The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan

"TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT"

Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight sends you out of the theater feeling bewildered and confused. No one would mistake Michael Bay's Hasbro toy-influenced franchise for great art, but the original was escapist fun, while the sequels were varying degrees of mediocre. This new one is something else altogether. It might be enough to kill the whole series. Perhaps that's for the best.

Mark Wahlberg returns as the improbably named Cade Yeager. He has to stop the evil Decepticon known as Megatron from destroying Earth. That's the short version of the plot. There is a long version, but I couldn't even begin to explain it to you. It involves a powerful ancient artifact (because of course it does), a dead planet, King Arthur, a submarine, a wealthy Englishman (Anthony Hopkins), and Stonehenge, among many other things. Cade, for inexplicable reasons, also gains a surrogate daughter, Izabella (Isabela Moner), and a new one-dimensional love interest, Vivian (Laura Haddock).

Michael Bay has always been a great visual stylist and a lousy storyteller. That disparity really comes through this time. Although it looks fantastic, The Last Knight is a complete shambles in the storytelling department. The screenplay by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Ken Nolan does Bay no favors. Continuity is conspicuously absent. It often feels as though the movie is just making things up as it goes along, with no regard to anything that came before or preparation for what will lie ahead. Each new plot event appears to have been included after being pulled out of a hat.

Six editors are credited here. This disaster certainly isn't their fault, but let's use them as an example of how the movie plays. Imagine that five of them are editing five completely different movies, then the sixth one comes and tries to edit those individual films into one. You'd end up with a picture that makes no sense, where one scene doesn't feel connected to the next. That's The Last Knight in a nutshell. It's unclear what's happening for a lot of the running time because nothing fits together with anything else.

That extends to the dialogue. Characters say things that sound like random sentences generated by a computer. There are no conversations in this movie, just people speaking arbitrarily in front of one another. An inability to settle on a tone makes that issue even more noticeable. One minute, The Last Knight is taking itself way too seriously with all the Transformers minutia, and the next it's not taking itself seriously at all.

As always, the visual effects are quite impressive, and Bay certainly knows how to deliver some bang for the buck in the 3D department. Transformers: The Last Knight is just fundamentally weird to watch, though, which guarantees that it lacks even the most basic sense of giant robot-versus-giant robot fun that the other installments had.

These days, Hollywood increasingly relies on “tentpole” movies – sequels and franchises that can run on profitably for years. The hazard to such an approach is slapping something together simply to meet a release date, rather than focusing on making each new entry as satisfying as it could be. In this particular case, the studio and filmmakers have vomited up a loud, unfocused, utterly nonsensical Transformers mess.

( 1/2 out of four)


Transformers: The Last Knight is rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo. The running time is 2 hours and 29 minutes.


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