Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount/Hasbro/di Bonaventura) Cert 12A, 149 mins
IS IT JUST ME OR CAN YOU HEAR A REALLY LOUD RINGING NOISE RIGHT NOW? I’M NOT SURE IF YOU CAN HEAR ME OVER IT. OH HANG ON MRS BLOGGER SAYS I’M SHOUTING AND THERE’S NO RINGING. WELL I THINK IT’S HER, MY RETINAS ARE FRIED AND I CAN’T REALLY HEAR ANYTHING APART FROM RINGING.
Yes Michael Bay and the Transformers are back and I feel like I’ve just gone 12 rounds in a firing range where instead of guns it’s cannons and tanks.
But do you know what? I had some fun watching it.
This movie has it’s fair to say taken quite the kicking since release towards the end of June. The first film in the series was released 10 years ago and is rightly regarded as the best of the franchise. It’s a great standalone movie featuring superb CGI finally bringing the legendary Transformers to life on the big screen. It had exciting action, characters and a plot that while not exactly earth shattering was actually pretty good.
Sadly since then the quality has dropped massively. Blinded by the billions of dollars these movies have taken it feels like the studio know they have a massive money making machine on their hands and safe in the knowledge that people will go see the movie just to watch massive robots battle it out on screen put less and less effort into the scripts.
I’m a huge Transformers fan. I was hooked from the opening credits of the cartoon which first hit UK TV screens back in 1984. I can sing the theme tune off by heart, I cried at Christmas when I snapped my very first Transformer Jazz by accident and I have a host of Transformer memorabilia in the house including a limited edition Japanese Optimus Prime MP3 player. The truck is the original toy and his trailer is the player. Cool huh? Yeah it is, shut up you’re a geek.
So it makes me sad that after such a strong start the series finds itself in a place where nobody really wants to see the Transformers on screen. I mean it’s giant alien robots battling for the Earth – what’s not to like? But somehow Michael Bay and the studio have completely dropped the ball and made the films easy to hate and hard to love.
Despite the hugely negative reviews I have to say that overall Transformers: The Last Knight is actually not too bad. The CGI is jaw dropping at times and for me as a fan it’s exciting to see what used to be on a cartoon reproduced in stunning quality. Sure the script can and should be better but you can’t argue with the power of the work that goes in to bringing the Transformers to life. If I didn’t get goosebumps when Optimus Prime showed up or cheer like an idiot when Bumblebee wastes some faceless Decepticon then I’d have to check my pulse.
It’s when the focus shifts away that these films suffer. As mentioned earlier the first film with Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox had strong human support so it all worked and came together. That’s never really been the case since.
What the makers need to do is use the vast history of the Transformers and tap into the magic that made nine-year-old me never miss a second of the cartoon. Up until they killed Optimus in the cartoon movie. I am still not over that despite him coming back. Bastards.
And I get why people are so down on the films. If you’re not really a fan I can see how it would be a struggle to understand what’s going on. I felt that way myself at times in this film! There are so many plot lines to follow while everything seems to be exploding or on fire that it’s hard to get to grips with what’s happening.
Hopefully the studio can address this. So far the box office returns have been poor by Transformer standards – maybe the lack of appetite from the fans will drive an upturn in quality when it comes to script and plot. Fingers crossed. The studio have set out plans for many more films but they’re dead in the water if they don’t sort the quality. A standalone film for fan favourite Bumblebee is due out next year so it’ll be interesting to see what a Transformers film not made by Michael Bay looks like. Less orange and quieter for starters.
There are genuine moments of CGI brilliance and visuals in this film but they don’t make up for a confusing and misguided plot. This series needs stripped back to basics rather than continually seek to have as many explosions as the human eye can see on screen at any one time followed by the brain trying to accept Mark Wahlberg as an inventor.
If you’re a big Transformers fan there is plenty to enjoy but if not you’ll probably schedule root canal surgery instead of seeing this. It’s worth a watch just for the robots though!