Review: Transformers: The last Knight

Let’s not mention that after credit scene…

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Transformers films used to entertaining spectacles about alien robots hidden on Earth. They were never great films but they were great cinematic experiences. One thing they all shared though was some semblance of coherence. A story that, although way out there, kind of made sense. This one is a mess. A lazy, nonsensical mess.

I have to open by saying that the start of the film was surprisingly impressive. As the stars of the Paramount Logo took their positions, fiery projectiles flew overhead. The camera pivoted and we watched them come crashing down into Saxon soldiers in Medieval England during a huge battle. Being a Michael Bay picture there was obviously liberal use of pyrotechnics but it set the tone for a potentially thrilling experience. Sadly it only lasted until the first line of dialogue, perhaps a whole 90 seconds in, and I began to realise that the next two and a half hours of my life were going to be one narrative car crash after another.

There are so many issues on so many levels that it is difficult to know where to begin. For instance when showing Mark Wahlberg around his castle in England, Anthony Hopkins mentions that ‘this is the watch that killed Hitler’. There is no explanation and it is never mentioned again after that moment. Shortly after there is a needless and entirely unrelated Nazi cutscene that added nothing that couldn’t be said with words and I’m convinced was just used as padding for the budget. The $217 million production budget.

Another baffling Hopkins moment was when he was refused entry into 10 Downing Street, attempting to meet the Prime Minister. Upon this refusal he simply said that he’ll use the other entrance then, the secret one, which naturally comes out into the exact room he needs to be with the exact person he needs to see. Once inside he sits down and waits to be noticed, as if the alien planet on a crash course with Earth will just pause until he is ready to continue.

As that alien planet, Cybertron, reaches Earth, we see its anchors run along the surface of the Moon with one destroying the Lunar Landing area. Something which bothered me was how the American flag wasn’t bleached white from the Sun’s. This was probably for two reasons. Firstly, the Transformers films are all about American patriotism, the American Military and the strength of the American people. The second, and most important reason, is that Michael Bay and his crew just don’t care. They know that no matter how insultingly poor the film is, people will still flock to it.

In preparation for this film, it seems that Bay was presented with five or six different scripts. Instead of choosing just one, he picked the opening of one, a few pages from another, and so on before telling the writers to make the ending work. There are twelve knight Transformers who are supposedly among the greatest of their kind but barely get seen. They merge together to form a quite impressive looking three-headed dragon but when one gets killed later on they someone still manage to make the same three-headed dragon. Another transformer we meet has a gun that can slow down time within a certain range of where it is shot. Again we have no explanation of how or where it is from and no other character human or robot is even interested.

Michael Bay has always faced criticism for his films, but retorts that he makes them for teenagers. But do teenagers care about King Arthur anymore? Or about Suicide Squad knock-off character introductions? Or Stonehenge? Or even Transformers?

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2017 Film Challenge – June

Effin’ A, Cotton, Effin’ A!

Here we are, half way through the year. 6 months have passed in a flash. This has been a productive month with me moving house, starting another job and getting an invitation to a preview screening of an upcoming major release plus an interview with the leading actor/writer! Watch this space for more on this, as a hint for the film it was a smash it at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. This month I watched 13 movies bringing us to a grand total of 155. This is 30 above our needed pace so I’m confident this can easily be reached. Here are the films I saw, and my opinions of them (reviews are linked).

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  • The Big Lebowski x2 – What can I say? Whenever I’m stuck for ideas on what to watch, this is my fallback choice. A masterpiece
  • Horrible Bosses – From a masterpiece to, well, the absolute opposite. An unfunny, unoriginal and lazy film. I cannot recommend this less.
  • The Pianist – A harrowing war-time picture about Polish Jews in Warsaw during World War 2. Uncomfortable to watch at times and with scenes that will stay with you for a while.
  • Project X – This is less of a movie more of a music video to the soundtrack. If you’re not into house music or house parties, this one isn’t for you.
  • Interstellar – Perhaps my favourite film of all time, a science fiction film like no other. Thought provoking and visually stunning, a must watch for an Sci-Fi or Nolan fan.
  • The Red Turtle – An enchanting tale of a man shipwrecked on an island. Purely visual, wholly entertaining. Another beautiful film by Studio Ghibli.
  • Rush Hour – The buddy cop sub-genre is massively oversaturated but the electric chemistry between Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan makes this one of the better examples.
  • War Dogs – Another average Rise/Fall film that gets pumped out seemingly every month by one studio of another. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill are the saving graces here making it worth a watch if you are a fan of either.
  • Dodgeball – Incredibly silly and over the top but never feels like too much. Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are both great in their roles. A hilarious sports comedy.
  • Secret Life of Walter Mitty – In my opinion this is Ben Stiller’s best directorial effort. An ambitious, spectacle of a film, it achieves everything it sets out to do.
  • Reservoir Dogs – A phenomenal debut film by Tarrentino. Unrelenting in its violence, snappy in its dialogue and surprising in its intellectual depth.
  • My Life as a Courgette – A charming stop motion film about a group of kids living in a children’s home. It features a beautiful soundtrack, adorable characters and with a very short 71 minute run time, there is no excuse not to see it.

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Best Films of the Month:

  1. Interstellar
  2. My Life as a Courgette
  3. The Big Lebowski
  4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  5. Reservoir Dogs

Most Watched Films:

  1. The Big Lebowski (6)
  2. La La Land (3)
  3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (3)
  4. Dodgeball (2)
  5. War Dogs (2)

The Big Lebowski is starting to pull away now. I’m sure that it’ll achieve double figures by the end of the year, probably being the only film to do it. No other film so far this year has had the same easy viewing vibe but we are only half way through so a lot could happen. La La Land has sadly been stuck at 3 watches for the past few months, I think I exhausted myself. It will get a couple more this year but whether it’ll still be second or even on the top 5 remains to be seen.

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To check out the months you have missed, click one of the following links:

2017 Film Challenge – May

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

May has been a bit of a slow month for movie watching sadly with only 15. We are now up to 142 though so well ahead of the pace needed to reach our target. A few low scoring months are to be expected but as we approach the summer I am sure we will jump greatly. In this post I will include a mini-review or comment about each film as I think a simple list is not as engaging as it could be.

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Films Watched

  • Superbad (2007) – A cult classic featuring one of the earlier performances of Jonah Hill. Packed with awkward moments and laughs and more emotional depth than you would expect.
  • 12 Angry Men (1957) – This film is sublime from beginning to end. A must watch for any cinophile. An extended review can be found here.
  • Ice Age (2002) – I watched this film to relive those childhood memories and I was left disappointed. While certainly a feat of animation in 2002, it just didn’t hold up well, nor was there much depth to the narrative.
  • Wedding Crashers (2005) – The duo of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are my biggest guilty pleasures. The charisma each possesses makes every film they feature in worthy of watching. Wedding Crashers also includes great performances by Christopher Walken and a fledgling Bradley Cooper.
  • The Handmaiden (2016) – The best cinematic experience I have had in years. Sumptuously erotic and gripping from the first moment to the last. If you watch one film from this list make it this. To read a full review of this film click here!
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) – There is not much to be said about this one. Part of my yearly Harry Potter rewatch. There is a definite improvement in this film after Goblet of Fire but the series follows an overall downward trajectory after Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • The Hangover (2009) – Another guilty pleasure of mine is The Hangover series. On paper this should be a truly awful film but the great cast and jokes make it very entertaining.
  • Robots (2005) – This is one of my favourite childhood animated film that did not fair well at all with critics. It had a unique style of animation which is seen best during the Domino scene (see here). A thoroughly enjoyable film which I heartily recommend.
  • Airplane! (1980) – This is a film I have been putting off for too long for fear I would not enjoy it as much as I hoped. After taking the plunge I can say it was hilarious. Silly, but hilarious. Will definitely be rewatching this again and eventually reviewing it.
  • Spy Kids (2001) – Taking a train back to nostalgia town once again with Spy Kids. It is somehow even weirder than I imagined but still holds up with the practical and special effects not looking too bad given the age of the film.
  • The Big Lebowski (1998) x2 – This is in my top 3 films of all time and for good reason. Incredibly quotable, relentlessly funny and with great performances by John Goodman and Jeff Bridges. A review of this film will eventually be done so watch this space!
  • The Lego Batman Movie (2017) – Whilst undoubtably an entertaining film it couldn’t achieve the same as its predecessor. There are many great jokes at the expense of other superhero films but ultimately the hectic nature caused its downfall. Read my full review of it here!
  • Hancock (2008) – In the modern euro of superhero films Hancock stands out as one of the best. A brilliant take on immortality and the negative issues that it creates. The special effects still look great as well considering how far they have come in the past decade.
  • In the Loop (2009) As a big fan of the tv show ‘The Thick of It’ that this film is an extension of, I had high expectations. Unfortunately those expectations were not met. This is by no means a bad film, it just felt strained and some of the actors (who in the TV show are fantastic) produced lifeless performances.

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Best Films of the Month:

  1. The Big Lebowski
  2. The Handmaiden
  3. 12 Angry Men
  4. Superbad
  5. Wedding Crashers

At some point, perhaps towards the new year, I will compile a list of my top 50, or 100 films. When I do, all of these will feature with each brilliant in their own right. The first three are simply works of art, every frame struck me as beautiful. The other two are just hilarious, continuously so.

Most Watched Films:

  1. The Big Lebowski (4)
  2. La La Land (3)
  3. Superbad (2)
  4. The Nice Guys (2)
  5. The Other Guys (2)

We now have a new leader in the form of ‘The Big Lebowski’. This is hardly surprising due to the incredible rewatchability of the film and I’m sure that by the end of the year it will have reached double figures, probably the only film to do so. Some films, like ‘The Handmaiden’ will be watched many more times, although there will be quite a wait for them to become available. All five of the films above are fantastic and are suitable for chill night in.

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To check out the months you have missed, click one of the following links: