3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Transformers: The Last Knight Review

If you ignore the fact that Prime looks obviously evil in the poster…it’s hard to disagree with the message. If one planet is going to die then shouldn’t it be Earth? Those guys are always picking on the Autobots and destroying themselves anyway. Even if the Transformer movies have not been all that good historically they do certainly have great posters and trailers. If nothing else, they always do a good job of drawing you in. On that note, I went to the theaters to watch this latest installment, but could it hold its own against the last few and even surpass them? Time to find out!

Well, the film starts off with a prolonged action scene back in the days of the 12 knights. It’s as boring as you’d expect with very generic bombs being thrown and people stabbing each other. Films like this one keep reminding me why action scenes should all take place in the modern day alongside big buildings and cool effects. The drunk Merlin gets the Autobots to help him so they destroy the other side. Merlin is even given the staff of power which has the ability to destroy and recreate whole planets. He literally takes it to the grave.

We cut away to the present day where a girl by the name of Izabella is saving a few kids who broke into a government protected site with killer machines running around. They shoot to kill and that includes kids, but fortunately Cade and his resistance pals like Bumble Bee show up and finish off the government robots. The kids run off, but Izabella stays with Cade since she wants to fight. The two characters trade sob stories while Cade has a beer (The film made sure to show that it was a Budlight) and then Mr. Edmund shows up to tell the heroes that they have to find the scepter of power and stop the incoming invasion. He has also located and brought in a lady named Viviane who is a descendant of Merlin and the only one who can wield it. Naturally Viviane and Cade don’t get along, but none of the characters do. Can they at least stop the invasion or will their not so subtle insults against each other take top priority? Oh yeah, Megatron’s also around.

This is 100% a Michael Bay film. You can tell because it follows all of the classic tropes. The only good one is that we get a ton of explosions. There’s constantly something catching fire and blowing up. Everyone gets to be in an explosion at some point or other and that was interesting. Well, interesting isn’t the right word, but at least it’s something to catch your attention even if you know that it’s just trying to cover up the lack of a plot.

Unfortunately the other cliches are here. Naturally when Viviane is brought to the castle, she decided to bring along a rather inappropriate outfit for business. It’s not as if it would be a huge deal but of course Cade brings it up and they have a pretty sad conversation about it. Keep in mind that these two were enemies at first, but Cade quotes a random philosopher once they’re okay. He shows off his 6 pack once and they are immediately past the friend zone. The flirting and fanservice were pretty sad and while not as bad as in previous films, I had a feeling the film would bring this into the picture.

Then there’s the writing. I don’t want to say it was the worst yet, but there must have been over 50-100 s words in the film. It was used in almost every single sentence. It’s as if the keyboard warriors from reddit and twitch were the main characters in this film. It was incredibly awful and took you out of the film every time. Why does everyone have to use swear words to express every idea that they get? It’s painfully bad and would have doomed the film to a low score even without all of the other negatives.

It’s also hard to know who to root for. The Autobots are anything but likable. They spend the first half of the film doing more damage to each other than the Decepticons possibly could. Bumblebee even destroys one of his fellow Autobots for no good reason. I don’t remember his name but it was one of the minicons, Bumblebee just crushed him without remorse. The others don’t get along either so there’s a ton of threats among them. We get about 20 minutes of the Autobots just yelling at each other and the humans deciding to follow their example. The insults get pretty personal throughout and one guy even brings up the race card to counter Cade. Well, I shouldn’t say “even” that was another guarantee in this film. Viviane doesn’t get along with her parents and relatives either for more drama and they care more about her love life than the alien invasion. Edmund is constantly threatening to destroy his butler and his butler tries to choke Cade to death, but is stopped at the last second. These are our heroes.

Think about that for a second. Our heroes are the ones who keep threatening each other, actually destroy one member, blackmail other members, and basically just live to destroy. They destroy Decepticons not for honor or victory, but just because they like to murder stuff. Optimus Prime isn’t exempt either as his terribly conceived plan to head to Cybertron winds up getting him frozen. Fortunately, he crash lands there and the ice chips off. I think he suffered a severe concussion though because he doesn’t remember that Cybertron was destroyed so he rushes over and attacks the metal lady who’s there because he thinks she destroyed it. She casually beats him in one hit with her lightning and forces him to kneel before her. She then easily mind controls him to turn evil and be her slave. It’s hinted that it’s mind control since he grew a red scar and she did the same to Megatron. Oh yeah, Megatron gets mind controlled so he’s a subordinate yet again.

Prime doesn’t stay evil for long though as a quick “Martha!” sort of line gets him to turn good again. The heroes decide to kick him a few times while he’s down so he learns a lesson though and everyone just stands there and watches it happen. I get the feeling Prime isn’t too popular on Earth sometimes even if the Autobots claim that they look up to him. While Quintessa (The metal lady) was pretty awesome and it was nice to see her wreck everybody, the film forgot about that. Instead of blasting Viviane and ending the film in an instant, she orders Megatron to do it and doesn’t do anything herself. She gets blasted by Bee and that’s basically the end of her story. It’s a sad way to go.

Hot Rod is actually in this film, but you’ll barely care since he’s nothing like his classic self. He’s just a guy with a french accent who likes blasting stuff. His time stop ability is useful, but he rarely ever remembers to use it so he may as well not have it. The Decepticons are all fairly generic. We have a scene inspired by the Suicide Squad where we see him release his favorite cons and they all team up, but half of them die in their first action scene and even Megatron himself isn’t all that impressive. He seems about as durable as your average con and has slightly more firepower. He never really seems like a threat.

Despite the writing being so bad, some of the humans are all right. Izabella is reasonable for a kid. At least she knows what she is doing and managed to survive for so long as the government base. Her robot even looked a lot like Bumblebee and I could have sworn that it was him the whole time. Why do they have the same design? If Bumblebee had died in such a random way like that I’m sure the fanbase would have gone nuts though. I didn’t really care for Viviane much though. She seemed to overreact a lot and the 180 personality shift once she got along with Cade was sad. Cade also wasn’t that great as he drinks too much beer and also takes things too personally. The whole plot with his daughter was made to be way too dramatic.

The government is also bad as always. They decided to turn against all of the Transformers yet again. Sure, they’re all pretty mean, but why pick a fight that you can’t win? Their weapons are finally strong enough….well who are we kidding. Their weapons are always strong enough to beat Transformers. They’ll still lose in the end if they go with a frontal assault so it’s just not a smart move. It’s a rather half baked one. The only good member of the army was the physics guy who kept mocking the heroes for relying on magic. He’d point out that magic wasn’t real and that the team should use physics to win. It didn’t work of course as magic is the whole point of the film, but the guy made some good points and had a lot of excellent burns.

The film relies pretty heavily on being half comedy and action. Unfortunately, the humor doesn’t work very well. The funniest scenes were the unintentional ones like the heroes constantly bickering or Optimus Prime getting frozen just by flying. The actual humor just tends to fall flat like the flirting and all of the characters acting like jerks. I suspect the guy on the telephone trying to be a knight was supposed to be funny as well, but it didn’t really work. Also, how come this guy seems to know everything? I like that he didn’t panic like the others and just decided to hang out at the beach instead of stressing out, but it felt like filler. Of course, over half of the film is basically prolonged to extend the run time. I suppose there could be some charm in seeing the characters all insult each other in a reverse friendship kind of way. Perhaps Bay is going for that as you just enjoy all of the insults, but even that would need better writing. Bad writing holds everything back.

Aside from the opening action sequence, the fight scenes aren’t bad I suppose. They all start to blend together after a while and we don’t really get any prolonged fight though. Most fights end with a few hits. Bumblebee vs Optimus is probably the only really long fight in the movie and that would probably be the best one. The ending was rather anticlimactic though.

This film does have an after credits scene by the way so you should stick around for that. It’s the kind of scene that would be hype in a different series but not for this one. The villain that they’re hyping up is not someone I want to see. I was practically wincing there because I assumed that by grabbing the scepter they had hopefully destroyed this person too. Ah well, at least the cool person who is giving out the intel should be a good villain. Perhaps that is all I can ask for.

Overall, Transformers delivers another blunder. It’s just a bad film that is crammed in with every plot imaginable. The plots could have been good except the writing is terrible. The script is so bad it hurts and the characters are all made out to be villains or unlikable. The romance is as rushed as it ever was since the characters have only known each other for around a day or less. The film can be funny at times but for all the wrong reasons. There’s just no reason to have hope for another film, but they’re going to come out anyway. I like to think that the next film will be better, but it’s hard to even think that at this point. I suppose the films deliver on being mindless action blockbusters where you just try to enjoy the experience and keep it moving, but all of the films feel the same in that regard. They’ll hold your attention but never come close to being a good film. If the next film wants to be better, it should finally make the Autobots heroic, Strengthen the Dinobots a bit so they don’t keep losing, strengthen all of the Transformers so humans aren’t constantly beating them, and make the humans more likable. The films may just be doomed though and your best bet is looking at the original animated series again. At least that one was quality.

Overall 3/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Transformers Review

Nothing beats the original Transformers film and that never changes no matter how many times I see it. It’s easily the definitive robot film and I actually don’t believe that any will ever be able to pass it. Nonstop action and a solid cast of characters keep this classic afloat and after Transformers 4, it was time to relive the good ole days. Get ready for an emotional war as the Autobots and Decepticons have their climatic clash!

The plot starts after most of the TV show events have already occurred. The Decepticons have a huge advantage thanks to the fact that they have already conquered Cybertron and the Autobots seem to be very weakened. The heroes are low on energon and they only have a city on Earth as well as a pair of moons. The Decepticons decide to destroy this resistance once and for all and a climatic battle ensues. Meanwhile, the legendary Unicron is on his way to Cybertron and he’s already conquered several planets. Defeating him is basically out of the question at this point. Can the Autobots even afford to worry about him with all of the Decepticons who are around? Only time will tell!

The film is really fast paced and so many plots develop throughout the course of the film. This is considering that the film isn’t even a full 90 minutes! The first half hour is easily the best part of the film as we witness a big Decepticon invasion and the heroes heroically try to fend them off. It’s emotional and the fight scenes are just intense. The film doesn’t really slow down until we get to the planet of Junk where the film gives the audience a brief rest. After that, it’s time for the climax against the planet eater.

Ironically enough, the climax is one of the least exciting parts. After the first 50-60 minutes of nonstop action and battles between the two sides of Transformers, the final half hour is a little uneventful. We have a water planet, the junk planet, and then a quick battle against Unicron. It’s still solid of course, but nothing beats the first chunk of the film. All of the classic fighters get their chance to show what they’re made of.

Optimus Prime is still the fearless leader of the Autobots and this continuity was easily his best portrayal. Prime means business and he effortlessly takes out quite a few Decepticon warriors. His climatic battle against Megatron is still famous and the battle was very well done. Prime is essentially the perfect main character and he really had no flaws in the film. I doubt we’ll ever see him look quite this good again, but he’s consistently been a solid character across the multiverse anyway. His shotgun/cannon also looks impressive and it’s definitely one of the stronger weapons in the film. He may not have gotten a very large role, but it was definitely a critical one.

Megatron is also an excellent villain. He is a great leader for the Decepticons and his plan is a solid one. Infiltrating Autobot city nearly ended the war in an instant. He took out quite a few Autobots and he seems to have a lot of energon since he was fighting all day. I will admit that I was always surprised with the fact that Megatron begs for his life at one point. I suppose that he doesn’t care what he has to do in order to defeat Optimus Prime, but as Prime said “I thought you were made of sterner stuff.” Megatron is able to get past this thanks to the fact that he’s an awesome villain and the film wouldn’t have been the same without him.

It was good to see Grimlock since I really didn’t like his portrayal in TF 4. This is the Dinobot that I remember and he’s acknowledged as one of the strongest Autobots. There’s a reason why Prime sent the Dinobots to take out Devastator! Few other robots could have been challenged with such a task. Grimlock may not have crushed Devastator, but he did pretty well with the other Dinobots. (The other Dinobots are cool as well and I believe that Slag may have done more damage than Grimlock, but their roles were a lot smaller so I won’t really be talking about them) Grimlock even humors Wheelie for a while and then takes command of a huge army of Sharkticons. That’s what I’m talking about!

Hot Rod is essentially the main character of the film and this is how I became a big fan of the character. He may have gotten a little watered down in the comics that came out after this, but he still looks pretty good in the film. He shoots at the Decepticons upon seeing them and then he embarks on a dangerous journey with the others so that they can mount a counter attack. When he finds out that the Matrix has been stolen, Hot Rod immediately says that they should attack and get it back.

Now, his only sad moment is when Megatron is able to easily overpower him and shoot Prime. It’s a controversial move since it can be said that Prime would have won otherwise. I am confident that Megatron would have still shot him, but maybe it would have only been once instead of several times. It’s definitely a debate, but Hot Rod’s intentions were sound and he really did try to help. It just turns out that his power was feeble compared to Megatron’s and he never stood a chance. He still pulls through when it counts and that’s what ultimately matters. He officially ended the wars and changed history!
Bumblebee gets a very small role in the film and he only gets a line or maybe a few more. His design is definitely interesting and it’s one of the only ones from G1 that didn’t really become mainstream. I will always prefer this version since he can talk to most of the others, but he definitely wasn’t a star in this film. He doesn’t even say thanks at the end when Daniel saves his life. It was still good to see him get a cameo though.

Unicron is the big bad villain of the film and he makes for a solid threat. Instead of talking tough and doing something gritty to call attention to himself, Unicron just destroys the planet in one fell swoop. After that, he sets his sights on Cybertron and it’s a pretty epic journey. He takes out two moons for fun as he gets closer and closer to his goal. His attack on Cybertron is also one of the few times where we actually get to see Shockwave mobilize the troops so that was cool. (Although the Decepticons did not last for very long) Unicron’s decision to transform into robot mode was his big mistake. The enemies quickly took advantage of this and Unicron is essentially defenseless in this form. It’s why I am opposed to villains being too large. It just makes them vulnerable in the end. Ignoring that, he was still a pretty solid opponent for the Autobots and his voice was nice and menacing. Not even Megatron was able to stand up to his tricks.

Galvatron is the new villain who was introduced for the film. He’s not as new as you may think, but that’s another story and you’ll realize this as you watch the film. His arsenal is impressive and taking on Starscream is a pretty good feat. The scene should be pretty cool if you’re a fan of Galvatron or if you’ve just wanted to see this happen to Starscream for a while now. Galvatron talks tough throughout the film and he can back it up with his high amounts of power. You have to respect the fact that he never gives up and keeps on trying to make his plans succeed. He’s just in a very difficult position to make this actually happen. He is a very good villain for the film.

Wheelie is definitely the worst Transformers robot. His voice is definitely tough to understand and you stop trying after a while. The rhymes were a little over the top. I do applaud the fact that the film tried to make the voices unique, but it just didn’t work this time. Wheelie ends up sticking around through the next TV show, but I can’t say that it was a good thing. He doesn’t really bring down the film a whole lot, but he’s still unnecessary.

Wreck Gar is from the Planet Junk and he talks in radio signals mixed in with TV. It’s very hard to understand him and I can’t say that I liked him as a character. It helps that the whole Planet of Junk was a little uneventful and I didn’t like the Piranha world that much either. Wreck Gar just doesn’t really add much to the plot and I’m a little skeptical on how that junk would be so sturdy. He must know something that I do not.

Kup is one of the major players in this film, but he’s never been one of my favorite Autobots. He can fight and he has a lot of experience, but it just wasn’t enough to win me over. He’s not a bad character, but he’s really not the type of guy that I tend to find likable. He’s just too old and he doesn’t fight all that much. He talks a good game, but he typically can’t back it up. Still, he did pretty well when he took out the tank so I give him props for that.

Ultra Magnus is one of the major Autobots and I used to think that he was a powerful fighter based on the name. I’m sure that he’s tough, but there’s nothing to really suggest that he’s tougher than the other Autobots in this film. I’m definitely a fan of his, but the film really tried to show why he wasn’t a terrific leader. He didn’t have time to worry about his comrades and his one on two fight didn’t go over so well. Dropping the Matrix of Leadership was likely his biggest mistake. It would have been great if Ultra Magnus could have went down putting up more of a fight. He may not be the next Prime, but he’s still a likable Autobot.

Daniel is the new human companion to the Autobots, but he isn’t a great character. He means well and he helped the Autobots to become aware of the Decepticon threat, which likely saved many bots. However, he just wasn’t much of an asset to the team and he didn’t figure out how to use his energy gun until the climax of the film. Also, asking the Autobots what happened to Spike during such a dangerous situation was a little on the dicey side and he even broke the great air board from the intro of the film. He’s still a step up from the protagonist of the Transformers Trilogy.

Spike was one of the main characters from the TV show, but he doesn’t get a huge role in the movie. He decides to leave Unicron a little present in the form of a bomb, but he took too long admiring his craftsmanship to make enough time to escape. I can’t say that he was very likable, but he wasn’t a bad character either. He was just pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and he definitely panicked a lot when Daniel hesitated to save his life. I suppose that it was understandable though….

Arcee doesn’t look very good in this film and it was before the big social wave that helped to make female characters much stronger in today’s media. This is before Arcee became the pro fighter that we see in Transformers Prime. She helps Daniel out through the tough times, but she never gets a chance to fight back. I would have liked to see her fight some Decepticons and the closest that she comes to this is when she breaks one of the tires on an enemy car when the Junk bots attack. So, she definitely couldn’t look as good as the other Transformers without any fight scenes, but she was all right I suppose. Definitely needed some action though.

Starscream really steals the show for the Decepticons. He’s the one Decepticon in the film that I prefer to Megatron. His shreeky voice is iconic at this point and some would even say that it is more memorable than Prime’s or Megatron’s. That may go a little far, but it’s definitely one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Transformers. This is Starscream as he was meant to be portrayed and the fact that he directly insults Megatron instead of beating around the bush is intense. “How do you feel mighty Megatron!” as Starscream kicks him while he’s down. His lines to Megatron as he throws him out of the starship are great as well and he even got to wear a crown. It’s hard to find any character that’s as good as Starscream.

Soundwave gets a pretty small role in the film, but he is the only Decepticon to show any loyalty to Megatron. He may not have stopped the others from throwing him off of the ship, but he did save him from the being left at the Autobot base. Soundwave’s definitely one of the more useful Decepticons and I’ve always liked him as a character. Letting the constructicons know who was superior was definitely a nice line as well.

The film’s soundtrack is dynamite and just about all of the songs are catchy. The only one that I didn’t care for played during the planet of Junk as they all held hands and danced around. It really wasn’t my type of film and I definitely could have gone without it. Aside from that, it’s hard to even know where to begin. It really makes you feel like you’re watching a theatrical film. The music is loud and it’s energetic. You really get into the fight scenes and they’re well played. The main Transformers theme is easily my favorite tune and I’ve listened to it many times. It ends up making the opening credits really exciting and you know that you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

The animation is also excellent. This film came out in the 80’s and yet, it looks so much better than some 2014 shows like Pac Man and Teen Titans Go. (Still airing in 2014 anyway) This film always helps to reinforce the fact that animation has been on the decline in America. We need to get away from Flash and CGI so that we can go back to traditional hand drawn shows/films. I’ve viewed this film on dvd many times and it’s finally starting to show some wear and tear. The final 20-30 minutes saw a drop in quality, but it wasn’t the film, just the disk. This film definitely deserves the blu ray treatment and then more people can see the epicness from which Transformers was born. The animation definitely holds up very well to this day and I can say with confidence that it is timeless.
Overall, this is not just the definitive Transformers film, but it is the best robot film out there. The cast of characters is excellent and the soundtrack is top notch. The animation pulls no punches and there is action throughout the film. The fight scenes are very well done and the robots focus on winning instead of tearing each other to shreds for a while. This results in accurate shots that take the robot down in an instant. There were only a few characters that I didn’t really care for and things slowed down towards the end, but that’s not a major concern. I highly recommend this film to Transformers fans and to anyone that wants to relive the good ole theater experience. The film is nearly perfect and I doubt that it shall ever be surpassed by another Transformers film. I recommend watching this one whenever you are about to watch the Michael Bay version.

Overall 9/10