Sunday, November 12, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight Review (Ugh!)

I have dreaded this day for months.

As a massive Transformers fan, I have gone from excitement, to trepidation, to anger, to outright dread whenever a new Transformers movie comes out.  I'm not saying anything almost all 80s Transformers fan hasn't already spouted all over the internet - these movies are all universally panned by true retro fans.  I'm not saying I hate all new Transformers stories - the various cartoon series that have come after the movies are pretty great, including one of my favorite reboots ever, Transformers: Animated.  

What I am saying is that almost everyone involved with these movies save, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, don't give a shit about Transformers, and all the evidence I need to support that is in the latest movie, The Last Knight.  At first glance, you could say the writers care about the Transformers lore than came before, specifically taking a lot of cues from the 1986 masterpiece, Transformers: The Movie.  Okay, masterpiece might be a little rich, but compared to this, it might as well be Citizen Cane.  Besides the callbacks to the first movie, they also brought back a few things from the previous films, like John Toturro's Skinner, Josh Dehamel's... whatever his character's name was, and Wheelie.  There was even a picture of Shia.  The only problem is that NO ONE gives a shit about them!  "Not enough connections to the previous film" was the bottom of the list of complaints raised against these movies.

Anyway, TLK on paper shares quite a bit from the original movie - there's Unicron and Quintessa, both first showing up in the 1986 movie for the first time as the monster planet and the Quintessons, a race that is later shown to have created the Transformers.  But then you see that Unicron is actually planet Earth - a plot point not from the original series but from one of the most recent shows, Transformers: Prime and was introduced a ton better there.  And Quintessa while sharing a similar name and role, is nothing like what appeared in the first movie, instead just being some female robot. It's a real shame because they both got so close to the source material but made minor changes that ruined their potential.

So let's get to the crux of the story, or at least as much as I can since my eyes glazed over less than a half hour in.  Earths' governments have banded together to make Transformers illegal.  Is illegal even the right word?  Transformers are a race of sentient beings - that's like saying dogs are illegal.  Owning one could be illegal, but dogs existing doesn't really fall under international law.  Anyway - I'm getting ahead of myself.  Kids sneak into an Alien No-Go Zone and find a girl who lives there and....

Ugh I can't do this, literally and figuratively.  The story is a hot mess and trying to explain it is practically impossible.  Transformers: The Last Knight, at its very core, just doesn't make sense.  It's as if four or five people got a list of keywords, like Unicron and knights, and little girl, each of them wrote a totally different script, they through all the pages in a pile, and made a movie with the first handful of pages they grabbed.  I wouldn't be surprised if this actually happened since Hasbro assembled a Writer's Room of creators to build a Transformers universe, and this is the retched result of that collaboration.  Thank Primus it's over though.

Of course, the nonsensical plot is far from this movie's only problem.  For a movie called Transformers, they don't get much time to shine. They're on screen a lot, true, but the entire story is human-driven.  The people in the movie, who I refuse to name because they're not worth the effort, make all the decisions, form all the plans, and hold all the knowledge - the Transformers are just there to do carry out orders and shoot their guns.  None of them have any distinct personalities, just different ways of speaking, like accents or exclamations.  New character Hot Rod, again a callback to a main character of the 1986 movie, is here "characterized" by having a French accent and a gun that he has to say freezes time every time he pulls the trigger.  The future leader of the Autobots and the chosen of the Matrix of Leadership is reduced to a goofy-sounding phrase in a fancy car.  And the rest of the computer-animated cast follows the same pattern.  The only redeeming factor in this hodgepodge of disappointment is hearing Frank Welker back in the role he originated - Megatron.  Even Peter Cullen's performance here is disappointing as it doesn't sound like him through most of the movie due to the angry groaning he does.

I could go on about the humans, the story, the forced connection to King Arthur and Hitler which contradicts everything else we've learned in the previous abominations, but I just can't relive it.  There's a reason this movie has forced a massive Chinese financier to pull support for Paramount.  I can only hope this failure forces Hasbro to take a close look at this story and just reboot the franchise, but the upcoming Bumblebee movie seems to be following the same tired formula.  At least it has a different director behind it - and one whose movies I've actually enjoyed, as well.

Now I'm going to go watch the first Transformers movie to get the taste of this disaster out of my mouth.

This post has been made in part of  "Now (and Then) Blogathon on Thoughts All Sorts. Click here for the first part, a review of Transformers: The Movie for the "Then (and Now) Blogathon" on RealWeegieMidget Reviews.


1 comment:

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