12A – 149mins – 2017 – 3D
PIECE OF SCRAP
I know it’s lazy to deride Michael Bay’s bloated brigade of big ‘bot battle blockbusters, but boy is this fifth Transformers film a rotten piece of shit! I realise that isn’t a very erudite (or polite) way to kickstart a review, but I’m not editing it for two reasons: Firstly, multi-millionaire Bay, producers Paramount and Hasbro Studios won’t care what The CR@Bpendium thinks of their gallizion dollar expanded-universe franchise – people will still turn out in droves. Secondly, given the amount of bad language that litters this light-hearted adapted-from-toys summer sequel, apparently kids are down with the swearz these days, too?! So the shit stays where it is.
More constructively: The Last Knight is a painful viewing experience. Okay, that wasn’t very constructive either, but this film is nearly two-and-a-half excruciating hours long. That’s 149minutes of head-dizzying, over-complicated CGI, eye-rollingly unfunny ‘humour’ and incomprehensible, expository sci-fi claptrap delivered by an over-busy cast who often have to fight so hard for screen time you forget they were even involved!
Everyone in this film thinks they are the mutt’s nuts. An arrogant, audaciousness tinges and tarnishes every performance – even the mo-capped robot ones! If watching screen legend Anthony Hopkins (one year shy of 80) disrespect a policeman by calling him a “dickhead” before ‘cruising’ the streets of London bopping his grey-haired head to a rapping robo-butler (Jim Carter) is your idea of hilarious, then disregard my opinion completely and buy a ticket NOW!!
For those of us who don’t find wisecracking, alien machines the bomb-diggity, brace yourself for a slew of soul-draining ‘bants’ every couple of minutes! WHY are the ‘good’ guys (giant alien machines as old as time, don’t forget) saying “bullshit” and calling people “mo-fos” and ‘smoking’ fake METAL cigars?! I get that it adds a bit of colour and character, but when this over-the-top it defies sense, even in-universe! I didn’t even have time to get comfortable in my cinema seat before the historically-set prologue was denigrating Arthurian legend for the sake of a joke about “sozzled” Merlin (Stanley Peter & Wendy Tucci).
That’s right, somehow and for some reason, the credulity-stretching plot ropes the Knights of the Roundtable, last descendant of the “Witwiccan” order, Sir Edward Burton (Hopkins), Age of Extinction’s inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Daddy’s Home Wahlberg) and Oxford Professor Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) into the Autobot vs. Decepticon mega-ruckus of the century(s). But beyond recalling hero leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) being bitch-slapped by an anamorphic flying space octopus, I’m struggling to define a single remarkable plot point.
Exposition, tech-loaded jargon, ‘jokes,’ japery and large-scale action set-pieces clatter past your stunned eyeballs in a jumble of misplaced parts and scrap metal, while the sincere emotional moments are signposted so unsubtlety by series composer Steve Jablonsky’s score that you know precisely when you are supposed to take the characters seriously (and not to expect a dinobot chocking up a minibus, at least for a couple of minutes!).
‘Hip’ in a disturbingly crass, farcically infantile style, Bay also seems desperately determined to lend his sci-fi epic monumental resonance. The two timbres clash awkwardly. Transformers: The Last Knight not only disappointed me, it exhausted and confused me. Aren’t popcorn films supposed to be light, easy watches?! This is a colossal, budget-guzzling embarrassment I cannot believe talent such as Wahlberg and Hopkins wanted any part of.
CR@B’s Claw Score: