Decades ago, they were toys that dominated the shelves of the local dispenser. Next came comic books and a hit animated movie that set off a chain of events resulting in a number of animated series. And in 2007, Michael Bay tackled the challenge of bringing them to life in the big screen motion picture event of the summer. Now, ten years later…he is still trying to keep the series alive with a fifth installment. Despite all the bad reviews of previous film, DreamWorks still believes in this big budget money raking machine. Has Bay learned from his mistakes, or have we yet another special effect wreck on our hands. Let’s get started.
Animation/Ending: DreamWorks animation studios still has their finger on the pulse of animation. Once more their studio proves they can make the fiction world come to life in stunning realism, filling the 2.5 hours with fluid motion, breathtaking special effects, and dynamic sequences. Bay’s fixation on the special effects continues to shine through in the pyrotechnic, CGI laden visuals that fill the silver screen. This is great for the last 45 minutes, where the high speed, action packed climax comes to life, infusing adrenaline into the theater and getting things ramped up. Nice work again guys!
Funny: From the get go, Bay’s writing team has set out to bring laughs amidst the acting (which is about the only thing he is good at bringing). Good news, the 2.5 hours brings plenty of laughs to the mix. Bantering is certainly the mainstay of the film, but Transformers 5 has a few other bouts of whit, cleverness, and fun to add to the mix. I found myself laughing at a number of insults to the ridiculousness of the film, and some well-timed quips from a few of the robots and special guest actor Anthony Hopkins. Speaking of which…
Actor/Actress: I agree with my fellow reviewers that Anthony Hopkins stole the show in this film. His charming delivery mixes well with the vigor that an old historian of the transformers would certainly hold. Hopkins delivers his lines in that elegant poise he’s famous for and creates a wonderful character to alleviate from the other humans that inhabit this film. Certainly, guys like Wahlberg, Duhamel, and newcomer Isabella Moner do a fine job, but they don’t hold a candle to the majesty of this seasoned actor. Nice pick casting director. In addition, the new leading lady Laura Haddock is a fantastic addition as well. Trading characters that are purely sex appeal, for beautiful, respectable, and powerful woman is an A+ in my book. Haddock has poise much like her other English counterpart, and blew me away at how much I liked the character. She was a beautiful addition in more ways than one. Nice work guys.
Human focus: For a movie titled after giant robots, you would think there would be more focus on them. Bay once again chose to forego his expensive artificial crafted creations for his real-life actors. I just ask why? Transformers has always had human components, but not as the main focus. In the Last Knight though, it’s all about the human backstories in this film, and trying to wedge them into the story to keep you engaged. Not the smartest movie, and the amidst the story, the attempt at all these new characters with backstories just didn’t work.
Jam packed story: Remember the last Transformers movie and the eight plots it had? Yeah, it gives me shudders too. Unfortunately, the storyboard writers didn’t listen to the last set of reviews, because Last Knight once again is jam packed with multiple stories all trying to wedge their way to the front. The result is another rushed, sloppy mess that fails to put an engaging story into the midst. Part treasure hunt, part emerging threat, part character testing for Optimus on top of all the character issues floating around, was just too much to grasp. And the unifying factor tying all of them together was pretty weak again. Certainly, the Transformers have never been strong stories, but they have been better and less of a stretch than this mess. Such a deconstructed plot was not entertaining and left little to ground the action too outside of the finale.
Action deficits: It’s an action movie and as a result you would like to see a chunk of the 2.5 hours filled with the special effects they were so focused on. Once more this movie fails. After a decent opening sequence (amidst a hasty opening), the film starts to hit the brakes on the action department. In an attempt to story build, they extend to drawn out explanations and more comedic banter that wasn’t necessary. Had the story been worth it, I would have given them props, but nope, just added fluff that wasn’t that engaging to me. Certainly, there were some fast driving scenes and a quick history of fighting, but these were short lived. Not cool guys.
Unbalanced Robots: Ever since the second film, Transformers movie have been awful about utilizing all of their creations. Optimus and Bumblebee take the lead again, and the rest of the Autobus have their moments to “shine.” Hound, Hotrod, and Squirt get a few gimmicks here, but others like the dingbats and Drift are barely needed having little lines or involvement in the movie. And the Decepticons, after a major introduction were even more pathetic at being underutilized. If you’re going to go to depths to recruit cars and voice actors, do something with them!
Transformers the Last Knight showed promised from the trailers as returning to the action roots we loved. Too bad it didn’t deliver to the level the first production did years ago. While animation and acting were bullseyes, the rest of the movie is a disproportioned mess with too much going on. A weak story focusing on humans going on an extensive search and find didn’t do much for engaging plot, and the inability to focus on a plot made it even worse. Throw in a lack of action and underutilizing of all the other robots and more points get derailed. While this certainly isn’t the last installment, Transformers needs some repairs to bring it back to the light. Outside of the special effects, this movie isn’t necessarily one for the big screen.
Movie Overall: 6.0