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The Transformers series is a group of now five films based off of a show (albeit very loosely), which was based off of a popular toy line. It’s marketing at its finest. Back in 2007 Transformers was released by Michael Bay. It wasn’t a good film, at all really, but it was fun. You had robots fighting each other in big action scenes, which to be fair hadn’t really been done in such a way before. It was light on story and featured some truly terrible characters, but the action was what we were there for and it was at least delivered. And then we got the sequels, all of which managed to make the mediocre at best first one look like a masterpiece in comparison. With that track record, what do you think I’m going to say about this fifth one?
The story is the exact same as the last one; which was the exact same as the one before it. And the one before that. And even the first one! There’s something transformers-y on planet Earth, that has been hidden in plain sight yet miraculously nobody has noticed it before. But now that it has been just very randomly discovered every transformer, good and evil, wants it. And the military want to stop them getting it. And we have a human hero who this film focuses on. Things go boom and we have our film.
I have tried, honestly I have, but I can’t think of anything redeemable in this film. Not one scene. Not even a single shot. Michael Bay seems adamant to remind us why we hate his work. Every shot that doesn’t involve action is so lazily shot that it’s outright ugly to look at. And shots that do involve action are so bland and dull coloured, and edited together so poorly that it actually feels pretty insulting. These action scenes, because of how horribly shot and edited they are, clearly feature no choreography. There is no tension. There is mind-blowing action moment. I can just feel Bay saying “Okay, Mark, I want you to slide along the floor. Good, that shot’s done. Now for this next shot I want you to shoot in the air.” No stunt, no matter how big or small, doesn’t connect to the following one. There isn’t any flow to the action and it’s fooling no-one.
Then we have the typical Bay humour and effects. By which I mean no joke lands and everything was done in a computer. Most jokes had me groaning on the inside, and the worst ones on the outside too. The effects this time around are garbage! I’m no longer fooled into thinking they are really there anymore. There’s a silver goo swimming on Mark Wahlberg’s skin, and it looks like a PlayStation 2 graphic. Worse was in the climax, where this broken planet was carving up Earth. When it pulled up mountains of grass it reminded me of the graphics used for the rolling hills of the Teletubbies. This is all criticism that I could apply to any of the Transformers sequels, particularly the last film Age of Extinction. That fourth film being one of the most insufferable blockbusters I’ve ever had to sit through. But at least that film had Kelsey Grammar as the villain!
Speaking of the acting, what are these people doing here? Mark Wahlberg plays as Mark Wahlberg. I don’t even remember his character’s name, his motivations, his tropes. I remember nothing about him other than his actor. That is our lead, the one we follow throughout the film.
We have that girl from the trailer, that young patriotic and heroic girl, who claims to want to fight but actually does nothing throughout the whole runtime. There’s Laura Haddock as a woman scientist. She’s supposedly integral to the plot (pretending that there is one), but Bay does his usual and makes her the object for young teenage boys to drool over. At least she isn’t of questionable age like last time, but it is beyond insulting to see. And then we have Anthony Hopkins. Oh, this one hurt. To see such a great and influential actor fall so low as to speak this drivel. I really hope he gets enough money to pay for a new house for this one. At least, I assume the pay was his reason.
It was such a torture to watch this film. But what was worse was that nothing was learned. Not just from the characters, but from the makers. Bay has made the same film again, but somehow even worse. Yet again! So not only was it self-indulgent, it was self-congratulatory and entirely predictable. So predictable in fact that when the climax finally came I was so sure that I knew what was going to happen and how it would end. And I was right! It ended how I thought it would! Just like the other four! Optimus and the autobots saving the day, the threat destroyed, the evil plot foiled. Prime gives off his inspirational speech and a surviving villain twiddles their moustache in the shadows saying, “I’ll get you next time, Prime.”
I could go on and on about how much I hated every minute of this monstrosity. I didn’t think we could go lower than Age of Extinction. Evidently, I was wrong. It’s exceedingly rare that not a single moment could be considered good in a film. It’s long, boring, insulting and outright awful. It makes the first Transformers look like a work of blissful art by comparison. Don’t see it. Don’t line Bay’s pockets with it. If anything, think of the critics who have to see all these films when they’re released. I’ve been done with this series for a long time now, and will continue to feel that way.