Transformers: The Last Knight Recap

Jamie

Cade Yeager is back, Jack! A final showdown is afoot between Earth and the Transformers planet Cybertron. An ancient staff is the key to either Earth’s destruction or salvation. Can Cade obtain this staff and stop Earth’s demise before it’s too late? Find out in… Transformers: The Last Knight.

How?! I fear that I may have waited too long to write this up and now won’t be able to make heads or tails of the terribly convoluted plot that is the hallmark of all Transformers films. Here it goes: five years after the last movie Transformers are hunted by the US government. Despite this many more arrive from space each day. Why? Turns out that their home planet Cybertron is all kinds of fucked up. The creators that dwell there are angry so they brainwash Optimus and send him in search of a magic MacGuffin… er… staff that will bring life back to their planet. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yeager is a Transformer sympathizer hiding out as a fugitive. He finds a powerful talisman in the ruins of Chicago which results in both the US government and Megatron trying to track him down. Cade manages to escape with the help of a British robot who knows that he’s part of a larger prophecy for the final showdown with Cybertron. They team up with a British historian who tracks the magic MacGuffin staff to a submarine, which turns out to be a Transformer, that takes them to an ancient underwater spaceship (you following this? No? Good). Inside they find the staff, but it’s stolen by Optimus, who is temporarily a bad guy. Optimus then has the staff stolen by Megatron and turns back into a good guy (this is real). All our friends and foes head to Stonehenge where Cybertron is using the staff to suck the core out of the Earth. Cade and the historian head up to Cybertron and a bunch of shit happens. People are screaming “Physics!” and “Science!” at the screen and then Cybertron is stopped by our friends. In the end Optimus says that humans and Transformers have to learn to work together… they obviously will not because he says this at the end of every film and no one listens. THE END.

Why?! Did you just read that? It’s impossibly stupid. If you insist on diving into the motivations of Cade it’s mostly about protecting his daughter. He knows that the Transformers are good and the only thing that can save the Earth. If he doesn’t help them the US government will destroy them and doom the Earth. As for the adversaries, they are led by Quintessa, a robot god creator. She is angry at the destruction of her planet Cybertron and plans to use the power within Earth (actually a giant Transformer called Unicron) to rebuild. Gonna sap on that sweet, sweet molten core a la Independence Day 2.

What?! May as well make the MacGuffin Alert a permanent fixture in the Transformers franchise. This is particularly true in The Last Knight which revolves around the recovery of the powerful staff. Hits every possible box of a stereotypical MacGuffin. As for product placement, they really toned it down in this entry. We get a nice shot of Cade drinking a refreshing Bud Light, but that’s about it.

Who?! Jerrod Carmichael is the designated Planchet of this film. He fills the role of comic relief, but is also made fun of constantly and turns out to be more helpful than anyone gives him credit for. Textbook. Also want to point out an uncredited role for Freya, that dog that Michael Bay adopted. Nice touch.

Where?! You can always count on a Transformers film giving you some sweet locations provided by intertitles. In this case I would say the primary setting is England, with a secondary in South Dakota (!). There are also some scenes set in the deserts of Namibia which would be fantastic for a World Mapl.de.map. Overall this is an A-, given the importance of Stonehenge to the climactic battle.

When?! We get a brief glimpse of a universal time clock at CalTech in the beginning of the film that places the start on the 309th day of the year: November 5th. This doesn’t jive super well with everyone prancing about in t-shirts in South Dakota, Chicago, and England, but the UTC clock don’t lie. We can presume this takes place in present day I guess… but that’s pretty hard when every film says it’s been five years since the events of the last film. Would seem like we would have gotten to at least 2022 by this point. But who knows. B.

This movie is truly terrible. I hope they make a sixth one. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You’re Michael Bay, and you promised the world you wouldn’t direct another Transformers film. But promises are meant to be broken, right? I mean … that’s the saying, right? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – This movie is a wasteland. The only good thing is that I’ve now learned there is a Submarine Museum in London. Which, yes, I will be going to at some point in the near future. Thanks Transformers 5! Let’s do a Remake. As a matter of fact, let’s do a remake of the entire “second trilogy” of the Transformers franchise. I think an interesting idea would have been to jump forward in time to after a catastrophic war between the Autobots and Decepticons has devastated humanity (something they explored in this movie to an extent). Introduce the new character (the person Wahlberg was kind of meant to be) as a genius human inventor who could be the edge in the battle between the two sides. Combining the heart and ingenuity of Cade Yeager with the driven leadership of Optimus Prime, can the Autobots turn the tide of war and bring peace to Earth? Come see in … The Transformers Warzone Trilogy.

The Bad (Sklognalysis) – This movie straight up makes no sense. Like, the storyline is so muddled that at times you have to just throw your hands up in the air and be like “whatever, I guess show me some explosions?” They also have way too many characters who are just really bad comic relief. From the kids in the beginning (who are promptly forgotten about) to the grating Cogman (voiced by Jim Carter), none of it works. I’m also glad they are shedding Cade in future installments. The idea of him being an “inventor” doesn’t really work in the context of the film they are trying to make. And don’t get me started with the whole Deus Ex John Turturro they tried to throw into the mix as he used his single day of shooting to lob exposition at the protagonists from Cuba. Uuuuuugh. For the Sklognalysis I feel like I want to just mull on Michael Bay a bit here. Bay must have some motivation for what he does. I recall watching documentaries about The Island and the original Transformers and his claim to fame at the time was attaching cameras to very nice (and fast) cars and shooting crashes and explosions and chases in intense adrenaline-fueled intimacy. He still does this … but why does it feel like that it all he cares about? He’s an odd duck when you think of his pet project Pain and Gain from a few years ago. This is the first time I looked at Transformers and thought “this franchise is irredeemable, they have to start completely over”. It makes me sad, but it also makes sense that they should just part ways and never look back.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think Transformers as a series will ultimately hold a strong position as one of the worst franchises we’ve watched. The films are so incoherent. Maybe something like Resident Evil could take the crown, but for some reason I think Transformers, having an original film I actually liked, has an interesting transformation (ha!) across BMT. For StreetCreditReport.com we finally have a fully mature set of lists to consider. I am genuinely shocked to see the A.V. Club lacking delicious Transformer bashing in their list. Luckily Rolling Stone had it as their number one. I would actually say, without seeing Emoji Movie yet, that Fifty Shades Darker and Transformers: The Last Knight are shockingly close together as far as what I think are the worst films of the year. Usually we hate some random film a little more (like Mechanic: Resurrection), but this year the big boys really came to play.

We had the possibility to look at bringing number 2 and 3 into the fold this time around … but they felt like a different series. I didn’t even bother to re-watch the fourth one either. So no homework.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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