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Dan's Review: "Transformers 5" adds to the heap

Jun 28, 2017 05:02PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Transformers: The Last Knight - © 2017 Paramount Pictures.Transformers: The Last Knight - © 2017 Paramount Pictures.

Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount)

Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo.

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Jerrod Carmichael, Santiago Cabrera, Glenn Morshower, Liam Garrigan, Mitch Pileggi, Tony Hale, (voices of) Peter Cullen, Erik Aadahl, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Jim Carter, Omar Sy, Tom Kenny, Steve Buscemi, Mark Ryan, Frank Welker, Reno Wilson, Steven Barr, John DiMaggio, Frank Welker, Gemma Chan.

Written by Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan.

Directed by Michael Bay.



If you ever wonder which Transformers movie is the worst, I have a simple formula: it’s the last one. That large glob of digital effects and explosions being perpetuated by the folks at Hasbro and Paramount, slapped together like a cinematic quintuple-patty-cheeseburger-with-everything is being hurled at multiplex theaters again this summer with the release of Transformers: The Last Knight (I was falsely encouraged by the having the word “Last” in the title, but it seems there are many more robotic monstrosities in the works…sigh). Yes, that was a really long run-on sentence, but it was crafted on purpose to reflect on the nature of all Michael Bay’s Transformers movies which represent nothing more than a long string of continuous explosions and cheesy dialogue (See? I did it again…but I digress…sure wish Michael Bay would learn how to digress…but I digress, yet again).

So, where were we in the Transformers franchise? Eh, I forget, (5th movie nonetheless) but I suppose it’s okay to note that The Last Knight is the second “Shia Labeouf-less” in the series, with Mark Wahlberg reprising the leading role of Cade Yeager, a Texas inventor who did something important in the last Transformers movie. Yaeger is working to protect the Autobots, since the “world government” Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) is trying to wipe them out, because, collateral damage or something. Will Lennox (Josh Duhamel) is a TRF leader of sorts. The Autobots are voiced by various folks like John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Steve Buschemi and many others too numerous to mention.

Meanwhile, a huge backstory is revealed, explaining how the Transformers were part of a legion of knights who joined forces with King Arthur and Merlin (Stanly Tucci) to protect humanity centuries earlier. The exposition of this previously unknown Transformers origin (funny how such “new” origins keep popping up, just in time for another sequel) is handled by Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) who narrates a long dialogue on the subject. Burton is last in a line of descendants from Arthur’s court. Close by at Oxford, the beautiful Dr. Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) is also an expert on Camelot and happens to be the last descendant of Merlin. The TRF employs jailed Decepticons, led by Megatron himself to track Yeager and his pals, including an orphan named Izabella (Isabela Moner) and a tech geek employee named Jimmy (Jerrod Carmichael).

As if all this weren’t tedious enough, it’s important to note that Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) has floated back the ruins of his home planet of Cybertron, where he’s reprogrammed by the evil sorceress Quintessa (Gemma Chan) to drag the remains of the planet back to Earth, so that it can be reassembled at the expense of destroying the Earth (again).

Look, there’s a lot more to explain, but suffice to say that our human heroes and good robots must overcome great challenges to save the world from bad robots, followed by a cheesy speech about being excellent to each other, or some kind of promise from the good robots to always be there when you need them, like Maytag repairmen.

If you haven’t already picked up on the less-than-subtle tone of this review, let me spell it out for you: Transformers: The Last Knight stinks to the highest (or lowest) degree. Not only is it overdone in terms of spectacle, it’s also two & a half painful hours long, even though it feels longer (bringing the total hours of Transformers movies to more than 12 & a half, but who’s counting?).

Look, I get it: if lots of explosions and vehicles that turn into giant humanoid robots is your thing, more power to you. I like some mindless action and special effects-driven movies, but the entire Transformers franchise lacks sympathetic characters or any kind of story that makes sense.

It should be noted that according to Wikipedia, Michael Bay has claimed that there are an additional 14 Transformer movie ideas in the mix, God help us all.

Transformers: The Last Knight Trailer