Transformers: The Last Knight Review

Transformers: The Last Knight movie posterSynopsis
Transformers are banned from Earth but keep arriving more and more frequently. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), on the run and hunted by the authorities for assisting Transformers, comes across a ship containing a Transformer who gifts him a mysterious amulet, which the Decepticons are searching for as well, putting Yeager in their crosshairs. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen (voice)) finds his creator who reveals to him a way to save his dying planet: destroy planet Earth.

Review
I’ll let you in on something: I am somewhat of a sentimental person. Having grown up with several Transformers television series over the years, my childhood friend and I have made it a tradition to see the Transformer films together. We go no matter what because it has become a tradition that neither one of us wants to break. Regardless of the quality, we go anyway, for better or for worse. This time, it might have been more towards the latter.

First, I’ll start with the positives of Transformer: The Last Knight. The end credits were very very short. I’m guessing it was sub-two or -three minutes. We were at the end of the credits before we could finish looking up if there was something at the end of the credits or not. That’s unheard of in a film these days, let alone a blockbuster like Transformer!

… Oh, were you expecting more? Because that’s about all the nice things I have to say about this film. I could say that the young Isabela Moner, as Izabella, was great. For such a young actress, she was tough, she was believable, and she was emotional. However, she was criminally underused. Izabella is a mechanic like Cade (Mark Wahlberg) and could of become like a second daughter to him since his actual daughter didn’t make an appearance in the film. There could have been an existent emotional connection between characters or, you know, a plot that actually had some emotion to it. But who wants that when there are explosions!?

The Last Knight shares many of the pacing problems as Age of Extinction. It moves along at such a breakneck pace that there is no time to settle down. For as much explosions and action and giant robot fights were happening on screen, I was… bored. I never thought I would find myself using that sentence to describe an action movie but there it is. My buddy told me after we left the theater that he almost dozed off once or twice. I honestly didn’t go in with high hopes after the last film in the series but I also didn’t expect to just stare at the screen blankly, not really giving a shit.

It also amazes me how much they are ignoring their own continuity. The story is becoming like the X-Men franchise with such a confusing and convoluted continuity. Now, I am a guy who likes a nice clean continuity (which sometimes drives me up a wall when dealing with comic book continuity), and the fact that with only five movies the continuity is as big of a mess as it is drives me insane. I’m sure that there are lines that take the characters between the films but they are not made clear in the movie, and like I said, that gets on my nerves.

I thought Transformers: The Last Knight was BAD 😦 I wasn’t expecting any kind of a masterpiece, especially after Age of Extinction, but I have never checked out of a movie so fast. The characters were shallow, no relationships between them were developed, the plot didn’t make any sense, and it moved too quickly to understand where it was going until it got there. Flashy visuals will only get you so far and the Transformers franchise has become an example of that.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Michael Bay – Director
Art Marcum – Screenplay / Story
Matt Holloway – Screenplay / Story
Ken Nolan – Screenplay / Story
Akiva Goldsman – Story
Steve Jablonsky – Composer

Mark Wahlberg – Cade Yeager
Laura Haddock – Vivian Wembley
Anthony Hopkins – Sir Edmund Burton
Isabela Moner – Izabella
Jerrod Carmichael – Jimmy
Josh Duhamel – Col. William Lennox
Santiago Cabrera – Santos
John Turturro – Agent Simmons
Gemma Chan – Quintessa
Peter Cullen – Optimus Prime (voice)
Frank Welker – Megatron (voice)
John Goodman –Hound (voice)
Ken Watanabe – Drift (voice)
John DiMaggio – Crosshairs (voice) / Nitro Zeus (voice)
Jim Carter – Cogman (voice)
Omar Sy – Hot Rod (voice)
Jess Harnell – Barricade (voice)


If you would like to participate in this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, click here for details and sign up information.

Movie Quote of the Week – 6/23/17

Answer to MWL 6/21/17: Judy Witwicky (Julie White) – Transformers

Sam: Look, you can’t just bounce into my room like that. You gotta knock. You gotta communicate. I’m a teenager.
Ron. We knocked for five minutes.
Judy: We knocked!
Sam: You didn’t knock, you were screaming at me, OK? This is repression what you’re doing here. Y-You’re ruining my youth, OK?
Judy: Oh, for Pete sakes. You are so defensive. Were you… masturbating?
Ron: Judy.
Sam: Was I mastur — No, mom!
Ron: Zip it, OK?
Sam: No, I don’t masturbate.
Ron: It’s not something for you to bring up. It’s a father-son thing.
Sam: Father-son thing.
Judy: I mean, you don’t have to call it that word if that makes you uncomfortable. You can call it “Sam’s happy time”
Sam: “Happy time?”
Judy: or “My special alone time…”
Ron: Stop.
Judy: “… with myself.”
Ron: Judy, stop.
Judy: I’m sorry, it’s just been a weird night. I’ve had a little bit to drink.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one sliver of the All Spark to the following people for answering correctly

Tom (Plain, Simple Tom Reviews)
Rob (Movierob)
Allie (Often Off Topic)

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Transformers: Age of Extinction movie posterSynopsis
After the devastation of Chicago several years ago, Transformers are being hunted and have gone into hiding. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) stumbles upon the dormant Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), causing Cade, Optimus, Cade’s daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and Tessa’s boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor) meet up with the remaining Autobots and go on the run from the CIA.

Review
I went into Transformers: Age of Extinction with what I wouldn’t call high hopes but some hope. It had a new cast and a fresh start. Unfortunately, it also had too long of a run time and no apparent sense of direction. Not only that, but the Dinobots, a large part of the marketing for the movie, only appeared at the tail end. I’m not going to be one of those fans that go on an angry rant, but I will say that it could have, and should have, been much better.

One of the positives about Transformers: Age of Extinction is that is does have some pretty funny lines and moments. Most of these are supplied by either TJ Miller or Stanley Tucci. Tucci is easily one of the best things about this film. His role is different than his other films like Easy A or The Hunger Games. It goes to show how versatile he can be. At times the humor felt a little forced, but overall it was pretty good.

Having Frank Welker voice Galvatron, the reincarnated Megatron, was a great nod towards fans, just like Peter Cullen supplying his voice for Optimus Prime. Cullen and Welker were the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron/Galvatron respectively in the original 1980s The Transformers cartoon. Welker did a few voices in Dark of the Moon but I was happy to see him return to one of his original roles from the cartoon. Hugo Weaving was perfect for Megatron in the first three movies, but Welker needed to come in eventually and this was the perfect time to do it.

I was blown away by the special effects and computer generated images (CGI) of Transformers, and Age of Extinction takes that up a notch. All the character designs and models looked spectacular. Despite the chaotic nature of the fight sequences, it was much easier to follow than the first film. The final fight scene was especially impressive. My friend described it as much more fluid than before; It actually felt like a real fight rather than “Power Ranger Megazords fighting each other” (I think those were his words). I would have to say that is a pretty good analogy and I am inclined to agree with him.

Once the action really picked up, about 30-45 minutes into the movie, it literally never stopped. I don’t think there was more than a ten minute span where something wasn’t blowing up. Had this come out when I was younger, this would have been my favorite of the series for that reason alone. Action in action movies is great (it’s pretty much implied), but when that takes away from the characters, it becomes a little too much, especially when there is over two and a half hours of it.

Because of the huge focus on action and explosions, there was virtually no characterization. Any time it seemed like there was going to be some character development, like when Cade (Mark Wahlberg) and Optimus start discussing parenting, it cuts away and the action revs  back up. We learn about the human characters a little (a lot about how Cade was going to protect his daughter), but hardly anything about the Transformers themselves. Since the only returning Autobots were Optimus and Bumblebee, I would have liked to learn about the new robots. I know it wasn’t a matter of time, because with 165 minutes, it could have happened.

For a movie whose advertising strongly showed the Dinobots, they hardly had any screen time. They only appeared for the final 20-ish minutes of the action (maybe more, I started to lose track of time) and acted more like a deus ex machina than anything else. And I was expecting a more epic showdown between Optimus and Grimlock, which was very anticlimactic. I would have almost preferred that their presence in the film was not teased at all and instead have it be a surprise when they showed up on screen. My attitude would have been more “Whaa? Dinobots? Awesome!” rather than “Where are the Dinobots? That’s it?” Big difference.

Transformers: Age of Extinction suffers from too-man-villains syndrome. There is the main human villain, his head henchman, another human villain who is kind of but isn’t really a bad guy, the Transformers’ villain Lockdown, and Galvatron. The main focus was on Lockdown and Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), but unfortunately that meant Glavatron was pushed to the side and was hardly present. Attinger felt like your stereotypical comic villain, bordering on the corny side. I will say this though: Lockdown is a badass. He was a great adversary for the Autobots and different from the Decepticons from the previous films. As for Galvatron, I do like how they brought him into the series, it was the best way to introduce him without Unicron (a world-devouring being who transformed Megatron into Galvatron in the 1986 film The Transformers: The Movie).

I don’t know why, but I was expecting so much more from Transformers: Age of Extinction. The Dinobots, a huge part of the trailers and marketing in general, hardly have a presence in the film. Too many bad guys caused several villains to get only a few minutes of screen time. The human villain Harold Attinger, played by Kelsey Grammer, was pretty flat, but Lockdown, the big Transformers villain, was a badass. With a run time almost that of The Godfather, and non-stop action from the beginning, it was overwhelming. And even with that much time, there was virtually no character development. I understand the something like Transformers is supposed to be corny, but Transformers: Age of Extinction saw the line, flew over it and never looked back.

Rating
2/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Michael Bay – Director
Ehren Kruger – Writer
Steve Jablonsky – Composer

Mark Wahlberg – Cade Yeager
Nicola Peltz – Tessa Yeager
Jack Reynor – Shane Dyson
Stanley Tucci – Joshua Joyce
Kelsey Grammer – Harold Attinger
Titus Welliver – James Savoy
Sophia Myles – Darcy Tirrel
Bingbing Li – Su Yueming
TJ Miller – Lucas Flannery
James Bachman – Gill Wembley
Peter Cullen – Optimus Prime (voice)
John Goodman – Hound (voice)
Ken Watanabe – Drift (voice)
John DiMaggio – Crosshairs (voice)
Mark Ryan – Lockdown (voice)
Frank Welker – Galvatron (voice)
Reno Wilson – Brains (voice)

Transformers: Age of Extinction Trailer #2

Official Synopsis: As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control – all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his cross-hairs.

Optimus Prime riding Grimlock?  I’m sold.  There is a lot more action than the last trailer (and a lot less US flags).  Dark of the Moon was huge in terms of stakes, the whole world was in danger being enslaved after all.  Age of Extinction looks to try to keep the momentum going and offer a world wide threat yet again.  It’s different considering it is supposed to be the start of a new trilogy, but I guess Bay wanted to start over with a bang.  I really want to see who is on the ground fighting Optimus.  My guess is Megatron/Galvatron.  The good news is we won’t have to wait long to see the Dinobots finally hit the screen since it comes out in about a month.

Transformers: Age of Extinction explodes into theaters June 27, 2014.  With director Michael Bay returning, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Titus Welliver, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, Abigail Klein, TJ Miller, Jack Reynor, and Peter Cullen.

Transformers: Age of Extinction movie poster

Transformers: Age of Extinction Teaser Trailer

Official Synopsis: Earth is scarred by the events of the past three movies, but is moving on after all the giant robots disappeared. Cade Yeager, an inventor, discovers a buried Transformer which sets the stage for the return of the rest of the Transformers.

It seems a lot has changed since the end of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  Right in the beginning there was a billboard urging people to report “alien activity” and a voice over from Stanley Tucci telling the Autobots (I’m assuming), that they aren’t needed anymore.  This will make an interesting dynamic for sure, especially when the Decepticons return.  It won’t be the same without Megatron.  They could bring him back as Galvatron, which happened in the cartoon.  I am not sure who the bad robot leading the the charge is.  Maybe that is Galvatron…  It’s going to be hard to top the stakes of the last film, but it looks like it is going to try.

I know many die-hard Transformers fans cried foul when Optimus Prime was a cab-over semi-truck rather than a flat face like the 1980s cartoon.  This time Bay is paying homage to his original look.  It looks like Optimus starts the movie in the original look and later goes back to a similar design to the other movies.

This is only a teaser (a long one, but apparently that’s what it is), but it gives a pretty good look at Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz as Cade Yeager and his daughter Tessa.  Titus Welliver and Stanley Tucci also get quite a bit of trailer time.  The other lead, Jack Reynor isn’t seen and neither is Kelsey Grammer, who has been cast as the antagonist.  If this is a “teaser” maybe they will show up in the next trailer.

Transformers: Age of Extinction hits theaters June 27, 2014.  With director Michael Bay returning, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Titus Welliver, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, Abigail Klein, TJ Miller, Jack Reynor, and Peter Cullen.

Transformers: Age of Extinction poster