The Transformers franchise has been Michael Bay's favourite money-minting property for over a decade. Just like how Salman Khan movies work in Bollywood, every Transformers movie has made a lot of money at the box office, disregarding scathing reviews. In adherence to that tradition comes the fifth installment of the franchise, Transformers: The Last Knight. Bringing back Mark Wahlberg as the lead from the previous movie, The Last Knight also stars Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro and Anthony Hopkins. Here's our review for the movie…
What's it about
The movie starts with a prologue about King Arthur and his magician Merlin (Stanley Tucci in a cameo), and how they are helped in one of their biggest battles by the Autobots, who also give Merlin his magic staff. This magic staff becomes a MacGuffin in the present era, that continues from the events of Age of Extinction. Optimus Prime finds out that his planet Cybertron is heading towards Earth and is controlled by a sorceress called Quintessa. She immediately put Optimus under her control and orders him to bring that staff back. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) is in the hiding with Bumblebee and co, and also becomes a reluctant guardian to an orphan girl Izabella (Isabela Moner). Meanwhile TRF, a team assigned to protect Earth from alien robots, partners with Megatron to stop Cybertron from attacking Earth and for that, they need an artifact that's attached to Yaegar. Cade is brought to England by an astronomer, Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) who asks him to find Merlin's staff so that they can save the planet.
Sir Anthony Hopkins.
The man. The legend. An actor who can even make sludge look as delicious as a chocolate slush. I am not saying that the Academy Award winning actor has saved the movie with his incredible histrionics, but if I somewhere connected to this bloated mess of CGI and bad humour, it's because of Anthony freaking Hopkins chewing the scenery like a pro. It was always wondered by movie buffs, as to why Anthony Hopkins would be a part of the Transformers movie, but thank the Lord, he did! Even Mark Wahlberg gives a decent performance with whatever material he is given to do. Among the robots, Burton's sociopathic android butler Cogan is certainly a standout. The CGI, one of franchise's biggest selling points, is certainly the strongest compared the rest of the movies in the series. The action choreography is top-notch.
Michael Bay has often been accused of making movies that are all style and explosions and no heart (save for The Rock). Unfortunately, this argument holds true for the latest Transformers movie, that is just an overdose of CGI and blasts, with a silly premise thrown in as an excuse. Save for any scenes Mr. Hopkins was in, and to some extent, Wahlberg and Laura Haddock's cute banter, the rest of the movie was just so droll and cumbersome. The last 40 minutes or so are just nothing but Michael Bay putting his VFX team on an overdrive just stretching the movie needlessly for a two and a half hours runtime. The transition from one scene to another is so random that sometimes we can't even make sense what's happening out there. The humour is often forced, sometimes racist but mostly flat. There is a subplot of that orphan girl, who was projected at the beginning as one of the main players, but towards the end she turned out to a pretty useless and an unnecessary addition. Almost all the actors are stuck in one-dimensional roles, where fleshing them out was completely sacrificed for over-reliance on CGI.
But, above all, the trailers had sold us on the idea of Autobots in Nazi Germany and Optimus Prime going rogue. While the both the ideas are there in the movie, they form just a small part of the narrative. In fact, Optimus Prime has very little to do in here. To add to the embarrassment, there is also a cringeworthy recall to that infamous 'Martha' scene from Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice near the climax.
P.S. - What's Michael Bay's obsession with Megan Fox that even if she is not there in the movie, he hires a heroine that reminds us of her? Fortunately, Laura Haddock is definitely funnier, and the camera doesn't obsess more over her curves than on Wahlberg's abs.
What to do
Transformers: The Last Knight is purely for those who love to see robots fight with each other with loads of things exploding for no damn reason. But even if that's your cup of coffee, there is a serious overdose of CGI that could end up giving you a migraine. The rest can watch either watch the movie for Anthony Hopkins' gloriously OTT performance or better, skip it!
2.0 out of 5
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