I am a 30 something year old man that shares a name with the lead character of the Transformers, Optimus Prime. Our lives started around the same time and have been deeply intertwined ever since.
I was destined to fall in love with Transformers at birth. If there is one thing every fantasy movie or book has ever taught me, it’s that you can’t fight destiny.
Transformers -The last knight is the 5th Movie in the Michael Bay universe that polarises Gen 1 fans; with die-hards still raging that Optimus Prime has lips and bumblebee is a fearless warrior. Each film has performed increasingly well at the box office regardless of the fact that the critics seem to give scathing reviews after each sequel, as the overarching story has progressed since 2007 – leaving it as one of the highest grossing franchises in history.
I almost feel that two ratings are required for films like this: one reflecting how much you enjoyed the movie and a second to judge the actual merits of it… Plot, acting, special effects etc.
There’s no doubt about it, like the last 4 Transformer films, this iteration is a huge amount of fun. Its Giant Robots kicking each other’s chassis. It’s not Shakespeare…so if thou looketh for thy movie to challenge thy mind, this isn’t the film for you.
Let’s look at the negatives.
There are glaring holes in the story and I mean glaring; some so bad that the writers must have made a conscious decision to completely ignore them, along with a piece of important dialogue so poor it rivals Batman VS Superman’s infamous ‘Martha,’ moment.
The G1 favourites, The Dinobots, are reduced to playing fetch and are so poorly used its criminal. New characters are introduced simply to pad out a thin roster of robots but are completely needless as they add nothing to the story.
Mr Bay’s love of the ‘sexy younger ladies,’ is again on show; this time with a 14 year girl. Some of the camera work in that respect is a bit…suspect.
But the biggest error of all in my humble opinion is that the movie couldn’t decide if it was a reboot or continuation. It picks up directly from the last movie yet completely ignores the fact it killed off some of these bots already.
Now let’s look at the positives.
Optimus Prime is again unbelievable. Arguably the greatest hero known to man, if a little self-obsessed now. If you didn’t know he was Optimus Prime, don’t worry, he’ll tell you. A lot.
The scale of this movie is bigger and better and the effects are no so smooth and slick it is no effort watching them transform any more.
The human leads are the focus of the story and Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg are a formidable partnership, have a great chemistry and the dialog between them is brilliant at times.
The Choreography of the battles is as always on point and works brilliantly. The team of writers that were put together bring a fresh look at the wider Transformers Universe and have delved deeper into the history and plucked some great aspects from the original run of cartoons and there are some brilliant tips of the hat to the 1986 movie.
At 2 hours 29 minutes, Transformers – The Last Knight is a lengthy movie, but is paced well and the film has a great opening sequence. At the 45-minute mark it gets a bit hectic and jumps around an awful lot before settling down into easily the most detailed and intricate story line of any Transformers films to date. Imagine a film with Knights, Nazis Dragons and submarines and an alcoholic Merlin and you would be somewhere close to putting together the story.
Strangely enough though, it works. It doesn’t feel forced or too far-fetched (as giant fighting robots go) and is great to watch once you overlook the negative factors listed above.
I’ve pre-ordered the Blu-ray (40 mins deleted scenes in the director’s cut) and will more than likely go a see this again. It’s not going to win best picture at the Oscars but I wouldn’t want a Transformers film that did.
Review by Michael Prime
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