Friday, May 14, 2021

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Film Review

A summer blockbuster to avoid


Latest Transformers movie is overstuffed, overlong, boring and exhausting

“Transformers: The Last Knight” PG-13 Director: Michael Bay Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel

“Transformers: The Last Knight”
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel

Sometimes a movie comes along that leaves certain audiences wondering, “Why?”

Why was this movie made? Who was this made for? What was the point the movie wanted to make? You get the idea. “Transformers: The Last Knight” is the fifth film of the Transformers series (and reportedly, Michael Bay’s last) and one that raised all the questions above and so many more. Let’s get into it, because this is a summer blockbuster you’re going to want to avoid.

As the story opens, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is one of the few humans who still sees the Autobots as beacons of hope and worthy of being helped. The rest of humanity has had enough of their wanton destruction of various cities from earlier in the franchise. After coming into possession of an ancient Transformers artifact called the Talisman, Cade discovers he’s been chosen to carry out a quest for the Transformers. On the other side of the world, a woman named Vivian is the key to locating and using the staff of Merlin, because she is the only one who can wield it. Thankfully, the Edmund (Anthony Hopkins) character is on hand to spout exposition any time Optimus Prime (the exposition king) is off-screen or if the audience is lost in this ridiculous movie.

In addition to this plot, there are several sub-plots that come off as entirely different movies rather than building to a common goal. The first of which introduces King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table. These were the men who inspired the first Transformers to come to Earth. Stanley Tucci’s role as Merlin is humorous if anything, but what’s more fun is that he was already cast in a previous Transformers film as a different character. (But who pays attention to minor details like that?)

Prep Iowa

Yet another plot involves Optimus Prime returning to Cybertron to find out what happened to his home and why more Transformers are coming to Earth. It doesn’t take long for Optimus to be brainwashed and used as a weapon against the humans he has sworn (several times over) to protect.

With all this going on, and characters that are so thinly written and poorly developed, it’s hard to care when countless lives are lost in this fight. Also in the mix are Lennox (Josh Duhamel), the military man from the previous movies; Jimmy (Jerrod Carmichael), Cade’s token sidekick; and Izabella (Isabela Moner), the obligatory cute kid. The best character, though, is Cogman (Jim Carter), Edmund’s robotic butler, a sort of sociopathic C-3PO.

After five movies, I don’t think I’m alone in saying: I do not care about the humans. Just give me a movie about Transformers doing their thing. Everything involving the military, the government, robot dinosaurs — it’s all pointless! The runtime doesn’t help, clocking in at two and a half hours. It could and should have been an hour shorter. It’s overstuffed, overlong, dreary, boring and exhausting, just like the previous four.

The film does end with a bit of a cliffhanger, circling back to a seemingly huge plot device early on in the film that isn’t addressed until the mid-credit scene. While the film doesn’t inspire much confidence that another is needed, it’s important to note how this series could change for the better once Michael Bay is out of the picture. Let’s do away with the mindless, loud explosions and bouncing boobs and move toward a movie with heart like the 1986 animated feature “Transformers: The Movie”. As a matter of fact, just go ahead and watch that and leave this franchise to go the way of Cybertron. ♦


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