Transformers: The Last Knight Preview

There were a number of high profile candidates for BMT Live! this year, but as with any crowded BMT field we couldn’t get to all of them. One obvious candidate that missed out on that prime spot was the 5th in a major SciFi blockbuster series. That’s right! We’re finally watching Transformers: The Last Knight! The second in the Cade Yeager (actual name from the film) set of Transformers films. This one didn’t garner any better reviews than most of the entries in the series. Not surprising since they seem to unapologetically produce big screen gobbledegook in the hopes that everyone is so confused that they shrug their shoulders and say “Good for what is it.” But as Mother Teresa once said, “you can’t polish a turd,” so let’s just see how shiny they made this thing. Let’s go!

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – BMeTric: 60.5

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(While the vote count is a classic (I do love it when you have enough data points to see the almost perfect asymptotic approach that occurs with a limit, i.e. theatrical release) the rating is somewhat abnormal. Usually a low rating will rise as more people see a film. Here it has fallen slightly. Maybe because in VOD more people who aren’t big fans will see it? I would expect it to rise a bit over the next few years though. It is just the nature of the game.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Here’s where the chorus of Critic-Proof Franchises kicks in. Michael Bay made this for fans of the franchise and not the notoriously-hard-on-it critics. Diehards will ignore that I liked the first film and parts of the third and fourth films (the second is still a cinematic abomination). I get it. We love to forgive the failures of franchises we adore. Even critics do that. But even fans of this series have to take a hard look at the outright, shocking laziness of this movie—one that does the bare minimum to get butts in seats.

(Yup. I’ve been convinced that the Transformers producers have been bringing Bay back to try and get one thing: movie critics to just say “it’s good for what it is!” and then waltz to the bank for that cool billion dollar payday. Fast and the Furious does it, why can’t this? Mainly it is because the charisma of Vin Diesel and The Rock keep that franchise from seeming lazy. I do think Bay is gone from the series now and I don’t think they’ll ever reach that F&F place. Too bad for them.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgnO5fO46pE

(That song is a big old pile of shit. The movie seems entertaining if you kind of pretend this is the first or second in the series. The issue is they keep on revising when and how the transformers got here. First they followed the Allspark to Earth. Oh wait no there was The Fallen way long ago. Oh wait, they were at the moon landing. Oh wait, they were around with the dinosaurs. Oh wait, they’ve been in literally every war in human history. To hard to keep straight at this point. Should have jumped forward to after the war has torn Earth apart in the third movie and ignored the mythology crap at that point.)

Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: 13 Hours; Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Armageddon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominated for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Notes: Director Hall of Famer I would guess. I’ve seen nearly all of his movies, but we have to BMTize them at some point. Bad Boys II is actually an interesting one, because people online love it for some reason. It is, in fact, a giant load of shit.)

Writers – Art Marcum  and Matt Holloway (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Iron Man; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Punisher: War Zone; Notes: Already tabbed to write the next two (ugh) Transformers films. Wrote a script for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot which was never used.)

Ken Nolan (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Only the Brave; Black Hawk Down; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Bother of actor Matt Nolan who has kind of bumped around doing small film parts and minor television roles, although in big projects like 24. He is one of those guys who has been in Hollywood as a full time scriptwriter for over 20 years with only a few movies produced. His first spec, In Contempt, for example, was sold for over a million dollars, but never produced. He has multiple major unproduced scripts floating about Hollywood at this point.)

Akiva Goldsman (story by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: We mentioned him in the Rings preview obviously. He is a gigantic screenwriter, although now a producer as well. He’s executive producing the new Star Trek series for example.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: The Departed; Boogie Nights; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; Deepwater Horizon; Shooter; Patriots Day; Ted 2; 2 Guns; The Other Guys; Ted; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Pain & Gain; Invincible; The Fighter; Date Night; The Perfect Storm; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: Max Payne; The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; Notes: Basically a Hall of Famer solely from The Happening where his performance is off the chain. We have a million to go with him … brother of Donnie Wahlberg and co-owner of the Wahlberger franchise.)

Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Thor; Thor: The Dark World; The Silence of the Lambs; Dracula; Noah; Legends of the Fall; Meet Joe Black; Fracture; Howards End; Red Dragon; The Elephant Man; Beowulf; Chaplin; Mission: Impossible II; The Mask of Zorro; RED 2; The Lion in Winter; A Bridge Too Far; Future BMT: Alexander; Freejack; Bad Company; Misconduct; The Wolfman; Slipstream; The Rite; Desperate Hours; Collide; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; Surviving Picasso; Hannibal; The Innocent; The Trial; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; A Change of Seasons; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; Notes: Obviously a giant star as well. Notably won the Oscar for Best Actor in Silence of the Lambs, a movie he appeared in for approximately 15 minutes total.)

Josh Duhamel – (Known For: Transformers; You’re Not You; Ramona and Beezus; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Wrecked; Future BMT: Paradise Lost; The Romantics; Misconduct; Fire with Fire; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; CHIPS; The Institute; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Life as We Know It; Don Peyote; Lost in the Sun; This Is Your Death; Strings; BMT: Movie 43; Transformers: The Last Knight; When in Rome; New Year’s Eve; Safe Haven; Notes: I’m a big Duhamel-head after Safe Haven. Interesting like. Born in North Dakota he was a construction worker at 26 and ended up kind of falling into modelling. Ultimately that lead to acting when he was specifically asked to audition for The Picture of Dorian Grey.)

Budget/Gross – $217–260 million / Domestic: $130,168,683 (Worldwide: $605,425,157)

(Reasonably. It isn’t blowing people away anymore though. They kind of want / expect / need this to be a billion dollar franchise. But a few hundred million is also nothing to sneeze at all said and done. I assume they will complete the second trilogy. We’ll see what happens then.)

#28 for the CGI Star genre

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(You might wonder what happened in 2010 to make this so highly profitable. It was Avatar. This movie is actually quite low, around the Ang Lee Hulk film as far as domestic gross. Saved by Chine it would seem. There were also 6 films with a CGI star this year! That’s ridiculous.)

#12 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Three this year and this guy comes in just after I, Robot which is pretty bad. The plot is pretty uninteresting though. Films about robots have been popular from around 2005 it would seem … basically when the original Transformers came out.)

#16 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(Peaked around 2012 when The Avengers came out. This is below Chicken Little! The more I read the more I realize that domestically this was an incredible bomb! Anyways, the genre is kind of waning a bit, at least the per theater take is.)

#12 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

transformers5_basedoncartoons

(Transformers has kind of fueled the genre a bit, but Alvin and the Chipmunks is also obviously pretty dominant as well. Right behind The Flintstones … my God.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (31/202): Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.

(Cacophonous. Cacophonous … I’m liking the sound of that in a way. Very nice. I want to see some transforming and a plot that make literally no sense. Let’s do it.)

Poster – Sklogformers: The Last Sklog (D+)

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(This poster tells me a story. That story is “your brain will explode as you try to discern what is happening on screen just like your brain is exploding trying to understand what is going on with this mess of a poster.” Why is everything in the world on this poster? At least it has some font action.)

Tagline(s) – For one world to live, the other must die. (A-)

(Nice cadance and use of live-die. Short and sweet and a little hint at the plot. Overall this is pretty good. A fun pun would have gone a long way to hitting that A+.)

Keyword(s) – based on toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Bratz (2007); 75.6 Ouija (II) (2014); 62.1 Max Steel (2016); 60.8 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 60.5 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 53.4 Jem and the Holograms (2015); 44.8 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.9 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009); 40.8 G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);

(Ooooooh yeah. We almost watched Max Steel. We were really close. Ouija is almost obviously the creme de la creme for these guys. Just ridiculous that was made. Even more ridiculous that its sequel ended up being good!)

Notes – With a budget of $217 million dollars, the most expensive Transformers at the time of release. (Until the next one)

The scenes of Sir Edmund Burton visiting 10 Downing Street were filmed at the actual office of the British Prime Minister in October 2016. (This is what happens when you’re Michael Fucking Bay)

Mark Wahlberg announced this will be his last Transformers movie as Cade Yeager. He had signed a contract for three films, with the knowledge that he could be relieved earlier. (But… but… but… I was promised a second trilogy)

Director Michael Bay is a noted dog lover, and he cast Freya, a British dog with epilepsy that many homes had rejected, in the film. (I wanted to say this was an obvious PR plot but apparently it is not. Actual true story. Wow)

Writer Matt Holloway is a fan of the drama Downton Abbey (2010), and jokingly said that Jim Carter (who plays the butler Mr. Carson in the show) should voice Cogman. He was shocked when Michael Bay got Carter signed on as Cogman. (Again, this is just Bay seeing how far he can push his Bay-ness)

Michael Bay said that this will be the last Transformers film he will direct, for the moment. He is open to doing more films in the future, if he gets a good story. (A good story never stopped him before. Ay oh)

After the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), a writers’ room was setup to plan the franchise’s future beyond the main film series. Two of the ideas pitched involved the Arthurian myth and World War II respectively. Michael Bay liked them so much that he decided to incorporate them into the script for this film. (I want an entire television series just about this writer’s room. I’ll call it Michael Bay’s Writers Room)

Shia LaBeouf and Nicola Peltz appeared in this film, although it was only their portraits. (Count it! Shia LaBeouf is in this movie)

While shooting in England, Mark Wahlberg spent time at St. Aidan’s Church incognito, and made donations. No one knew anything until afterwards. Reverend Father Des McGiven said, “It’s great that we had him in for the service, and we appreciate his generosity towards our church.” (I’m not sure how to respond to this obviously pandering imdb trivia note… good for Mark Wahlberg I guess)

This film features the myth of King Arthur. Michael Bay was previously going to direct King Arthur (2004), and had worked on that film for five years, before leaving it, due to budget issues. (Michael Bay gets the budget that he wants. No questions asked).

Michael Bay originally wanted to pass on directing this film, but was persuaded to do one more by Peter Cullen. (So you’re telling me the voice actor who voices Optimus Prime for like 2 days in a sound studio convinced Bay to return… that is just clearly bullshit).

Part of the film was shot at Stonehenge. Michael Bay requested to shoot an explosion on the location, but was denied, so he had a set of Stonehenge constructed to shoot the explosion. (Wait, Michael Bay was denied something?! That… that doesn’t make sense. Michael Bay gets what Michael Bay wants and if he wants to blow up Stonehenge then you let him do it)

Peter Cullen, Reno Wilson, and Mark Ryan are the only actors to appear in all five live-action Transformers films, with Cullen as Optimus Prime, Wilson playing Frenzy, Mudflap, Brains, Mohawk, and Sqweeks, and Mark Ryan voicing Bumblebee, Jetfire, a military drone operator, Lockdown, and Bulldog. (This is actually a really good factoid. An impossible trivia question).

The filmmakers admitted that there were production difficulties in this film, which resulted in a lot of material planned and filmed, but which never made it to the film. (Give me those cut scenes and bloopies. I needs them)

Hot Rod’s French accent was Michael Bay’s idea, as he thought it would give Hot Rod a unique character. (Well I hope he’s as racist as the Mexican robots he had in previous installments.)

Ken Nolan wrote the role of Sir Edmund specifically for Sir Anthony Hopkins. (Facts like this are said too often to actually be true. Later we’re going to hear about all the actors that were up for the part of Ken Nolan)

Though this film was successful, grossing over $600 million worldwide, this is the lowest grossing film of the Transformers franchise. (They must have been so disappointed that they immediately greenlighted Transformers 6 for a 2019 release.)

This is the third Transformers film to be outgrossed by a computer animated threequel. This film was outgrossed by Despicable Me 3 (2017). The first was Transformers, (2007) which was outgrossed by Shrek the Third (2007), and the second was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which was outgrossed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009). But while Transformers was $89.7 million behind Shrek the Third and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was $50.4 million behind Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, this film is over $420 million behind Despicable Me 3. (This is a really weird and interesting factoid)

This is the second Transformers installment for Stanley Tucci, who played Merlin. Previously he played Joshua Joyce in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). (Wait… what?!)

The Autobot Topspin from Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) appears in this film, but with a head akin to Leadfoot’s, and a new name, “Volleybot”. (Wait… WHAT?!)

The original cut of the movie supposedly was much longer and roughly a whole hour’s worth of footage was cut for theatrical release. (Yeesssssss, release the Director’s Cut, Bay… do it)

Despite his seeming death during Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), the police car Decepticon Barricade returns, and has apparently survived up to the events of this movie, with a completely new design, including a new vehicle mode. (Ha! I think Bay and the writers eventually realized that no one cares)

The film contains tributes to Transformers Prime (2010): Earth is revealed to be the planet-eating Transformer Unicron.Optimus briefly loses his identity. An ancient breed of Transformer, who can transform into a dragon appears (Predacons, Knights).The final battle is set in the sky, with the Decepticons trying to engage a machine that will destroy the Earth, and the Autobots fighting to stop them. (Wait… is this the actual plot of the film?! WTF!)

The Transformers’ creator is Quintessa is based on the Quintessons from Transformers (1984), but incorporates elements of Solus Prime, a female Transformer god from Transformers Prime (2010). (I like lore like this. It’s part of the issues I have with the series. They really screw with any coherent mythos associated with the series… which is kind of the entire attraction of a franchise)

In the movie, it is mentioned that Fidel Castro allows Transformers to live in peace in Cuba. Since then, Castro died on November 25, 2016, it implies that the movie was filmed before his passing, in the way that there wasn’t time to change his mention. (Ha! You done dated yo film Bay.)

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) is the first film in the live-action series to feature Bumblebees true voice. (For some reason I already knew this)

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