Print review of Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount) for the 22nd June edition of The Oxford Paper from Taylor Newspapers.
“Towards the end of Michael Bay’s latest machine-ridden special effects blockbuster, a group of marines struggle through chaotic explosions and gunfire, asking one another “where’s the target?”; “find the target!”; “the target’s changed!”. Rarely have I felt such sympathy for a fictional team – I spent the entire two and a half hours of Transformers: The Last Knight wondering exactly the same thing.
Bay has returned to direct the fifth instalment of the mind-bogglingly successful Transformers franchise, and applies his standard bag of tricks: fast cuts, disorientating camera twirls, sun-bleached colour palettes, stylishly sweaty actors, puerile dialogue and the loudest explosions money can buy. And as ever, all this professional spit and polish is pure misdirection for a nonsensical plot.
In a nutshell, Merlin’s mythical magic staff (yep, that Merlin, played by Stanley Tucci) turns out to be real – and also a Transformers artefact. It has the power to end or save the world, but was buried with Merlin thousands of years ago. Cade Yeager (returning star Mark Wahlberg) gets roped into tracking it down alongside mythology expert Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins, of all people) and Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock), a professor of history at Oxford University. It’s a high-stakes race against the clock, and of course, various other groups want to beat them to it, including anti-Transformers military group TRF.
The film is narrative mulch: a bemusing, boring slog that makes you think less of everything and everyone involved. You may well cringe to see Oxford’s landmarks used for such shallow blockbuster purposes – even a university polo match is shot and scored as if it’s some kind of life-or-death action sequence.”
Cast & Crew
Director(s): Michael Bay
Writer(s): Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock