<i>Transformers</i> Series Should Learn to Transform (and Trim)

Susan Ellingburg

Too long and too confusing. But on the plus side, there's plenty of action, plucky characters, and the fate of the world hanging in the balance. You don't have to be familiar with the Transformers story or a fan of knights in shining armor to enjoy this installment in the saga... but it'd sure help. 2.5 out of 5.
 

SEE ALSO: Gratuitous Action Lives on in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Synopsis

Once again, the world is at war. It's Transformers vs. humans and it looks like the humans are winning. If only they understood their shared history, which stretches back into the Middle Ages, and is the only thing standing between Earth and destruction. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime has gone off to meet his maker (literally). When disaster looms, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) will have to join forces with an odd Englishman (Anthony Hopkins) and a beautiful Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to protect the planet. If that doesn’t make sense, well, neither does the movie. Leave your hopes for a coherent story at the theater door and just go with it.
 

What Works?

The casting: Wahlberg does the scruffy, unlikely hero thing with his usual flair. Isabela Moner charms as feisty young Izabella. Haddock has a definite air of "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" about her, and nobody mixes gravitas and goofiness like Hopkins. Bonus: casting Downton Abbey's Jim Carter as cyber-butler Cogman was inspired.
 

SEE ALSO: Storytelling Stays Light in Transformers 3

What Doesn't?

The plot goes off in such random directions that the "Synopsis" portion of this review took longer to write than the rest of it combined. This story defies explanation. It's a mishmash of magic, technology, overdone CGI and too many characters trying to fight their way onto the screen. All that confusion is probably why The Last Knight is two-and-a-half hours long, at least 45 minutes longer than it needed to be. As the story takes one random turn after another it's hard not to wonder, "Is this thing ever going to be over?" Apparently not; the ending was an obvious set up for a(nother) sequel.
 

Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes

There are a few things that may sound familiar to Christian viewers, such as references to "signs of the apocalypse" and the assertion that "without sacrifice there is no victory." One character has overtones of Satan as a self-proclaimed "god" who is later denounced as "the Great Deceiver."

SEE ALSO: Transformers Sequel Lacks Any Real Human Connection

But the overarching theme, such as it is, is that every sentient being is on a journey toward a single decisive make-or-break moment in their lives. However, since (capital G) God is not acknowledged and humans are not identified as having a Maker (but transformers have one?), how does that work, exactly? As with virtually everything in this story, it's unclear.
 

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)


The Bottom Line

RECOMMENDED FOR: Transformers fans and other viewers who don't care if movies don't make sense as long as there's action and eye candy.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Sci-fi haters and logical types who prefer comprehensible stories.

Transformers: The Last Knight, directed by Michael Bay, opened in theaters June 21, 2017; available for home viewing September 26, 2017. It runs 149 minutes and stars Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Anthony Hopkins, Peter Cullen, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Stanley Tucci, John Goodman, Ken Wantanabe and Jim Carter. Watch the trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight here.
 

Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).

Publication date: June 21, 2017

Image courtesy: ©Paramount

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