This week I went to see Transformers: The Last Knight. It’s not a movie I would go to on my own but I had to review something. It looked so bad, the fifth instalment of a series where the first movie wasn’t even that great. I was looking forward to roasting it. But I have to tell you, I liked it. In the same way I liked Gods of Egypt, and for the same reasons: I liked the special effects and it was full of handsome men. Or in this case, man. Fair warning- this review features heavily my celebrity crush on Mark Wahlberg. This is one of those movies that relies completely on its visual effects and fast action. It is the very definition of a summer blockbuster.
What a beautiful movie. The special effects were gorgeous, the Transformers looked incredible and the sets/locations were wonderful. Visually it was such a treat. I love it when movies play with scale and Transformers: The Last Knight did it better than most. It effortlessly showed the size difference – people are smaller than Transformers, which are smaller than spaceships (and dragons), which are smaller than chunks of planet. Seeing things in this perspective invokes a bit of awe. We got a sense of planet-on-planet action. Also on the subject of visuals, I got to see Mark Wahlberg’s arms a lot and, in one scene, his chest. That’s what I came for.
Transformers: The Last Knight was too long. Like an entire hour too long. And what did they fill it up with? Not much, strange unnecessary plot vignettes and weird character moments that were neither interesting nor relevant. The plot makes no sense. None. Things just happened for no discernible reason other than the plot required it. The script seemed to have remained in a first draft, like a bunch of writers got high in a room, banged out all the dialogue and just copy/pasted it where it needed to go. I had to wonder if the length was deliberate though – it took about an hour for my brain to finally give up the this-makes-no-sense thing it does and just go with it. When I did, the movie was a lot more fun.
There’s a weird fantasy thing going on here. Wizards, magic, prophecy, artifacts, all these things are straight out of Tolkien. Oh Transformers, you weren’t so creatively bankrupt that you had to jump genres, were you? I guess they already had dinosaurs so dragons weren’t that much of a stretch. It worked fairly well, and by that I mean not worse than anything else. Did I mention this movie was pretty? So pretty.
I can’t say it was badly acted because the actors had nothing to work with. The dialogue was terrible. Even the great Anthony Hopkins seemed bewildered by what he had to say half the time. I think they were trying to be funny? I can see what they were going for – an aging English lord making dick jokes does have a certain humorous potential. But it failed hard. I’m guessing humor is harder than it looks but A for effort, they kept trying. And trying and trying.
So is Transformers worth watching? Depends. Take this simple test: Do you have a rabid crush on Mark Wahlberg? Are you a fan of the Transformer Series? Do you need a way to kill two and a half hours? Are you drunk? If you answered yes to more than two of these questions, then you would definitely enjoy this movie. I’m rating Transformers: The Last Knight higher than it deserves – when you see the rating it’s entirely possible that two of those stars are for Mark Wahlberg alone.