Transformers: The Last Knight

“Y’all wanna see some dead robots?”

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT is what happens when a famed surface level maestro of brain damaged spectacle makes his fifth god damn movie based on a line of toys. Michael Bay’s robo-aesthetic has evolved and improved to a point where I have to begrudgingly respect it. The convoluted mythology has reached new levels of insane are-you-kidding-me-ness. But the characters haven’t developed one bit – is it possible that they have de-developed? Autobot leader Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen, GREMLINS)’s swing between fascist brutality and wholesome-sounding inspirational speeches is taken to even more comical levels – if he didn’t talk like a bad guy and have a red slap mark on his face we wouldn’t know when he was turned into the evil “Nemesis Prime.”

This one opens on a beautifully weird note: a medieval battle between King Arthur (Liam Garrigan, reprising his character from Once Upon a Time) and a horde of barbarians. Arthur’s men think they’re doomed, but Merlin (Stanley Tucci, WILD CARD) shows up with a three-headed robot dragon, courtesy of a blood-stained Transformer he met inside the cave-like thing that voiceover narration by Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins (TITUS) explains is actually a crashed alien spaceship. Yeah, we get it Sir Anthony.

Although he did well with 13 HOURS, this is back to the Bay who is worst in the business at controlling tone. Rather than have the courage of his crazy convictions in this fantasy opening he plays Merlin as a “funny” drunk whose first line is “I’m sozzled!” before chugging “one last sip” for the road. Throughout the movie Bay punctuates the overall melodramatic tone with “humor” inserts seemingly at random. Admittedly there were only four people in the theater, but he didn’t get a single laugh out of any of us. As embarrassing as his jokes are, it’s their delivery – the timing, the setup, the context – that is his biggest weakness as a director. He could use some tough love on that shit.

There are a couple of those off-putting comic relief robots that stomp in talking in crazy voices so you know it’s supposed to count as jokes. One is Mohawk (Reno Wilson, who did the same shtick as Mudflap and Brains in previous TRANSFORMERSes) but the most frequent offender is non-transforming robot butler Cogman (Jim Carter, Downton Abbey) and, see, the joke is he has a snooty English accent but they get him to say “street” things and do the chorus for Ludacris’s “Move Bitch” and stuff like that. He has a particularly painful airball during a long section of exposition by his boss, Sir Edmund Burton (Hopkins). The score to the scene is really overblown and suddenly we see the robot performing it on an organ and Sir Edmund tells him to stop and he’s all like whuh, I’m just trying to help out, did I do that, etc.

It’s so wildly out of place in the movie it seems like something they cut out of DEADPOOL after it bombed at every test screening. Here they use it twice.

Semi-related: many other jokes land awkwardly because the dramatic music mows right over them, as if composer Steve Jablonsky (THE LAST WITCH HUNTER) didn’t want to dignify them with acknowledgment. Maybe he hoped if he ignored them they’d go away. Thanks for trying, Jablonsky.

Anyway the King Arthur section is followed by another crazy “how did we get here?” chapter, albeit one that sort of follows the previous events of the series. In an homage to BOYZ N THE HOOD‘s homage to STAND BY ME, a kid (Benjamin Flores Jr., HAPPY FEET TWO) asks his friends “Y’all wanna see some dead robots?” and leads them into a fenced-off government quarantine zone that’s the ruins of a city where Transformers previously battled.

You know how cities have that one neighborhood that’s post-apocalyptic? It’s kind of like the TERMINATOR: SALVATION district. A tough orphan teen named Izabella (Isabela Moner) lives there with her adorable robot pal Sqweeks (one of the only robots who looks like he could actually turn into a vehicle – a scooter – but she says he can’t transform, and I don’t think he ever does). Izabella helps the kids when they get attacked by an ED-209 style government drone, and then returning part 4 hero Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg, PLANET OF THE APES) shows up with his robot bro Bumblebee, two infamous rogues battling Decepticons and protecting innocents who “keep falling from the sky,” like the ancient knight robot (?) who crash landed here and pulls a Green Lantern by passing on a weird armband thing to Cade with his last robot breath.

The drones are controlled by an agency called TRS who are out to kill all Transformers. Some members, like Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel, who’s in all but one of these movies), used to fight alongside Autobots and know they can be trusted. Even though really Optimus Prime should not be trusted, in part because of how crazy he was in the other movies, but mostly because he floated through space to the husk of Cybertron to meet his creator, Quintessa (Gemma Chan, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM), and she slapped him and commanded him to destroy the earth and get Merlin’s staff back and he was like absolutely I will do that no questions asked.

There’s definitely an immigration parallel there. The TRS are like Trump’s ICE, heartlessly going after all Cybertronian refugees with no discernment between Autobots and Decepticons.

Well, we’re okay with Transformers as long as they come her legally.

But you made it illegal for any of them to come here, even though they have to to survive.

Well, they should’ve thought of that before they needed to survive.

Like all TRANSFORMERS pictures, I have a hard time following what all is going on in this story, but there is a new Megan Fox lookalike character named Vivian (Laura Haddock, Starlord’s mom in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) but she’s an upgrade because she has a British accent and glasses, so she can be a professor of English literature at Oxford. They make a big deal about how both of these people can’t get dates and they’re awkward dorks falling in love during events that really don’t have the time or need for such a thing.

She’s also the last descendent of Merlin, I guess, so Sir Edmund kidnaps her to his castle in England, UK and spends what seems like 20+ minutes explaining to her and Cade a convoluted new backstory that, at least until this movie did worse than the other ones, was supposed to set up a whole bunch of shared universe spin-off movies and prequels and shit. It seems Shia Labeouf’s character from parts 1-3 was also descended from Merlin, and also there’s a secret society called Witwiccans who have defended Transformers on Earth for centuries. There’s a surprisingly long list of historical figures who are Witwiccans, including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Hmm.

Anyway, Cybertron floats toward Earth, Optimus tries to kill everybody, the others keep wanting to give him another chance because he made all those inspiring speeches so how could he be turning his murderous savagery on us like he has previously threatened to, there must be some mistake. Cade gets a giant sword and robots fight at Stonehenge. Also the evil villain Megatron is back. This is not the first installment where I was unclear what he was supposed to be up to. Some kind of evil shit, I imagine – not to be judgmental. I got a laugh though when Colonel Lennox heard him and said “That voice – I hear it in my nightmares.” Are you sure? Because this is the original cartoon voice, Frank Welker, and sounds nothing like his voice you heard in the other movies, which was Hugo Weaving’s. Maybe you saw the cartoon and it gave you nightmares?

At least on an action level things aren’t confusing like in the first couple TRANSFORMERSes, and they’ve figured out how to do the ridiculously detailed robots they love but in recognizable humanoid shapes where you can tell what you’re looking at without pausing it and studying it with a panel of experts. Honestly I’ve started to kind of enjoy that look, now that it’s decipherable. At least it’s unique.

And I sort of enjoyed the thick-skulled craziness of this movie for a while. I mean, there are adorable baby dinosaur robots. There’s a robot that speaks in a French accent but is mad about it for some reason. John Goodman returns as the macho robot with a shaggy metal viking beard who always wants to shoot everything, Steve Buscemi and Ken Watanabe got paychecks for coming in to the recording studio for 15 or 20 minutes. There’s a flashback where it turns out Bumblebee went on a DIRTY DOZEN type WWII mission where he slaughtered a bunch of Nazis – I have provided a photo (left) to prove to you and to myself that I didn’t dream that part. I feel very confident that in TRANSFORMERS all of the Transformers woke up for the first time since crash landing on Earth, but they are correct to assume that I haven’t watched it since it came out and could not be sure I understood what was supposed to be happening when I saw it. TRANSFORMERS is continuity proof!

Unfortunately there’s not enough of the weird shit to keep the energy up for the whole 2+ hours. These are movies that could benefit from a tight running time in my opinion, but it’s never gonna happen.

This one is from a new set of writers – the others all involved some combination of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Ehren Kruger. This one is credited to Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (IRON MAN, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE) & Ken Nolan (BLACKHAWK DOWN), story by those three and Akiva Goldsman (BATMAN & ROBIN). And it definitely has that traditional TRANSFORMERS feel of a bunch of unrelated ideas that Bay insisted on and the others stayed up all night before giving up on connecting them in any sensible way.

I honestly meant to see it in Imax 3D, because it’s one of the few movies actually shot in that format, but I waited a couple weeks and those screens were taken over by other movies. Instead I saw it on the one Real-D showing of the day, on a small screen not taken up by Spider-man, with three other people in the audience. And actually that felt kinda right, it felt more like the usually-shitty fantasy movies I enjoy that I see on an afternoon and think of as b-movies despite how expensive they are. There’s something decadent about watching a movie like this, with millions and millions and millions of dollars shooting across every frame, as just some dumb trash to amuse myself. The more expensive the movie is, and the more casually you treat it, the higher status you hold among the elites.

It’s safe to say that I was pretty mad after watching the first TRANSFORMERS in 2007. And I don’t expect to go back and rewatch it and start to think it’s funny, like BATMAN & ROBIN. But the two main things that got my goat were the incomprehensible action and character design and the claim by many fans and reviewers that summer movies are supposed to be dumb and shitty like this so what’s the big deal it’s all a bunch of crap anyway who cares you’re not allowed to hold it to standards.

I can’t really hold those against THE LAST KNIGHT because 1) the action is much clearer and 2) everybody seems to agree that there can be better summer blockbusters than this. In fact, just in the few weeks between when LAST KNIGHT came out and when I’m writing this we’ve seen a new SPIDER-MAN and a new PLANET OF THE APES that are both high quality movies, and both opened bigger than this TRANSFORMERS did and got better reviews. So I got no reason to resent this crap existing. It’s not hurting anybody.

By now you probly know whether or not you get joy out of the peculiar ludicrous spectacle of a Bay TRANSFORMERS picture. If you do, this is another one. Just don’t get your hopes up too high. He’s made much more insane crap before.

P.S. I think Wahlberg might be the last knight?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 at 9:24 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

85 Responses to “Transformers: The Last Knight”

  1. The voice of Optimus Prime is also the voice of Gizmo!? Whhhhaaaaat!?

  2. Patch: Howie Mandel was the voice of Gizmo; IMDb just has Peter Cullen credited as “Mogwai/Gremlin voice” along with Michael Winslow, Frank Welker, and some guys I’ve never heard of.

  3. I know I talked about this one already in the AGE OF EXTINCTION and FIFTH ELEMENT and even a little of the SPIDEY HOME COMING thread but here I go again:

    It’s funny, like Vern I got so much shit for really not liking the original and told I don’t know how to enjoy movies (?) now ten years later I tell everyone, the same people, I’m going to go see LAST KNIGHT and pay the IMAX 3D surcharge to boot and they all give me ‘What are you stupid? Are you glutton for punishment? Haven’t you moved on? Those movies are all terrible! You’re why we can’t have nice things!” So you know, fuck those hypocrites. It seems we’ve made a complete 360 as well. After REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, NO one would admit to giving the first one a pass and now ten years later everyone is going on about how the first one is ‘the only good one.’ In honor of fairness I re-watched it. It’s just as terrible now as it was when I saw it in theaters ten-years ago. I much prefer the absolute bonkers sequels now after doing some soul-searching and admitting that to myself.

    Anways, I asked why it took this one for people to finally turn their backs on this series after putting up with it for for long and after some thinking and talking to people here I can see it. Marvel Studios I think did a lot to teach people that I was right and these things didn’t need to be so fucking stupid. Also CJ was right, I never looked into but people really didn’t like the last one which I thought was the only one that came within (far distant) eye-sight of being legit good. Also after thinking of it, this one drags real bad in the middle when they get to Anthony Hopkins house. It’s even worse because for the first time I was legit enjoying one of these things and they finally introduced a human character I didn’t hate. Plus along with the new human character I really liked, it felt like real sci-fi by making commentary on the migration crisis. So naturally that was all dropped an hour in so we can focus on the awful Anthony Hopkins character, awful robot butler character, awful new female character and awful humor. Movie didn’t win me back until the Optimus came back now evil but as Vern mentioned, is acting just like he always had. At least then we get a Minotaur robot that has guns for hands.

    So yeah, I didn’t hate it. If they would have gotten rid of the Arthurian bullshit and focused on the Migrant-parallel stuff it would have been better.

  4. Patch: I hope the knowledge of that Optimus and Winnie the Pooh’s Eyor share the same voice actor is consolation!
    -at least Cullen used to do his voice I don’t know about right now though.

  5. Funny enough, I’ve read several reviews of this film where they explain the batshits insane mythology involving Nazis, King Arthur, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, and then the reviewers purposefully take a moment to explain that, while that might sound awesome on paper, in the movie it’s a complete and total slog to get through.

  6. Exactly! I was expecting to eat that all up and it ended up being the worst part of this one.

  7. The third Transformers movie is the only time I literally cried during a movie because I was so miserable watching it. I don’t know if I had low blood sugar that day or if Bay’s directing is just that terrible or if I’m a little bitch or what. But I have absolutely no desire to see any Transformers movie again for any reason whatsoever. Fuck these piles of shit.

  8. Well Bumblebee fighting Nazis was cool… Why couldn’t get to hear more about that?

  9. King Ghidorah is in this shit?

  10. If I had just heard about the crazy historical backstory, I might have been tempted to see my first Transformers movie. I think it’s kind of funny that a handful of movie reviewers knew this sort of crazyness would get this reaction and acted accordingly.

  11. I love how the poster is like “SEE IT IN IMAX 3D BECAUSE IT WAS SHOT WITH IMAX 3D CAMERAS”.

    Even the marketing team knew that was all they had to offer. Fuck You Michael Bay!

  12. zero: Mecha King Ghidorah is in this shit! (only in the King Arthur prologue though so don’t believe the posters)

  13. Broddie: In defense this was one of the (few) times I feel I didn’t waste money on the 3D-upsurge charge.

  14. Seems like every time they make a new one, they up the insanity factor of the plot specifically to tempt me into seeing it. But I finally learned better; it may sound hilariously fun on paper, but it’s just wearying in person. At 90 minutes these things might be comically nutso camp; at 2+ hours they’re just a grind. I’ll wait for the youtube highlights reel.

  15. Memory is a funny thing, as I’ve brought up in other threads. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal if someone doesn’t remember they liked a movie 10 years ago until the sequel made them hate it. But it is a microcosm that illustrates people’s defensive relationship with their own memory. Like acknowledging they changed their mind is so unfathomable they insist they always felt this way. I sort of get it. If I felt I hated Transformers now it might be difficult to imagine a time when I loved it. I’m a tad different in that those sorts of evolutions are interesting to me so I embrace it.

    It’s much more significant in politics and relationships, although there is a relevant “buyer beware” moral here. You get what you pay for so don’t be surprised if you no longer want this product in 10 years when there’s five of ’em. But I also remember no one was really voval about Phantom Menace until about a year later. There are other factors there including not wanting to admit this big event was a let down, but I suspect there was also a lot of “joining the cool club” of people who hated TPM.

    I am in a bit of an existential crisis about how to deal with my memory in a world that wants to live in the moment. I exorcise some of it in my writing but if anyone has some insight I’d welcome reaching out to me. Are there therapists that specialize in nostalgia and attachment to memory?

  16. Vern,
    I’m glad you finally reviewed this film so that my curiosity about it could be fulfilled without having to waste my time actually watching it.
    As somebody raised on the first iteration of Transformers I was kind of excited back in 2007 for a live action feature film, despite feeling by that time as a youngish adult that these were nothing but toyline tie-in money grabs. I actually really liked the first one, unlike you. So much so that I went back to watch it in the theater. Then I hated the second one, it was just a whole bunch more of the same with a terrible story and stomach churning special effects. Then I liked the 3rd one, at least the second half of it, although it was also just too much. I was done at that point, at least done with Bay’s idea of what a Transformers movie could be. Then the 4th one came, and my kids wanted to go see it so much that I caved and went. I haven’t had that miserable of a theater experience in a long time before, nor since. It was so much more of the same that it was sickening. I may find myself watching the Last Knight on video at home, but I probably won’t be able to talk myself into giving away those 2+ hours. That’s my short history on the Transformers films, I know it’s echoes of so many others.
    I enjoy that your piece by piece opinions of the 4 films I’ve seen don’t match up to my. I always love when you have an opinion I can’t say I have myself, because you explain it in a way that makes me see your point.
    I don’t comment much, but I’m always reading… even movies I know I’ll never watch.
    Keep it up, love you Vern.

  17. As this sight’s most vocal Bayniac, I must confess that I haven’t even seen this one yet. I might end up skipping it. I was all excited for the Dragonbots and Nazicons and whatnot but then I don’t know, it passed and now I can’t seem to get my ass to the theater. Transformers Fatigue is a real thing you guys.

  18. This is one series I could never get into, and I’m pretty sure my memory is accurate on that. My distinct impression is that I literally stopped the first one mid-way through. Then I tried to watch the one where there was a building falling with Shia (or someone) in it, and I couldn’t finish that one either. The movies are just utter dreck, and I would defend them if I loved them, I think.

    I would like something like this to be good. I grew up on the cartoons and the GI Joe ones, but I think it’s really hard to translate these to a credible big screen movie. Either that or it’s not really that hard, but Michael Bay just sucks, and then I, too, have a weak imagination (entirely possible). Either way, these films don’t work on any level and are an insult to everyone’s taste and intelligence.

    p.s. Fred, I’d be interested to better understand your own issues with attachment to your memory. It’s not clear to me which part troubles you, since you say you’re in a bit of an existential crisis but also indicate that you “embrace” the way your own memory (and relationship to your memories) evolves. There is all kinds of good academic work on memory (re-) construction, which underscores your intuition (which is also the premise or major element of a lot of great films!) that our memories are fragile and pliable. Some oldie but goodie papers are Anthony Greenwald’s paper called “the Totalitarian Ego” and any number of things by Elizabeth Loftus (looks like she also has a TED talk that I can’t vouch for b/c TED talks are not my love language).

    You’re definitely right that there is a social influence process with memory. We have all kinds of cues and feedback from fans and critics that help shape us toward the consensually “good” movies with the implicit judgment that you’re an outlier or malcontent or whatever if you don’t share that consensual view (and vice versa). Likewise, as consensus shifts, we may feel the pressure to shift with it, or we may just be part of the collective re-evaluation process taking place. In the case of PHANTOM MENACE, I think it’s definitely a bit of both going on. It took some time to let the movie settle and get some distance from it. Likewise, with a lot of novel horror films, they are initially reviled or get a mixed response at best, I think in part it just takes time to put them (and the broader cultural moment they are inaugurating and/or responding to) in a proper context.

  19. I fee like Vern could have watched two DTV action movies he’ll never get around to reviewing because he wasted almost three hours with this nonsense.

  20. It seems like most of us are on the same wavelength and ended up skipping this one. I’ve only seen TF 1,2 and 4. I should have learned my lesson on part 2 because I took a gorgeous woman on a first date to the movies, and the way the timing worked out TF2 was the only movie we had time to see. When it was over she looked at me like she’d just endured an automobile accident, numb and unsure of her bearings, and said something like “What the hell did we just watch?” I did not get laid that night.

    I actually thought with AOE that Bay was on the upswing. I enjoyed that one. 13 HOURS was one of my favorite films of last year. In fact that movie is pretty great for a lot of reasons. Some of the action is chaotic, but unlike the TF’s there was an interesting context, the characters were easy to relate to (as humans and not caricatures), and heroic. It was lean and stylish without showing off. Some nice emotional beats.

    But after hearing this one is Bay in regression again, I decided to make a moral, political and spiritual choice to not waste my time, much like I did with THE MUMMY when I walked out on it halfway through. What a piece of shit that movie is. I saw this one as giving my money over would be like voting for someone like Trump, and just encourage Bay to keep making more of these turds. I can’t be passive anymore. Life is too short. The battles for our hearts and minds are getting more intense with this dumbifying shit. Old Satan Clause is still out there. We need to be on our guard.

  21. I did see this in IMAX and it didn’t even fill the whole screen. Perhaps digital Imax isn’t as big as film IMAX? I saw Dunkirk on the same screen. Yet it still switches aspect ratio in the middle of dialogue scenes, back and forth. Guess Bay only shot Wahlberg in IMAX. The kids were letterboxed.

    3 is definitely the worst and features Labeouf’s worst performance if you can imagine. And I’m including his real life behavior. He’s worse in TF3. Maybe he wanted to make sure they didn’t ask him to be in 4.

  22. 3 did have that highway sequence that was boss as fuck though. One of the best things I’ve seen from Bay. Like THE ISLAND freeway scene but even more bugnuts.

    I caught just that part on TV one time and was like “why the fuck couldn’t he fill the first one with that type of illness?” didn’t bother with the rest though so I can’t speak on Shia but Fred is usually on point with that kind of shit so I’m sure he’s on the money there.

    When the original dropped I had already had a great respect towards Vern for years. That already great respect increased tenfold when he called out that piece of unadulterated garbage for what it was while every other reviewer gushed over it like it was a T2 like experience or some shit.

    I remember not even being into seeing it on opening weekend but said “fuck it” when my entire crew was with it; especially because internet was in love with the shit. At that point I hadn’t read Vern’s review yet. What a mistake.

    I went into that muthafucka hearing from some that it was the most amazing effects showcase they saw on screen since JURASSIC PARK. Others were comparing this boy and his car story to E.T. of all fucking movies. Since The Beard was exec producer I thought maybe just maybe it’s possible that it got some of that DNA residually. Nope!

    I just kept getting more and more upset. First when Jazz was voiced like a damn stereotypical black caricature in 200 fucking 7 with his “SUP MY GEES I BE THE BREAKDANCING ONE” *b-boy stance* that irked the shit out of me. Then the goddamn robots in disguise playing hide and seek in a front lawn like something out of a sitcom. Then the raid on Anthony Anderson and his peoples and lastly Barton Fucking Fink getting pissed on like he was in some cotdamn fetish porn.

    That movie aggravated me so much and left me with a feeling of “WTF are people getting out of this bullshit?” that I refused to watch any of the sequels on principle. What a fucking clusterfuck and up until I read Vern’s review and realized that I was not alone in this world with that sentiment I truly thought I was transported to an alternate dimension with less standards without even realizing it.

    Like geoffrey observed it’s funny now to see all these people who called me a “hater” and a “elitist movie snob” cause I hated the crap out of that original movie and demanded better now being like “the fuck did I ever see in that shit?”

    Better late than never?

  23. I’m one of those people who liked the first one As I haven’t seen it in nine years, I thiiink I still like it.

    TF2 is utterly insane. It’s almost indigestible, as it seems unable to hold one’s attention for longer than 30-second intervals (every scene is a climax, every image is a money shot), and ends up feeling like it’s five hours long. But there is a bonkers sensibility throughout, in part due to Bay’s often douchey interpretation of humour.

    TF3 is torture. Maybe I shouldn’t have seen it in IMAX 3D, but it’s where I gave up on this series.

  24. Well, I did say the first one was better than sex and I stand by that. I watched it again recently and I do still like it. Maybe since it was the first time they kept the transformations relatively simple, and maybe Spielberg exercised just a little bit of control over Bay. I totally respect Vern’s take. It just got me on a visceral level. And yes, I’ve had really great sex in my life up to that point.

    Revenge of the Fallen has risen in my esteem by virtue of Dark of the Moon being so much worse. Revisiting ROTF I just marvel at how ambitious it is. None of it works but it’s trying. I mean a human decepticon??? In my review I said the sequel wasn’t even a handjob. My then girlfriend gave me that line but she didn’t want credit.

  25. Dammit guys. This is why everyone in my real life think I’m a contrarian , right when I pull the stick out of my ass and lower my standards everyone has moved on. I thought Mr. M would have my back at least but even he. Even HE!

    Fred: Sometime man… I just don’t know… Just keep being you and ignore my head shakes of shame.

    Surprised to see so much hate for part 3. I thought once you get past the awful first five hours, with the exception of some scenes, the Chicago stuff was pretty good. Time has past and I learned that I like the “total bonkers” second one more. They actually filmed the Great Pyramids of Giza for that thing. They don’t allow ANY movie filmed there and they only got to by exploiting a loop hole (that was immediately plugged). There may never be another movie filmed there ever again. Tasked with this great responsibility, Bay proceeded to film a scene where John Turturro (standing on the actual fucking pyramids!) talks about how he located underneath a giant robot’s nutsack. That has to account for something I think.

    Also surprised by the general hate for part 4 as I’m with Troy and enjoyed it (more legit enjoyment than 2 & 3 & 5 rather). I fount that was the only one that got a distant view of being legit good. You could follow the story, the humans are less hate-able, I actually thought they came up with a good idea in regards to the man-made Transformers. I guess that’s why I got my hopes up for LAST KNIGHT and continued them for the first (legit good I felt) hour of the movie until they flush it down the toilet to typical nonsense but not AS crazy.

    Broddie: Your story of seeing the first one with your friends is practically word for word what happened to me with it. I still feel your pain these ten years later.

  26. I hated the first TRANSFORMERS and never bothered with any of the sequels, I sincerely hope this is the end of this series.

    One question though, I heard this one implies Shia’s character is dead, is that true?

    I gotta admit however, since we’re now living in a new era, I look back on the culture of the late 00s and early 10s with I don’t quite want to say nostalgia but more of a morbid fascination, everything was so hopped up and in your face back then and the first 3 TRANSFORMERS movies embody this.

  27. Laura Haddock sure looks like Megan Fox. I am so glad that besides me Vern feels the same way.

  28. There is a weird visual gag with Shia but they don’t say he’s dead. When Hopkins is talking about how TRANSFORMERS are the Forrest Gumps of history in that they are linked to every single major historical event ever and knew every single famous historical figure ever, they briefly pan over a goofy pic of him. Suggesting that he was destined to meet them? He became a member after the third one? Bay just threw it in because he thought it was funny?

    Even though this one is under-performing even in China, we’ll be getting at least one more with the BUMBLEBEE solo movie. That one is supposed to be a prequel set in the ’80s. The director of KUBO is doing it so I can hope and dream (like Stern and Vern told me about the new TEXAS CHAINSAW prequel due to it’s directors) because goddamn was KUBO so fucking good. Unfortunately it is a very small list of animators-to-successful live action directors, hopefully he can get on it.

    Also honestly, even though this one is apparently disappointing on all fronts, I think this series became too big for them to abandon. Even if BUMBLEBEE continues the down-ward slide I see them pumping out one more but doing it as a psedo-reboot (ala the fourth one) to try and get people back.

  29. Not only does Haddock look like Megan Fox, but so does Izabela Moner. Michael Bay has a type. Some of those shots of Moner are uncomfortably leery.

    Geoffreyjar, 4 is a drastic improvement for all the reasons you mentioned, and the charisma of having a Bona fide movie star like Wahlberg in the lead.

  30. Anyone read Rob Bricken’s Spoiler FAQ?

    Transformers: The Last Knight: The Spoiler FAQ

    Did you see Michael Bay’s fifth movie in the disturbingly profitable Transformers franchise this weekend? Did you have a question about it, besides “Why is this movie about giant robots and explosions so boring?” Our patented Spoiler FAQ has all the answers you need and also probably several you didn’t.

  31. I didn’t pick up on it, but I’m told Shia’s character is mentioned as one of the descendants of Merlin, and the Megan Fox lookalike is supposed to be the last descendant of Merlin, therefore Shia’s character is dead. May he be yelling “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?” in Transformers Heaven.


  32. I admit it: I enjoyed the first three movie a lot (although the third one was my least favourite, because the 3D made me fall into some kind of trance, that made me look through the screen and I somehow missed a lot what happened)! For some reason I haven’t seen the 4th one and have only very little interest in this here.

    But the mention of John Turturro getting pissed on in part 1, reminded me if one of my favourite gifs that I’ve ever made.

  33. Well, this:

    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet.

  34. Watched this a couple of weeks ago in a reasonable full theater. Considering it’s a non-stop assault on the eyes, ears, common sense and human dignity, I didn’t hate it. An overheard reaction afterwards really tickled me:

    12(ish) year old boy: “What did you think of that?”
    Older woman (presumably mother of boy): “All the way through, I was praying for it to end”.

    Also, any bits with Cogsman got a few laughs from the crowd.

  35. CJ – I bet that scene is Donald Trump’s favorite har har har

  36. geoff: Don’t worry, I’m gonna see it eventually.

  37. It’s my penance for still not seeing BABY DRIVER or SPIDEY COMES HOME and being to busy to go to the advanced screening of ATOMIC BLONDE last night. I made my bed karma-wise with this one.

  38. I vowed after seeing ARMAGEDDON almost 20 years ago that I would never pay to see another Michael Bay movie ever again. I have therefore been blessed to see Tansformers movies only on TV, with commercial breaks and other channels to surf. I have never seen one all the way through but have seen parts of 1-4 on many occasions, and every time my decision 20 years ago was justified 100%.

    The sad thing is, even though Bay is a terrible screenwriter, director, and editor, he is actually a great cinematographer.

  39. Vern hinted on Twitter of a movie that he despised back in 2003, but now has warmed up to and we may see a review of it. Boy,oh boy..I pray to the Scandinavian Blood Gods that the film is BAD BOYS 2!

  40. Shoot, I like Bad Boys 2.

  41. Yeah, that is why I want to see Vern give the film another chance. I like it too. Begrudgingly.


  43. What if it’s both?

    I’ve learned to enjoy the vile and pitch-black morality of BAD BOYS II when I rewatched a few years back. Like Vern I hated the damned thing back in the day but the years of people saying it is a surrealist mainstream masterpiece made me feel like I had to revisit it. Glad I did, my snobby-self wasn’t ready for it back in ’03. Now I’m way more open and find Michael Bay a fascinating artist and individual. You can argue REVENGE OF THE FALLEN is his magnum opus due to the fact that he is free from any sort of narrative or plot-flow (two things that has always seemed to frustrate and bore him (I think him and George Lucas share that in common) but even with it’s cartoon hero viciously murdering his enemies like he were actually a slasher film killer, it is BAD BOYS II where you can really stare into his soul and it will stare back into you. It was a combination of that re-watch and PAIN AND GAIN coming out around that time that really taught me to finally enjoy his work. Even though DIRTY HARRY is one of my favorite movies and I enjoy the DEATH WISH movies before then, BAD BOYS II is the one that taught me that I don’t have to agree with or even really like the filmmaker’s politics or morals to enjoy a movie or find it fascinating, in some ways that just makes it all the more interesting. So thank you BAD BOYS II and Michael Bay, I think you two taught me to be a better film-viewer.

    As LEAGUE, there was this flash cartoon on Newgrounds back-in-the-day making fun of the movie and for that I’ll always have a soft-spot for that stupid, stupid movie thanks to the line I use till this day: “The only way to stop shit from blowing up… IS TO BLOW MORE SHIT UP!”

  44. I love BAD BOYS II.

    I hate BAD BOYS II.

    It’s a complicated beast, my relationship with that film.

  45. And that’s how I feel with it as well and each of the TRANSFORMERS sequels (still think the first one is terrible).

  46. kalos. That is exactly what I meant with “begrudgingly”.

  47. Martin Lawrences reaction shot when shot in the ass is such a Looney Tunes moment that it makes me laugh every time I watch that deplorably enjoyable move

  48. Damn, I wish I’d dragged my ass to the theater for this one, because it might be my favorite T-formers yet. That 20-minute slab of exposition in the middle was legitimately thrilling in how shamelessly absurd the mythology it was trying to sell you was. It felt Wachowskian, if the Wachowskis were idiots. For once, the ridiculousness you were seeing and ridiculousness generated by the story were pitched at the same level. The whole thing is such a precariously balanced mess just barely held aloft by no less than five exposition characters and a whole bunch of obvious ADR. Normally I sort of masochistically enjoy the sensation of being pummeled into submission by the endlessly lord and hollow third-act climaxes of these movies, but this one could have gone on longer because I was seduced by the lunkheaded perfection of the ideas in the script. For once, I actually hope Bay makes one more of these and doesn’t move on to one of his darker and weirder passion projects. Think of where this idiotic hogwash leaves us. The Earth is a goddamn Transformer! And an evil one! Bay’s the only director qualified it make it transform and roll out. Let’s do this, Mike. Just one more for old time’s sake and then you can go make the Coen Brothers movie with explosions you always wanted to make.

  49. I´d rather want a BAD BOYS 3 than any more of…..these…

  50. I agree, but dude. Listen and hear: This movie ends with the reveal that EARTH is UNICRON. We are all living on an evil robot voiced by Orson Welles. We’ve survived like 12 hours of this franchise so far. Another three will be totally worth it if that’s what waiting at the end of it all.

  51. Well, I must thank you for that summary. I only survived two of these hours. That does sound…well… like something.. that is..hmm…*walks out stumbling around, hitting furnitures, before falling over*

  52. Lmfao what a bonkers plot twist. I too would like to see how they write themselves out of that corner. I saw part 4 on TV weeks ago. First time in the history of this franchise that I actually willingly sat through it since the first and it was way better than the original. For one thing the action was comprehensible and for another the humans were finally tolerable. Since this is it’s direct sequel I might peep this especially in light of that batshit cliffhanger.

  53. How’s this for a poster quote:

    “The humans in this one are even more tolerable!”

  54. But what shape does the Earth take if it transforms? A turtle?

  55. I’m sold!

  56. Shoot if I was Bay I’d make it transform into a CGI Orson Welles and it’s dialogue will be comprised of compiled sounds clips from all his previous feature film appearances. Not just TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE.

  57. It would be the most Bay thing ever if, before coming together to form Unicron, all the individual countries turned into robotic caricatures of their most cliched aspects, so obviously Switzerland would be an evil cuckoo clock to go with Welles’ famous THIRD MAN speech.

  58. Glad you liked it Mr. M! I re-watched it just a few days ago and enjoyed the middle slog more for reason you listed. The beginning is still my favorite and still enjoyed the climax. I think I still like fourth one more though but naturally it looks like it’s eyeing a reboot right when I’m legit interested in what they do next. That said…

    *corners Mr. M*
    I could have used your backup when this thing was out in theaters and I was seemingly only idiot who went and saw it!
    Mr. M: We were brothers once…
    *kicks into the never-ending void

  59. UNICRON would look like the Grim Reaper from THE SEVENTH SEAL. That would be the swedish contribution. The look of death

  60. geoff- Now I look like the idiot for calling you out being an idiot for liking what may end up being a particularly inspired piece of trash.

    i feel ashamed.

  61. Voiced by Peter “The Only Person Who Ever Compared Bay To Bergman And Wasn’t Being Sarcastic” Stormare, obviously.

  62. I dropped this bombed on friends of mine on facebook who would never touch a Michael Bay film in their life. And the response was shockingly meh… It was like “well..it´s Michael Bay, what do you expect?” And I was like…dude…do you even realize the sheer insanity of this?

    Fuck em. I mean, I hate these fucking TRANSFORMERS thing, but this plot twist as revealed is just magnificent. But apparently peopel just shrug it off. Fuck em.

  63. I mean, it kind of gets lost in the sea of absurdity that comprises the bulk of the film. This movie has so much going on that you could blink and miss some crazy shit. Like, in one shot there’s this gigantic construction robot in the background, and you can’t wait to see it fuck some shit up, but then it disappears. No mention of it at all. Was it even there? Did that really happen? I don’t know. The whole movie is like that. I’m sure the average viewer will have stopped trying to make sense of any of this shit by the 45-minute mark (at which point they were still introducing major characters, by the way). But if you have it within yourself to say “You know what? I’m gonna take this ludicrous bullshit at its word” and accept it as a literal account of events, it’s a lot of giddy, totally-not-good-for-you fun.

    Megatron does an “Alas, poor Yorrick” speech with Starscream’s head, you guys. Let it into your heart.

  64. Apparently people are more shocked over the fact that Bruce Willis is a ghost than the Earth can at any time turn into a banana.

  65. Shoot: It’s okay man I never held it against you anyway!

    What I find funny is I come in here and tell you guys that’s it’s actually kinda fun and you all ignore me/tell me to fuck off and Mr. M comes in and does the same and all of a sudden ‘Aw man why’d no one tell us!?’*

    *I’m not mad I’m legitimately laughing while typing this and reading the comments.

    Mr. M: YES! I love the Starscream head scene. I also loved the baby-dynobots that are given no origin whatsoever, they are just there to look cute. Raises so many questions…

  66. geoff- if you´d told us about that hilarious Earth/Transformer shit you´d have my attention. But now it seems more like Majestyk puzzled it out in a way that it seems more like an intepretation rather than what the movie actually tells us. So I guess it is more about Majestyks point of view and how he viewd the events so it makes it a little less fun.

  67. Oh no, that Unicron shit is literally what happens. That’s not just my interpretation. They explain it multiple times, and it’s the cliffhanger the mid-credits scene leaves us on.

  68. Shoot: dude, I was trying to be spoiler-conscious!

    But yes as Mr. M said Unicorn is definitely Earth. You find out that’s why Robot-God is wanting to ram Cyberton into Earth and it’s also supposedly is why Transformers keep coming here (somehow, they never bother to explain and it’s not common knowledge so it makes even less sense(only Robot God and whoever she tells and the ancient knights know about Unicron).

  69. geoff- That is the kind of spoilers that are so awesome that you don´t fucking care when you hear them. Especially when it is such a dire franchise known for its mediocirty. But when you throw that kind of spoilers into the mix that actually makes me go excited. If I have heard it before…Jesus. Now I am actually somewhat intrigued by the bananas development.

  70. But how would you know really, geoff? I know I´ve apologized for what I´ve said before. The stupid remarks for liking a dumb movie like this. But I never knew the Lovecraftian knowledge of insanity that you held within. I know you would not want to spoil. Now I know the breath of idiocy that the knowledge held. The incredible pit of our of stupidity and the summit that helds our collective Transformers knowledge.

    It´s an area that I like to call ; I sincerely apologize.

  71. Also, if Bay comes back for one last mission and closes out the sextology, he’ll have tied Romero’s record for most films directed in a single series. And in a third of the time, too!

  72. Did any of these movies ever have that Transformer that turns in an aircraft carrier?

  73. Shoot: Respect.

    Mr. M: I didn’t give the Romero parallel a thought but it makes sense. Even though I too really wanted him to move on after giving it some though, and rewatching it again with my nephew, I agree with you. It would be cool if Bay came for ONE.LAST.JOB. to finish the story and let the world see what a transforming planet battle would like Bay-style. We won’t even need WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE anymore!

    Griff: No there was not. Bay wanted one for the first and second one (I think The Fallen was actually going to be the aircraft carrier as he was originally supposed to be gigantic) but proved too difficult and complicated.

  74. This was a weird one – in a lot of ways it’s easily the best Transformers movie, but it’s also the most disappointing since it’s the only one where you can see the seeds of a legitimate good movie buried under the tons and tons of nonsense. For every step forward, like actual attention to character development and the two best female characters in the series, we get several steps back, like Bay’s least exciting action yet and another impenetrable plot that overstays its welcome and retcons all the other 4 movies. I know it sounds weird to say Academy Award Winner Sir Anthony Hopkins “steals the show”, but every moment he’s onscreen is a delight – and then *SPOILER* the movie kills him off unceremoniously and I’m pretty sure the other characters don’t know and don’t care. There’s the aforementioned plot twist of Earth being Unicron in disguise, which sounds amazing on paper, but literally nothing is done with this plot point except a mid-credits tease to a sequel that probably won’t happen. In fact I can’t name a single thing I liked about this movie without putting a little asterisk next to it and then explaining how the movie later ruins the good thing it had going.

    Example – We actually get a really strong opening that successfully mashes (steals) Stranger Things/The Goonies with the Rey storyline from The Force Awakens – but before you know it, all the other kids are gone, and then our charming, likable main character is weirdly kicked out of her own movie so Marky Mark can take over the narrative. I actually was down with this weird structure since these TF movies are so random and stream-of-consciousness that I’ve likened them to binge watching a super-expensive Netflix series. So of course I knew our new heroine would return at the end like an awesome season finale. Well, she returns and then proceeds to kinda not do anything – in fact the entire last 45 minutes or so is literally sound and fury signifying nothing – a long, long unexciting battle where i’m not even sure who the bad guys were or what they looked like, a main villainess’ comeuppance is so anticlimactic I wasn’t sure it happened, and Bay repeatedly ripping off imagery from Arrival for no reason. (Kinda like how he rips off Suicide Squad by giving Megatron’s jail buddies “wacky” introductions with on-screen credits for the first time in the series, and then (I think) kills them all almost immediately.)

    It’s funny that 2017 is the year of the deconstruction of the “chosen one” trope – with both Blade Runner 2 and The Last Jedi kinda turning that cliche inside out. The Last Knight does the same thing even though it does it sheerly through muddled confusion and I’m not even sure it does it on purpose. Like I guess they explain Mark Wahlberg IS the titular Last Knight, mainly so they can make “he hasn’t been laid in a long time” jokes, but it’s never really explained what being The Last Knight is supposed to mean or what he’s destined to do, since he wields Excalibur only once in the movie and then doesn’t use it at all in the final battle. Then in the climax, Laura Haddock is the one who gets the Chosen One moment by literally pulling a staff (sword) out of a stone that’s weirdly NOT Excalibur. So is she The Last Knight? Wahlberg basically doesn’t even need to be there since I don’t remember him doing anything. I also don’t really remember Josh Duhamel doing anything except call in nukes that blow up right next to our heroes without hurting them. Optimus also doesn’t do shit except get Bumblebee to shoot a woman in the back, the same way the Rey character yells at her BB8 buddy to blow up a big gun for her. This whole climax is literally a bunch of characters outsourcing their work to other characters, I’ve never seen anything like it.

    To make this more complicated, I like how the movie makes Haddock the last surviving relative of Merlin, which is not to be confused with Hopkins being the last surviving member of the Witwiccans. Curiously, Sam Witwicky is revealed to be a Relative of Merlin and NOT a Witwiccan despite the last name. I mean how hard would it be to combine the Witwiccans with the Relatives of Merlin in the script, except I guess it might be harder to include Harriet Tubman in the group? And I also don’t get why there’s all this brouhaha over a bloodline being the only one to wield a staff, when said staff has been buried at the bottom of the ocean since the BEGINNING of this bloodline, not to mention the staff apparently has no real power for good and can only be used to destroy earth. The writing here reminds me of how in the last one, the opening shows dinosaurs being turned into metal, but then the metal dinosaurs that show up later are entirely unrelated – there’s always two or three plot devices or explanations for everything lying around, like the movie can’t decide which one to use, and just decides to say fuck it and use them all. I’m going to kinda miss this dumb, dumb series to be honest.

  75. Welcome to the fold! Naturally by the time I learn to really dig this series, the rest of the world has moved on and we will probably not get that Unicron finale. Why does everyone else have to suck so bad (ie get higher standards while mine lower)?

  76. Well they made it official that BUMBLEBEE will be the last of the ‘Bayverse.’ Figures since I’m finally wanted to see where the weirdest/worst big-studio franchise would go finally. The giant planet vs giant planet movie directed by a reluctant Michael Bay will now sit on a shelf in my mind next to Steven E. DeSouza’s COMMANDO 2, the original Snyder/Goyer MAN OF STEEL 2 that exists instead of BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, and others.

  77. BUMBLEBEE is a movie made by people whose favorite scene from the first one was the awful robots in the backyard scene.

    You’d think the one thing that’d be left behind are the people who don’t act like humans and the awful humor, but here we are… it doesn’t have Bay’s great eye and great insanity to counter balance any of it.

    Now I’m even more bummed we’re not getting a totally nuts planet vs planet TRANSFORMERS 6.

  78. Well damn. Looks like I’ll stick with AQUAMAN that weekend.

  79. Geoffreyjar love of the series is one of life’s many great mysteries that I don’t get but enjoy every minute of it anyway.

  80. I kinda loved Bumblebee

  81. I thought it was okay. Had to bring the youngest nephew and niece to see it a second time and liked it better.

    I’d still take the awful and morally repugnant Bay films over it though.

    One thing I really took away is HOW good Hailee Steinfeld is. She spends 99% of the movie acting against a cartoon character and still totally sells it and makes it a MUCH better movie than anyone else attached to it was trying to make.

  82. I respectfully disagree, except about Hailee Steinfeld. Travis Knight and Christina Hodson made a film that has true heart and should’ve been the template for where The Transformers movies started from. It has more filmatism than all of the others put together. After Kubo and the two strings and this, Travis Knight is a filmmaker I’ll be watching everything he does from now on. This will be a movie I watch over and over again. But hey, this is just one man’s hyperbolic opinion.

  83. Well I respectfully disagree with your respectful disagreement!!

    I didn’t hate it or even really dislike it honestly. In my first Letterboxd review I even straight up I was going to be the semi-grump on it and everyone else was going to love it.

    I guess we’ll take this to the Vern review just posted! But yeah I have no reason to argue with you because I mostly liked it…

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