlikeable and dull it felt like I was watching high-budget adult entertainment most of the time, without the good bits. The mess tries to appeal to a wider audience by including a no-nonsense young female character, but even she gets tossed by the wayside for the finale, in which M4rky-M4rk and the Junky Bunch save the day.
The special effects were great, but that’s to be expected at this point. The transformation sequences and robot designs are a joy to watch, and it’s nice to actually be able to tell them apart. On the other side of the technical side though, the movie was painful to watch due to the aspect ratio changing frequently. I don’t know who thought this was a good idea but many scenes were a janky mess, with characters being shown in different ratios during the same conversation.
Transformers: The Last Knight is such an unrelenting barrage of nonsensical garbage and hideous writing that I’m actually shocked that people enjoyed this mess. I’m truly relieved that it made far less than the other films because it seems that people are actually starting to wake up to the fact that this is the cinematic equivalent of aggressive diarrhea.
It’s no longer airing in theatres, and I don’t recommend you subject yourself to the torture of watching it.
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