Monday, June 26, 2017


Or as it should be called: "Transformers: The Latest Mess" 

I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to an early screening a couple months back. None of us knew what movie we were going to see and give our feedback on, but everyone was excited for the possibilities. Given the time frame most of us believed it couldn’t be Spider-Man: Homecoming because that was to be released very soon. Plus, the questionnaire didn’t match that movie. Based on the questionnaire some of us were thinking it had to be Thor: Ragnarok.  Me, being the DC guy that I am, had extremely high hopes it was going to be Justice League. But the ongoing joke in line was “anything but the new Transformers movie”.

When we packed the theater and the presenter came in, we were at the edge of our seats in anticipation.  Then he said, “you get to be the first audience ever to see… Transformers: The Last Knight." Of course some people clapped with their obligatory respect since it was a free showing after all. But you could tell the enthusiasm wasn’t there.

Now, please understand, I love Transformers. I grew up with the cartoon, cried in the theater when Optimus Prime died in the animated movie (yes, I’m old). I collected the toys, read the Marvel comic, still read the IDW comics, you name it, I am a Transformers fan.

But the live action franchise has been nothing but one disappointment after another. I can enjoy mindless movies with explosions, because every now and then we need mindless fun. But Transformers is so much more than that and it should be treated as such. The first movie was decent. I thought, “hey not bad for the first outing”. The success alone could open the doors to superior sequels and even start a new genre: the giant robot genre. Having written a Robotech: The Movie script myself, I really wanted that genre opened up. 

Needless to say, each following movie was worse, not better, than the first. But, at least, Part 3, Dark of the Moon, was the type of mindless fun that was actually okay to me, but it was still mindless. To give Bay proper credit, while watching Dark of the Moon, I was observing how epic Bay managed to actually make the film feel for $195 million while the Green Lantern movie of the same year felt like a TV movie for $200 million. Like I said, I’m a DC guy and Green Lantern is my all time favorite superhero, so I was very distraught over that film. But part 2, Revenge of the Fallen was lousy and part 4, Age of Extinction… wow. I cannot find the words to express how bad Age of Extinction was.  It’s very rare I want to leave the theater or stop a movie in the middle of it, but I definitely wanted an out. I chose to suck it up and sit through it, but that movie could not end fast enough. 

Having said all this, once we discovered the screener was Transformers: The Last Knight, I literally stood up to leave. But then I thought, “okay, you aren’t being fair. What if it is actually good and you left? It’s free, so why not give it a fair chance?”

So, I sat down and decided to try and watch the movie with an open mind. Big mistake. This movie is arguably worse than Age of Extinction.

Like all Bay movies, there are a lot of explosions in this film from the very beginning. The problem is, the beginning of this movie occurs during medieval times.  Yes, explosions in medieval times! 

But who doesn’t like a good action film with explosions? The only problem is that in this movie, there are so many explosions happening so often, you literally get de-sensitized to explosions and they are actually boring as the movie progresses. 

The characterizations of the Transformers in these movies are criminal to me and this one is no exception. For some reason they feel compelled to make each Transformer extremely cartoonish and completely incompetent. In the script, they should be treated as any live-action character should be treated. Not corny or cheesy, but with respect. Respect the source material and characters at all costs. The only robot character that the cartoony personality works on is the butler, Cogman, and he isn’t even a Transformer.

Being a Bay movie, of course brought in the “hot chick,” played by Laura Haddock.  But unlike other Transformers films, she is surprisingly more than just eye candy.  She actually seems to have a legitimate role in what little storyline there is. In fact, the actress as well as her character are some of the few good things about this movie. 

Hasbro has announced that they wish to make a shared universe but it’s unclear if Transformers will be a part of the GI Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries and ROM Space Knight universe. But if it were included, then that would explain why I got such a Visionaries vibe from the medieval and Walberg arcs of the film. But perhaps I’m just reading into it. 

The Transformers is one franchise that is in dire need of a reboot. The last thing it needs is the shared universe treatment. Sharing a universe with any other brand automatically takes away from the potential of that brand. This franchise just misses out on so much of what makes the Transformers great and it should not infect anything else.  I love M.A.S.K and I liked Visionaries and it would be a shame if these were a part of that mess.

Cameron's Score: 1/10

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