Transformers: The Last Knight
The latest sequel in the “Transformers” series contains all the old familiar characters and concerns complete with spectacular action sequences. But this time the producers have clearly outdone themselves. Without the slightest exaggeration, the special effects in this episode put all prior efforts to shame.
In a dazzling display of expertise, hordes of graphic artists have created fantastic vistas with incredible depth and detail. The action is hard-hitting and expertly choreographed with casts of hundreds. Animated and human action figures are so well integrated that it is difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. And most amazing is that the action is non-stop. And by non-stop, I mean that as the hours roll by, the bashing and smashing and crashing is unrelenting with never room for an idle thought.
In fact, the only thing that is lacking is simply everything else that makes a story a story. Evidently, single lines of forgettable dialogue are thought sufficient to unleash hours of violence. Character development is less than non-existent as the distinction between friend and foe blurs in a mindless milieu of ever shifting allegiances. Nor is it possible to discern anyone’s real grievances or motivations beyond a raging instinct of everyone to demolish everything in sight.
So it is only on painful recollection much after the viewing that one can try to piece together the actual plot. Apparently, many hundreds of years ago a transformer spaceship crashed on Earth. And who should wander by in desperate need of alien assistance? Why Merlin the magician, erstwhile friend to King Arthur, of course. So Merlin gets a magic staff and dispatches a mangy mob of cutthroats who are threatening civilization somehow…
Meanwhile in the present day, Earth has been devastated by a Transformer invasion. Various groups of human survivors are trying to wipe them out while our hero and his girlfriend, played by a shapely look-alike new actress strutting around in tight fitting dresses, are trying to protect them. But lest anyone fear that human emotions will get in the way of the action, think again. In a rare break from the monotony of the carnage, our hero uncharacteristically utters a few lines affirming a heartfelt intent to neuter himself and enter a monastery when things quiet down a bit.
But getting back to the action, somehow the home planet of the Transformers is controlled by a seriously bad lady Transformer who has clouded the minds of other Transformers. So of course they feel the need to destroy the Earth, the logic of which escaped me. Enter a wise old college professor type played by Anthony Hopkins who has discovered that the girlfriend is the long lost descendant of Merlin who alone can wield his magic staff and save mankind, if they can only find it which they do.
In due course, the girlfriend zaps the lady Transformer, and in a heartbeat, as if by magic, the clouds part, the heavens open, the sun shines, and everyone realizes they really and truly do love each other after all. And so just before the closing credits, the movie explains that cooperation is better than the non-stop slaughter so expertly rendered during the last few hours. Wow, who would have thought?
Unfortunately, I guess, that reflection was not uppermost in my mind as I exited the theater. Rather I was thinking that was three or four hours of my life I could never get back. For those still inclined to see this disaster, the hardest part will be trying not to fall asleep and then pretending you weren’t when startled awake by the next train wreck. Good luck.