To start with, I am a Transformers fan. No matter what the world had to say about the Transformer films, I had a ball with the first three. Strangely enough, I hated the fourth installment. I felt it was too long, bloated and had absolutely nothing novel or noteworthy about it.
Hence, what I was expecting from the fifth installment was some sort of redemption from the debacle that was the fourth installment. It didn’t have to be extraordinary. It didn’t have to have mesmerizing character nuances, it didn’t have to have Oscar worthy drama. It just had to be as good and entertaining as the first three films. It could be mindless but it had to be engrossing.
Transformers: The Last Knight is exactly the same film that was the last four Transformers sans the heart and the goosebumps inducing heroism. I cannot possibly tell you how many times I have repeated the scene where first installment were Optimus Prime made his first appearance for the first time. There was something iconic about it. I cannot tell you how many times I saw the Prime versus Megatron fight with the new divide playing in the background from the second installment. I cannot tell you how many times I saw the highway chase sequence involving Sentinel Prime and the other from the third installment.
However, if you ask me about the fourth installment, I can tell you that I don’t remember a single sequence that had a similar impact on me. That, my friends, is exactly the problem with the fifth installment. I went into this film leaving my brains at home and even then, there were a few points that I had problems accepting. Also it was very! very! ordinary with absolutely nothing to cheer for.
The film has an extremely boring first half. This is the time when the McGuffin is set up which this time is an ancient medallion which attaches itself to Cade Yeager’s (Mark Wahlberg) body and turns him into a knight. It also holds testimony to the Transformer’s history on earth.
There is somewhere a Viviane Wimbly (Laura Haddock) who is a direct descendent of Merlin and is the only one who can wield Merlin’s staff. Cybertron is on its way again towards earth and this time the evil Quintessa, a Cybertronian sorceress and the creator of Cybertronians, wants to destroy “Unicron” and rebuild Cybertron.
Unicron, in this case is Earth. And holding all this together is Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), the only person in the film who knows what the hell is going on and who tells us exactly what is happening in prolonged expositionary sequences. Oh! And Optimus Prime is gone from earth and is being brainwashed by Quintessa to fight against mankind.
One of the problems with this installment is that the it is fairly complicated. There is a lot happening and none of it is exactly convincing. While the first half gives you all the pieces in bits and gives you a vibe every similar to Bay’s very own Armageddon, the second half relies more on the action which is the only saving grace of the film.
The film also fails in the fact that you don’t buy the story. There are multiple sequences wherein you go, gosh! That was a bad call. The most blatant example being how, Prime recovers his lost memory. Prime’s words were always a delight and it raised your heartbeats but this time around they feel fake, shallow and forced. Thus the biggest hero of the film is stripped off his heroism.
I had some major issues with the action sequences too. The editing of the action sequences was so fast and jumpy that I found it extremely difficult to enjoy. When you watch the film, you know that there is a real breathtaking piece of action unfolding here and there but you never really get to enjoy it the way you did in the first three films. The background score here is no way near what we had in the first three films.
The film also feels very jagged in terms of tone. While a large part of it felt like a post-apocalyptic film, there were parts which took me back to the climax of fourth installment. The film also tried to be funny a lot when it didn’t need to be. The only time when I found some real interest in the film was when we moved back to the past. The portions involving the Transformers and the Knights as well as a tiny bit showing Bumblebees’ violent past were the highlights of the film.
Mark Walberg is a good leading man but there was hardly anything he could do to rescue a character that was written in such an atrocious manner that it was beyond repair. He looks good in the action sequences but does very little else. Laura Haddock is serious eye candy. Every time she appeared on screen, I forgave the director for all his sins towards the audience. The moment she left, I hated the director again.
Overall, Transformers: The Last Knight is below par material. Michael Bay quickly needs to re-asses his stakes here and do something to revitalize the series as this franchise seems to be quickly spiraling down into the abyss.
Rating : 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)