Michael Bay. Transformers. Quite possibly one of the most controversial combinations in known history. For almost a decade it became a license to print money at the box office for Hasbro and Paramount. But then things took a dramatic change for the worse with the release of The Last Knight. Compared with the others, it was regarded as being a box office disaster, taking a fraction of the other movies. The future of the franchise seemed in serious jeopardy.
Now, as with all of the movies since Revenge Of The Fallen, I’ve avoided seeing them in the cinema, choosing to wait until the home video release instead. I wasn’t a fan at all but when it came to The Last Knight things were different. While I avoided spoilers online so I was able to watch the blu ray there was one thing I hadn’t managed to miss. The general fan loathing for the movie. It was universally hated, even by those who loved the Michael Bay directed films. As such, the disc sat on a shelf still shrink-wrapped and unwatched for almost two years…
Unwrapping The Last Knight
Like most people, I’ve got a lot of films on DVD and blu ray waiting to be watched. Astonishingly I’ve still got a copy of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that I bought on DVD when it was released back in 2001 that’s still sealed! But when it comes to major franchises that I follow, the discs are usually opened and watched within a week or so of being purchased. We don’t manage to go to the cinema all too often so home video is the only way we can keep up with films. It’s hard enough being six months behind everyone else so when we get films we want to watch them as quickly as we can.
When it came to The Last Knight things were very different. I was in no rush to rip open the seal on the blu ray. While my wife was eager to see it, having enjoyed all the previous films, I made every excuse possible. Delay tactics, finding other things to watch, blaming something on the animals… anything humanly possible to get out of watching the film! But with the home release of Bumblebee fast approaching, I had little choice but to give in.
Michael Bay Roulette
Watching any of the Michael Bay Transformers films is always a gamble. While you always know from the outset some of the elements that you’re going to get in the movie, you still don’t quite know what to expect. An effects-laden spectacle is usually a certainty. High-brow drama it definitely won’t be. Beyond that, even the strongest supporters of his Transformers films tend to go in blind. When you walk into the cinema to watch any film you take a chance as to whether or not it’s going to be any good.
But when it comes to Transformers and Michael Bay… it takes that element of chance to an all new level. Most find that the chances of scoring big on the best ranked slots is higher than seeing a critically acclaimed BayFormers film. While there may be moments that show glimmers of hope in each of them, ultimately they’ve all disappointed in one way or another. Unfortunately, The Last Knight continues in the same way.
A Strange Sequel
Following on from Age Of Extinction, The Last Knight is something of an odd movie. Optimus Prime has been cast off into space. The Autobots and Decepticons are in hiding on Earth, hunted as fugitives with the military declaring war on all Cybertronian life. Several years have passed from the previous film and it’s a very different time. The Autobots are no longer seen as being our protectors, but rather bringers of death and destruction to the planet.
The Cybertronian race holds a secret though… they’ve been on Earth for far longer than we realise. Helping humans for hundreds of years, fighting alongside us since the times of King Arthur. A secret society, started by Merlin and continued by his descendants, sworn to protect the knowledge about their existence on Earth but also a hidden weapon that could impact on the future of Earth and Cybertron…
As Absurd As It Sounds
King Arthur, Merlin and Transformers. Hardly a combination that sounds like it is going to make for a good film. And frankly it doesn’t. From start to finish it’s a mish-mash of ideas, stereotypes and concepts that should never have been mixed together in the same script, let alone on screen. The idea that a group of Cybertronian warriors were involved in fighting alongside King Arthur itself and manages to remain hidden for hundreds of years defies logic. Sir Anthony Hopkins seems to struggle being placed in what can only be described as a stereotypical American image of British aristocracy, a theme that runs throughout the film. His portrayal of Sir Edmund Burton, caretaker of the knowledge about the existence of the Cybertronian presence on Earth, seems to be that of a bumbling fool more than anything else.
Optimus Prime, meanwhile has been captured and brainwashed. Turning against all of his fellow Autobots and Earth he now calls himself Nemesis Prime. For such a strong willed character to be changed so easily gave very little regard for the Autobot who had been built up over the four previous films. In The Last Knight, Prime seemed to be just a background character to be used as a puppet and could have been anyone for most of the film.