“Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.”
“Optimus Prime finds his dead home planet, Cybertron, in which he comes to find he was responsible for its destruction. He finds a way to bring Cybertron back to life, but in order to do so, Optimus needs to find an artifact that is on Earth.”
I imagine people don’t buy a ticket to see these movies for the purpose of seeing “a good film”.
Rather, the intent is to see a “Transformers” movie.
TTLK delivers on that front, with stunningly realised digital robot characters battling and transforming their way across the globe as the human race prepares for impact from an incoming object from outer space.
I have to admit I found this story hard to follow, with a batch of writers tasked with plotting this Bay blockbuster, with little regard to being on the same page.
The main storylines as far as I could tell are as follows…
A Lolita type Mexican character Izabella (Isabela Moner) who has her own little robot Sqweeks, and lives in the scrap heaps of the post industrial world, she sympathises with the Autobots and will inevitably cross paths with…
Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), who for a reason unbeknownst to me replaced Shia LeBeouf as the male lead in these films and for further mystery reasons seems to be extremely tanned in this film with very pink lips. Cade is the human race’s key link to communicating and understanding the Transformers. Yikes.
Sir Anthony Hopkins. A eccentric English aristocrat, who as a member of the Witwiccans order, has guarded the secrets of the Transformers – namely that they have been on Earth since before the time of King Arthur. Yes – King Arthur.
A sexy lady, who is also an Oxford scholar (GotG Peter Quill’s Mum in heels) Laura Haddock as Viviane Wembly, revealed to be the descendant of Merlin, and the only person capable of wielding the necessary power to save the human race from the robot threat.
The film opens in England in “The Dark Ages” where Lancelot and a couple of armies are engaged in a fierce battle with swords and catapults.
Lancelot assures his side that the great wizard (yep, Merlin) is at this very minute on a mission to secure an advantage via his sorcery that will turn the battle in their favour, and for the good of humankind. I think.
Cut to Merlin, and he is being played in the style of a Monty Python character, which a) was unexpected and b) was actually quite funny.
Merlin rides his horse – like for a loooong time, while the battle is raging and surely about to be lost – until he reaches a cave where he implores the inhabitant of said cave that he will keep the secret – as he has not told anybody yet – of their existence, and in return could he please have a fire breathing dragon.
A large Transformer provides Merlin with this three headed dragon and they return to the battle and vanquish the enemy.
Meanwhile, back in the present day, a small gaggle of tween boys (the film’s key demographic) decide to sneak into an old baseball field to scavenge for scrap amongst the debris.
In spite of clearly labelled signs warning that anybody entering this poorly protected facility will be subject to the use of lethal force, the lads scamper through a large hole in the fence and set about exploring the scrap mounds where they stumble across a sleeping robot.
The worlds of Chad, Izabella and robots collide as Izabella rescues the boys from (Josh Duhamel as) William Lennox (former Non-Biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (N.E.S.T.) commander, and U.S. Army Ranger captain, who partnered with the Autobots prior to the events of Age of Extinction. He is now a colonel of the U.S. military and an unwilling member of the TRF (Transformers Reaction Force)),before being rescued herself by Chad.
After that there are a couple of convoluted hours of global gallivanting that involve in no particular order…
A robot threat from outer space.
Robots in submarines.
A car chase through the streets of London where, in remarkably poor taste, vehicles repeatedly mount the footpath posing a hazard to pedestrians. Seriously?
A nerd from NASA who has the primary role of appearing increasingly exasperated.
A character called Cogsman, a polite sociopathic, human-sized Headmaster with a larger robot body that transforms into a silver 2017 Aston Martin DB11, and is the faithful butler to Sir Edmund Burton played by Jim Carter(Downtown Abbey’s Mr Carson).
Cogsman is a hybrid of Ultron and Jarvis from the MCU, C3PO from the Star Wars universe, and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast. So brazen is Michael Bay, that a line of dialogue even references how much this character is a rip off of the classic Star Wars droid.
Ironically this character delivers a couple of the best moments of the film as key plot points are revealed and it punctuates the scenes with dramatic music.
Sir Anthony Hopkins’ character seems to have dementia.
This whole mess is pure adolescent masturbatory military fantasy, and in spite of being so bad, actually has some entertaining components.
The robot battles are, as always, spectacular to the eye.
The voice cameos are surprising – John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and an appearance by John Turturro are curios oddities rather than brilliant casting.
One audience member seemed to relish every single detail of the film, and so, when he laughed out loud, it was hard not to follow his lead, but rather at the movie than with it.
I was fortunate that I saw the film with my 20 year old son Oscar who has enjoyed the previous films to a modest degree and so we had each other to groan at the ridiculousness of the overall affair.
No part of me whatsoever looks forward to the next instalments of this colossal franchise.
1 Star. Not the worst film ever made, but close.