It is part war movie, part historical epic, part romantic comedy, part slapstick comedy, part disaster movie, and one-hundred-percent disaster. Honestly, were we expecting anything else to criticize about Transformers: The Last Knight? Well, a lot more can be said.
The film opens 1,600 years ago in the dark ages of England, where King Arthur fights in a war along with his fellow knights, using fire cannons. No explanation comes up as to what started the battle, just what ended it. Basically, the wizard Merlin seeks out a spaceship to request help from the autobots. Yes, you read that right. Cybertron, along with a three-headed metal dragon, helped the knights of the round table triumph. I fail to understand why all these big movies suddenly decided to dump all over the Arthurian legend, but unlike the barely better King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the disrespect goes further by victimizing London’s ancestry.
Yeah, I know, we have to suspend our disbelief with anything big released during the Summer, but there must be limitations. Anthony Hopkins’ narration wants us to believe Stonehenge’s original purpose was to be a portal, for crying out loud!
The early trailers wanted to press the popular “girl power” mentality, when, in actuality, The Last Knight, like the previous four installments, cares only about making girls look acceptable for a thirteen-year-old’s Sports Illustrated calendar. The series’ new forgettable sexy young woman works at Oxford University, because only in the Bay-Universe can combined beauty and brains still come off as dumb. Even the fifteen-year-old actress here has to run in a loose bra and low-cut white tank top. The men do not get much better treatment either, as Mark Wahlberg awkwardly poses shirtless, six-pack in all its glory, for no apparent reason.
The mercilessly long runtime continues Bay’s plague of insulting women as well as anybody of color. The one Black guy, played by the only actor in the entire film who seems to be trying, reflects the old “coon” caricature almost to a tee; one of the returning Japanese warrior autobots continues mocking every Asian viewer; French accents are mocked for sounding unnatural; then Native Americans take the hardest beating as the sole red-skinned individual gets comically nicknamed “Chief.” Meanwhile, the true heroes in the spotlight gleam in pure red, white, and blue with the stripes and the stars.
These shallow indistinguishable characters sway the balance scale with enough frustration to make you hate the human race. The worst new addition, an Irish butler autobot; resembles C-3P0 with a mannerism reflecting the Annoying Orange, and receives way too much screen time. None of the other characters, old or new, goes through any sort of inner change from the war besides the underused Optimus Prime.
None of these lousy walking cardboard figures appeared serious about acting as a career—they just wanted to star in a major production guaranteed to make 2.1 billion dollars worldwide. Though the blame for their performance lands more on the purely expositional dialogue constantly interrupted by long, boring jokes. It almost seems like the team of six editors resorted to a rushed first draft of their process.
Each big action scene these editors had to work their way around felt like a climactic battle, which in turn made the final scene look pretty dang close to the infamous “light beam from the sky” climax. While the perfectly timed music and sound effects allow the right cinematic submersion you hoped for, Michael Bay forgets about all the Arthurian Legend fanfiction to give the visual effects crew a chance to show off (badly).
All this roleplaying subliminally wants regular people to think they are more qualified to save the world than the pentagon, yet the “regular people” here show fewer signs of human life than the high-tech artificial intelligence. How can we resonate with an extraterrestrial robot which can turn into a car owned by a billionaire? They seem less like complex souls with fears and dreams, and more like subliminal messaging to hate the government while living dependent on expensive materialistic needs to sustain our humanity.
Also, as a side note: When I went to purchase my ticket (on a Tuesday by the way) forty minutes beforehand, the house was already nearly sold out. So, we now know how our condition remains unchanged from sixty years ago: The United States is still holding itself back from the rest of the world.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Adult Swim. “Transformers 5 Script Meeting | Robot Chicken | Adult Swim.” YouTube. 8 Dec 2015. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhxJtQ6qcKM>.
“The Coon Caricature.” Ferris State University. Web. <http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/coon/>.
Redface! Racial and Racist Stereotypes in Media. Web. <http://red-face.us/>.
“Transformers: The Last Knight (2017).” IMDb. Amazon. Web. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3371366/?pf_rd_m=A2FGELUUNOQJNL&pf_rd_p=2750721702&pf_rd_r=1HGA2BJVGCP1G3X1973C&pf_rd_s=right-2&pf_rd_t=15061&pf_rd_i=homepage&ref_=hm_otw_t0>.
Transformers: The Last Knight. Paramount Pictures. Web. <http://www.transformersmovie.com/>.
Transformers: The Last Knight. “Transformers: The Last Knight - International Trailer - Paramount Pictures.” Digital image. YouTube, 17 May 2017. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue7cNNfjCyc>.