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Transformers: The Last Knight
1.5/5
dir Michael Bay
scr Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan
prd Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy
with Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Tony Hale, Santiago Cabrera, Liam Garrigan, Martin McCreadie
voices Jim Carter, Gemma Chan, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker
release US/UK 22.Jun.17
17/US Paramount 2h28
Transformers: The Last Knight
The chosen ones. Haddock and Wahlberg

hopkins duhamel carter
See also:
Dark of the Moon (2011) Age of Extinction (2014)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Transformers: The Last Knight There's a blinding amount of money at stake with this fifth movie in the franchise, so it's rather surprising that Michael Bay has thrown out plot coherence for an adventure that might be the most chaotic thing ever put on a big screen. It looks and sounds amazing in Imax 3D, but it also feels like a two-and-a-half hour assault on the eyes and ears without a single element to hold your interest.

While Cade (Wahlberg) hides out protecting the good Autobots, Lennox (Duhamel) leads the charge against the villainous Decepticons. Although most people can't tell the difference. The problem is that Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Cullen) has been bewitched by the scheming Quintessa (Chan), who is using him to suck the life from Earth with the help of Merlin's magical staff. This artefact involves British aristocrat Sir Edmund (Hopkins), his sarcastic robot butler Cogman (Carter) and professor Vivian (Haddock). And with Cade in possession of a magical talisman, everyone heads to Stonehenge for a mammoth confrontation.

Frankly, there isn't a split second of this movie that makes even a hint of sense. The action is hyperactive and chaotic, lurching from one scene to the next without bothering to bridge the gaps narratively. Not a single character or story element is developed at all, since every word of dialog is either background information or a throwaway joke. And while the effects are produced to a very high standard, nothing is orchestrated to visually hold things together.

The actors provide jagged humour, but struggle to register as they breathlessly interact, constantly interrupted by another outburst of destruction. Wahlberg is heroic, Haddock hot and bothered, Hopkins amusingly fast-talking, and so on. Scene-stealers like Carmichael (as Cade's assistant) and Tucci (as Merlin in the prologue) get one good scene and disappear. Instead, the screen is packed with metal-on-metal carnage as seemingly random robots throw each other around.

Frankly, this jarring film feels like a 20-hour miniseries chopped to what feels like four hours in a blender. While Bay steals elements liberally from Star Wars, Alien, Saving Private Ryan and even JJ Abrams' production company logo, the question remains: why does he spend so much money making these cacophonous, messy movies without bothering to have a story or characters the audience can connect with? And even more perplexing: why are people buying tickets to see them?

cert 12 themes, violence, language 20.Jun.17

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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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