PG-13 Dir: Michael Bay | Paramount | 2h 29min
Plot: What’s it about?
All good things must end. That’s a sad fact. The good news is that all bad things must end too. That brings us to the subject at hand:Transformers: The Last Knight. Director Michael Bay and star Mark Wahlberg have both stated that they are done with this franchise. One can only hope they both remain true to their word. After the most than disappointing box office results for this one, that seems more than likely. Bay attempted something of a reboot with 2014’s Age of Extinction, but really it was just more of the same, but with a new cast. I could go on and on about how much I despise these overlong, patience testing films, but I won’t. I found the third film Dark of the Moon to be a small improvement and the best out of them all, but it was still plagued by many problems. It at least tried to bring some humor to the proceedings. The same can’t be said for the dreadful Last Knight. I actively skipped this during its theatrical run, but it seems even the most hardcore fans either hated it or avoided it all together. A friend of mine went on about how it had absolutely no plot whatsoever. Of course one doesn’t really go into these films for the plot, but we do need just something to latch onto.
Returning for his second Transformers film, we find Cade Yeager (Wahlberg). He’s an inventor and his daughter is away at school while he continues to help the transformers. We get an early prologue where we see King Arthur and his knights struggle in a battle where one of the men begs a transformer to assist them in the battle to ensure victory. Meanwhile, Cade is asked by a knight robot to help him in battle and finding a key to ancient transformers on earth. Anthony Hopkins has a role here as well as several other secondary characters, but none of it really matters. If you’re here for the endless mayhem and didn’t get your fix from the previous 4 films then this is for you. There are so many plot elements, but nary a reason to care. Just like a lot of movies from this summer, franchise fatigue sits comfortably at the heart of this film.
These films seriously need an overhaul for the next chapter. Michael Bay is never going to be my favorite director, but he can be good when there’s a clear passion for the story. I found his 2013’s Pain and Gain to be quite enjoyable despite the darker subject matter. It was evidentially a story he wanted to tell for a long time. So that showed a lot on screen that it was a film he was passionate for. With Last Knight he’s simply going through the motions once more. Nothing flows here, it’s just one endless action scene after another. Skip this garbage.
Video: How’s it look?
There are a lot of things said (and generally in a negative way) about the Transformers films. One thing that I will say, though, is that the technical aspects are top notch. By that, they look and sound amazing. I might need to check my facts, but I do believe that this is the first Transformers film to be presented in 4K. If not, it’s at least the most recent. Varying aspect ratios aside, the film is, by and large, presented in a 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image that looks, well…pretty damn impressive. The varying locales make for a very immersive and unique experience. All of this goes by the wayside, of course, if you pay attention to what’s going on but don’t do that. Visuals are sweeping, HDR gives the transformers a rich, full look and I’m hard-pressed to find anything bad to say (about the way this looks).
Audio: How’s it sound?
To compliment the impressive picture is an equally robust Dolby Atmos soundtrack. This is probably a movie they have playing the Best Buy demo room to try and sell you the “latest and greatest” speaker setup. And yes, it’s that good. There’s nary a channel that goes unused and they’ll all make for a very moving (sometimes in the literal sense) experience. Directional effects go up, down and to the side providing us with every ounce of that Michael Bay magic that we so love. It’s a winner, folks.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Merging Mythologies – If you’re one of those that reads the extras without having seen the film, well here’s a bit of a spoiler – you’ve got King Arthur and stuff about World War II in this one. Yes, really. This 20 minute segment explains (to the best of its ability) how that’s all possible. Then again the entire franchise is about robots that turn into cars and planes, so I suppose nothing is really out of the realm of possibility.
- Climbing the Ranks – This explains the military aspect of this movie (remember we’ve got World War II here) and tells of the training involved, working alongside Navy SEALS and so forth.
- The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK – If The Hobbit showed us all about New Zealand, this feature tells us all about England and shooting several scenes there.
- Motors and Magic – For the gear heads out there, we get a pretty in-depth look at several of the key transformers in this piece.
- Alien Landscape: Cybertron – A look at the character of Quintessa as well as the long-awaited look at Cybertron, the home world of the transformers.
- One More Giant Effin’ Movie – Michael Bay in full “Michael Bay” mode. I need not explain further.
The Bottom Line
It’s really hard to imagine anyone, even the diehard fans being able to defend this film. It’s quite bad. There’s nothing for us to latch onto, and the running time is an insult. I really hope they get fresh blood for the next chapter and try to bring some fun to the proceedings. As it stands, The Last Knight is a terrible film and the worst in an already not great series.