Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

I really loved the first Transformers movie. It was a sweet tale about a teenage boy who wanted a car so he could impress a hot girl. Of course with Michael Bay behind the camera that simple story was encapsulated in breathtaking imagery and stunning CGI work. Now, here is The Last Knight, the fifth entry in this tired franchise, and the series has become so overbearing in its punishing attempt to creature lore, that it renders everything onscreen into an incomprehensible mess. There was an internet rumor that the film’s original running time was 182 minutes. Michael Bay himself had to address fans through his social media that this wasn’t the case. Transformers: The Last Knight is 149 minutes in length, but I would bet it was intended to be three hours because that’s the only way you’d be able to make sense of this mis-mash assemblage of ideas.

With five plot threads competing for screen-time the story jumps around so unpredictably that characters are nearly forgotten about before being reintroduced, and then discarded, again. I typically use this space to recite a film’s narrative and the story beats, but I’m not going to do that for Transformers 5. I’m astounded that a writer’s room was assembled, and the resulting product is on the level of fan fiction. I’m not sure that the author’s themselves could explain the movie, so I’m not going to waste my time. Transformers: The Last Knight only lasting impact will be in the form of a trivia question; Name the film which featured rapper/actor Mark Wahlberg and Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins on-screen together?

As a side note: Michael Bay stated that he shot most of the film with the developing IMAX camera systems, intended for the clearest image on the biggest screens. Unfortunately, if you see the film in a “regular” auditorium, the odd aspect ratio doesn’t fill the screen, and the frame switches size frequently. I felt as if I was watching a crystal clear bootleg copy projected in a theater. Regardless of the framing, The Last Knight is still a dark spot in Bay’s film cannon. It lacks the verve of its predecessors, even the trademark moving camera is suspiciously static, and it seems that the filmmaker responsible for the success of the series has grown tired of his creation.

Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner

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