We have been podcasting for 31 shows as of writing this, and for pretty much every show, I have argued my case for Transformers. Whether that be putting them in my Top 5 lists for Film Franchises and also Alien Movies (yep, Transformers is definitely an Alien Movie) or whether that be just garnering my excitement at the impending release of Transformers: The Last Knight.
I have been a huge, huge, HUGE fan of this franchise ever since the first blockbuster hit our screens in 2007, maybe even more than Michael Bay loves a sunset in the distance scene. I have defended it valiantly through the years and taken all criticism with a pinch of salt. For me, this is the film franchise where I can literally step away from the world and indulge in transforming robots destroying each other, whilst they also rack up a hefty bill from the local councils of the cities where the final battle takes place.
Now, I already know what you are saying “It’s just the same plot recycled over and over” well to me it’s still transforming robots led by the impeccable Optimus Prime. I hope you are starting to realise my love for this film franchise, hey I even named my rabbit Optimus when the first film came out. So it was with great excitement that I headed down to the cinema to check out the latest offering and nonetheless the 4DX version for that extra thrill ride.
I can honestly say I have never been so disappointed in a movie in my entire life. Not only did I walk out of the theatre thinking that was the worst film of the franchise, I also walked out of the theatre thinking it was one of the worst films I had seen, period.
I am going to run down this film as best I can without spoiling any of it, on the off chance you may actually put yourself through the torture of 149 minutes of inadequate cinema viewing.
Usually I don’t mind the re-occurring plot, the Autobots and the Decepticons ultimately hunting down an item which could eventually destroy Earth and bring Cybertron back from the brink of destruction. That is the same premise in the 2017 version, where humans are at war against the Transformers, Optimus Prime is gone, Cybertron has been destroyed and the only way to bring it back is to find an artefact that is of course on Earth. What I didn’t appreciate was that it took around an hour of the movie to set this plot up as we got background on new characters and what part they would play in this quest, all of which was dragged out too far. What I also didn’t appreciate was the recycling of old jokes from previous films that were just played through again but with different characters.
Everyone can remember the first film when Sam was caught by his parents with Mikaela in his room and the embarrassment of his mother in the aftermath. This was re-done again with a slightly different twist as Cade (Mark Wahlberg) was caught up at the house with Viviane (Laura Haddock) and her mother and aunt. This happened on too many occasions and it was a real struggle to get a laugh from the audience.
Transformers: Age of Extinction, the previous movie in the franchise, suffered from a brand new human cast and so Michael Bay’s creative idea was to bring back some of his more successful characters in the hope it would get the audiences engaged again. For me, it did the exact opposite. William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) didn’t have his commanding presence as in previous, whilst Seymour Simmons (John Turtorro) was literally pointless and to have him in another country from the action, with his only role to be on the phone to America in an attempt at comedic relief, just shows a lack of creativity from Bay.
Talking about characters, Anthony Hopkins was surely there for a pay day and is starting to typecast as an elderly bumbling professor, similar to what he played in Red 2 but without the twist. Mark Walhberg played his character fine, but that was just it, fine. The character development also didn’t work as he goes from a huge family man in the previous film, to now the most wanted man in the world hiding out with some Transformers and an intern at a disused junk yard.
That’s the humans in a nutshell and so time to discuss the actual Transformers. Well seeing as the film was called Transformers, my question is what happened to their screen time? It would be interesting to time the amount of minutes Optimus Prime takes up as I would envision it to be less than 20. Even the rest of the cast are reduced to bit part players as both Wahlberg and Haddock are thrust to the limelight as the saviours of the world. Even the mighty Grimlock, a lot of peoples favourite fearsome Dinosaur turned robot, is given minimal screen time and again is used in an unnecessary comedy role.
There were a couple of redeeming factors within the movie, most notably the backstory of Bumblebee which is setting us up for the movie of the same name in 2018. The movie, as you would expect, was visually stunning. I also really enjoyed a battle on the sea between……… no no no it’s a non-spoiler review here!!! The battle itself was well executed and especially in the 4DX setting where for a solid 10 minutes there was an epic mist of water sprayed into the theatre to give that extra effect.
However, this does not come close to bringing the movie back up to a respectable level. Not only will this go down as one of the biggest disappointments of 2017, it will surely go down as one of my biggest disappointments of all time and I don’t just mean in movies, that’s how passionate I am about this franchise!
My love for Transformers will still run deep and my only hope is that the standalone Bumblebee movie reinvents the franchise next year. Otherwise, even the most loyal of fans are surely going to be turned off and I don’t know how I feel about living in a cinematic world without the Transformers!!!