Movie Review: Transformers: The Last Knight

Bigger isn't really better in this series inspired by toy robots

Transformers: The Last Knight
Directed by Michael Bay
With Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner

Some series get more overblown with each entry. The Transformers series, which began in 2007 and is now in its fifth episode, has become almost nonstop action with giant alien robots trying to destroy the earth.

Transformers: The Last Knight is set to be the last entry in the series directed by Michael Bay, although more films are in production. He said he wanted to go out with a bang. The result is over two hours of battling between good and bad robots who can change their shapes, while a military task force called TRF is hunting all robots and the humans who help them.

The series was based on a set of toys made by Hasbro. The toy cars and trucks can be bent into robots. From those humble roots, a whole parallel history of humanity has developed on screen.

The story in this episode, the fifth in the live-action series, starts back in the times King Arthur, said in the film to be 484 AD. Merlin (played by Stanley Tucci) apparently gets his magic with the aid of the Transformers.

Somehow, this leads to Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) in modern times being an expert on the history of the Transformers. Hopkins tries to add a bit of fun to the film, playing an old-school gentleman living in a palace with a butler robot who acts quite a bit like Star Wars' C3PO, but Hopkins' role is just too ridiculous. He overacts quite a bit, perhaps in an effort to stand up to the special effects.

He seems to have been included to have a big name to draw in some adults to the audience. His fans will be disappointed.

Sir Edmund Burton has something to do with explaining who the “last knight” of the title is and what the knight has to do. Even with an Oscar-winning actor like Hopkins trying to make the plot sound credible, it is a tough sell.

The main star is Mark Wahlberg returning as Cade Yeager, a fugitive supporter of the good robots. He is a bit more believable in his role than Hopkins.

A young girl named Izabella (Isabela Moner), who has been hiding out with the robots, eventually joins up with Yeager to make a pseudo-family, which has become a ubiquitous theme recently in action films from Logan to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which all feature orphans tagging along.

For a love interest, Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) pops up as a history professor who gets mixed up with Sir Edmund and Yeager to solve some riddle.

The scenes with Yeager and Wembly are a bit cute, and they do make a nice couple based on the opposites attract principal.

Wembly, though, could be a stronger character. She is supposedly highly educated but much of the dialogue about her concerns her need to find a man. One character even points out that she dresses like a stripper and not a professor.

Thrown in for no apparent reason, except maybe to get another big name on the credits, is John Turturro as Seymour Simmons, a former government agent who is hiding out in Cuba and making crank phone calls. Cuba is apparently one of the few places the Autobots can live freely.

The bulk of the film though is the Autobots and other robots, who each have a distinctive look and personality. Some of them fold up into trucks and cars. Huge giant robots fold into small race cars, for example. Basic rules of science seem not to apply in the series.

The plot gets incredibly inflated, with the fate of the entire earth in the balance and, of course, huge special effects scenes involving battles with the Autobots, Decepticons, Dinobots and other robots.

Much of the end makes little sense if you try to think about it at all, and the whole “last knight” concept gets a bit lost in all the noise and mayhem.

But the series has its fans who take all of this seriously, and two of the five films in the series have taken in over $1 billion at the box office.

But unless you are a teenager who already knows the difference between an Autobot and a Decepticon, this film is a noisy waste of time that also wastes the talents of a few good actors.

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