This week on That’s Entertainment Dave Griffiths joins Ed Phillips to chat about new films Handsome Devil, Cars 3, A Quiet Passion and Transformers: The Last Knight.
Summary: A deadly threat from Earth’s history reappears, and a hunt for a lost artifact takes place between Autobots and Decepticons, while Optimus Prime encounters his creator in space.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st June 2017
Australian DVD Release Date: 4th October 2017
Country: United States, China, Canada
Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriter: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum, Ken Nolan, Akiva Goldsman (story)
Cast: Erik Adahl (Bumblebee voice)), Daniel Adegboyega (Saebert), Gil Birmingham (Chief Sherman), Steve Buscemi (Daytrader voice)), Santiago Cabrera (Santos), Jerrod Carmichael (Jimmy), Jim Carter (Cogman voice)), Gemma Chan (Quintessa), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime (voice)), John DiMaggio (Nitro Zeus/Crosshairs voice)), Josh Duhamel (Colonel William Lennox), Dino Fazzini (Alden), Marcus Fraser (Gawain), Rebecca Front (Aunt Marie), Liam Garrigan (Arthur), John Goodman (Hound voice)), Minti Gorne (Young Viviane), Laura Haddock (Vivian Wembley), Jess Harnell (Barricade voice)), Richard Hills Jnr. (Cheldric), John Hollingworth (Tristan), Sir Anthony Hopkins (Sir Edmund Barton), Tom Kenny (Wheels voice)), Jason Matthewson (Spenser), Martin McCreadie (Lancelot), Isabela Moner (Izabella), Glenn Morshower (General Morshower), Phoebe Nicholls (Aunt Helen), Allen Phoenix (Luke Reynolds), Jade Quon (Cogman), Trent Seven (Hengist), Omar Sy (Hot Rod voice)), Stanley Tucci (Merlin), John Turturro (Agent Simmons), Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yaeger), Ken Watanabe (Drift voice)), Frank Welker (Megatron voice)), Reno Wilson (Mohawk/Sqweeks voice)), Rob Witcomb (Percival)
Runtime: 154 mins
Kyle McGrath’s Transformers: The Last Knight Review:
Despite his negative reputation as a filmmaker I consider myself to be a fan of a lot of Michael Bay’s films. Bad Boys, Pain & Gain, The Rock, 13 Hours and even Armageddon are all films I have enjoyed. He’s drawn the ire of some film fans however with films like Pearl Harbour (which I’ve not seen) and the incredibly popular Transformers franchise.
Transformers The Last Knight is the fifth film in the live action Transformers film series. Continuing on with new series protagonist from the previous film, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), this film sees the good autobots still lumped together with the villainous decepticons and outlawed by mankind in the wake of collateral damage which they seem to have brought to earth. Leader of the autobots, Optimus Prime, upon completing his long journey back to the Transformer’s home planet of Cybertron is captured by a new enemy with plans to use him in her plan to destroy earth.
The film proceeds more or less as anyone who has seen any the previous 4 films might expect. Having not fully enjoyed the series up til now I found myself once again disappointed in the development of the story, characters and the comedic relief which still comes off as inappropriate either in timing or in content (although perhaps not quite as bad this time as cutaway shots to dogs humping or John Turturro talking about robot testicles as we saw in the franchise’s second instalment).
The over the top action which Bay and this series are both known for of course returns as well. I must say that the mixing of CGI and live action which has always been impressive still excels if you stop to appreciate the movie on such a technical level.
That is if you can actually keep track of what is going on. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the film having 6 different editors but I felt like I was inside the head of a schizophrenic at times with how the movie is shot, edited and jumps from one plot thread to another.
Something I’ve noticed with the story of each of these films is that every single one of them presents a new revelation on how long Transformers have actually been on earth. They were here building the pyramids, they were the true reason for man walking on the moon, they were here with the dinosaurs and now they were instrumental in the legend of King Arthur. I believe these revelations are to make the audience not think that the world would be a much better place, and avoid periodical catastrophic events killing thousands, if the Transformers would simply leave. Each film needs a new reason for them to be here and after a while they’re starting to pile up on each other and conflict.
On top of that it means every film feels too heavy with exposition as this new reason needs to be explained though in such a way which won’t completely bore the fans who are there for the action. This is where the inappropriate timing of humour comes in as the movie can’t go too long without the equivalent of a pie in the face gag.
Characters both human and robotic are introduced and dropped frequently. Rather than focusing more on key players we’re aquatinted with more supporting characters who don’t appear to serve much of a purpose and disappear from the film before they do. John Turturro & Josh Duhamel both series regulars who were absent from the previous film round out the cast but again don’t do much.
This wouldn’t be too much of an issue but as a result the role of major characters like Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) seem rushed or are flat out absent from most of the film in the case of Optimus Prime or the leader of the decepticons, Megatron.
Optimus in particular whom I’ve never thought was handled well in any of the films barely makes an appearance til past the halfway mark then 10 minutes later he’s back to making these forced rallying speeches to motivate the troops to go into the final battle when he hasn’t earned the right to take on that leader role.
I think a problem with the Transformers film franchise for a lot of people has been the lack of genuine passion for what was going on. The films are visually stunning and often exhausting to watch as the staggering amount of man hours which have gone into creating them is clear to see. But at the same time they can feel hollow and boring.
When the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action films, themselves produced by Michael Bay, were announced the details of changes to the established ideas of the property caused an uproar. In time this led to the decision to shift gears and so the sequel from the ground up was crafted with die hard fans of TMNT in mind. Familiar villains, heroes, monsters and even the theme song which any fan would know off by heart were included and I believe this made a much more enjoyable film in the process.
The Transformers films have never had this reinvention because they never really needed to being the franchise was always so popular despite negativity from some audiences. This sums up my thoughts on Transformers The Last Knight. If you have enjoyed the franchise up till now then you will definitely enjoy this latest addition. However, unlike with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, I can’t think of a reason to recommend this sequel to anyone who has felt let down by the series up till now.
Average Subculture Rating:
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Kyle McGrath is a life-long film and television fan who has an encyclopedic knowledge of films. Kyle loves all kinds of films but is an expert when it comes to cult cinema and action films. He has also worked as a video game reviewer.
Over the years Kyle has had a number of roles in the media world from a production assistant at Melbourne Channel 31 television station and an executive producer on the popular X-Wired television show. Currently he works not only as a film reviewer for Subculture Entertainment but also for The Popcorn Experience podcast. He also writes reviews for HEAVY Mag and hosts a popular video games podcast for them.
Currently Kyle McGrath has 58 Reviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently Kyle McGrath features on 56 episodes of The Popcorn Conspiracy
Currently Kyle McGrath has 1 film feature article on Subculture