Film Review: Transformers: The Last Knight

by Gordon Elgart on June 21, 2017

This movie goes for Big Dumb Fun, and is certainly big and dumb

             Sir Anthony Hopkins about to chew some scenery in Transformers: The Last Knight

A few years back, I wrote a “live blog” of Transformers 4: I Can’t Remember the Subtitle, the first in the Michael Bay x Hasbro series of films to star Mark Wahlberg. It was a pretty silly movie, but looked amazing in IMAX 3-D, as many scenes were shot natively with IMAX 3-D cameras. This time around, nearly every shot in the final film comes from IMAX 3-D cameras, so of course I had to head out to the theater to provide another Transformers live blog!

-15:00 The woman handing out the glasses is very militant tonight. She refused to give me a pair of glasses because the person in front of me took two, and she expected him to give me one. I have no idea who this person was or where he went to sit, and I had to beg to get my glasses. Weird.

-3:00 I just checked to see how long this movie is going to be. 149 minutes. Perfect. I’ll take all the giant robot fighting action I can get. I’m honestly excited for this, even posting myself as Bumblebee on Snapchat. I even texted my wife to ask her how to use a Snapchat lens. Old guy here …

-0:45 The person sitting closest to me has a notebook out. Maybe he’s going to actually live blog this thing as opposed to the fake live blog you’re getting.

0:05 The Paramount logo has fireballs shooting over it, and the camera spins. The titles tell us we’re in “England: The Dark Ages.” A very cool battle scene is happening. Michael Bay’s King Arthur might be a fun movie. I have no idea who is fighting whom or why. Bay’s gonna Bay.

0:07 A very drunk Merlin, who I’ll later find out is played by Stanley Tucci, is waking up some Transformer to ask him for help, and he’s given a very important staff that he can use to control a three headed dinobot that breathes fire on some people who I guess are the bad guys, but I can’t tell.

0:10 The title now says it’s “1600 years later.” A bunch of kids are looking around Chicago, where a terrible battle happened in one of the other movies — maybe the third one? They’re being attacked by some cops or maybe a paramilitary organization, and some feisty girl saves them, the geeky kid flirts with her, but she only wants to fix Transformers. 

0:16 Cade Yeager shows up and saves the kids! Go Marky Mark! Now those kids will surely be in the rest of the movie, right? No, of course not. Other than the feisty girl soon to become a surrogate daughter before she’s forgotten for most of the film, these kids are never seen again. I hope they made it.

0:25 Now we’re back with Cade Yeager who runs a giant auto junkyard in South Dakota where he can be racist to some Native Americans, y’know, for comedy, and somehow, in the middle of the Badlands, is able to find a streetwise black man on Craigslist to do a job that consists of illegally protecting Autobots from the TRF who are sworn to destroy all Autobots. 

0:35 Hey, listen, if this sounds confusing to you, imagine actually watching the movie. Can’t we just focus on a MacGuffin or something? 

0:47 They’re letting Megatron put together a team of Decepticons to capture the Autobots, and we get this weird outtake from Suicide Squad where the names of the Decepticons are pasted on the screen in freeze frames while he tries to select them. The scene is fairly entertaining, but belongs in a different movie altogether.

0:50 A British autobot shows up. I don’t know his name. Maybe Codrod? Corduroy? Codwyn? No one ever enunciates it clearly, so I’m gonna look it up and come back to the blog.

0:51 It’s Cogman. He works for Anthony Hopkins and is sent to find Cade to bring him to England to save the world. One of the characters compares him to C3PO before the audience can dismiss him as being a ripoff. In fact, he’s way cooler. The Cogman/Anthony Hopkins chemistry is the best thing about this movie, even though I thought it was the Codrod/Anthony Hopkins chemistry.

1:02 A really hot British girl is excellent at polo. This scene is not in IMAX, so I’m guessing they went back for a reshoot to make this woman more of a badass, or to set her up as a polo player. I’m sure she’ll need to use this polo skills later in the movie, right? Riding a horse? Using a stick to pass a ball or something? Right? No? OK.

1:05 It turns out our British woman is a professor at Oxford named Viviane and her mother and her tea drinking friends tease her about not having a boyfriend. Her father was obsessed with King Arthur, but she thinks it’s all BS. 

1:12 Codwyn [sic] kidnaps her and brings her to Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg for some flirting and exposition. Did you know that there’s a secret society of great thinkers who have worked for centuries to keep the secrets of the Transformers from the rest of the world? Now they need to find Merlin’s MacGuffin to save the world! Finally, the MacGuffin we’ve all been waiting for.

1:25 I don’t think I’ve mentioned that Optimus Prime has been turned into evil Nemesis Prime by some Sorayama robot, and now he’s trying to destroy the earth to save Cybertron? Apparently, Merlin’s staff will also destroy the world!

1:30 Maybe they shouldn’t search for Merlin’s staff if it’s the only thing that can destroy the world as if it were actually the only thing that can save the world? The only way to save the world is to make sure the people wanting to destroy it can’t find it, and you’re the only person that can find it, so maybe DON’T GO FIND IT? Nope, we’re playing checkers not chess with these guys. 

1:37 They’re searching for something in a very messy room, and they’re not finding it. They’re tossing things around and making noise and the tea ladies all think they’re having sex and they are SO EXCITED, like way too excited. After much tossing around, Marky Mark finds a clue, which leads Viviane to exclaim, “It’s in my secret cabinet!” before she opens the secret cabinet that was there all along. Facepalm.

1:50 Oh, heck, they’re gonna find the MacGuffin, and then it’s gonna get into the wrong hands, and there’s gonna be a blue light shooting up into the sky. 

2:10 There’s that blue light. Sigh.

2:22 Really? After this self-serious crap, you’re going to make two different hacky pop culture references when defeating the bad guy? Oh, did you not know they were going to defeat the bad guy? Spoiler Alert!

2:25 Here’s the post credits scene where they set up the sequel.

2:28 This is the fastest credit roll I’ve ever seen. Stanley Tucci is in this? Who does he play? I’ll need to look that up.

Oh goodness, I just looked back over this live blog, and I forgot to mention the creative set pieces that have made these Transformers movies worth watching in spite of all of their stupidity. Well, guess what? You’re not going to find those this time around. There are a couple of moments that would look cool in a trailer, but the set pieces are recycled trash. There’s not even a decent amount of transforming. This franchise is officially out of ideas. 


Transformers: The Last Knight opens everywhere today in many, many formats. If you’re going to see it, make an effort to see the IMAX at the Metreon or out at the Regal Hacienda. Seeing this in a normal format would feel like even more of a waste of time, so if you plan to waste the time, waste the extra money, too.



Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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