Thursday, June 22, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight - Movie Review

By: Hamza Shafique

I have a confession to make, “I don’t like Transformers franchise”. It’s too CGI heavy for my taste, even the design of these giant machine is messy and has lot going on for me to register. Conversations between humans and transformers don’t help bring the right seriousness to the screen.  Plot is also very confusing and sometimes doesn’t make sense. But first one I saw in Pakistan during my university time and I still remember the cinema hall clapped when the movie finished, second one I saw in USA in my mid-twenties and audience again clapped when the movie finished, now I am 32 and still Transformers5 got applause from the Audience in UAE. So now after watching people in three different countries having the same reaction to the franchise, I have started to believe that there is something wrong with me. So, for this one I will try not to review it from my perspective.

Transformers: The Last Knight is simply exaggerated version of the previous installments. I haven’t seen fourth installment so having Mark Wahlberg was the only new element in this one for me but for those who have already seen 4th I believe there is nothing new. All the elements like, mind boggling CGI, a Victoria Secret model sort female lead, some weird scientist stuff, some over the top Military operation, some irrelevant comedy, giant slaying robots and an ancient monument (Stonehenge in this case), all are there.   
Storyline is very simple and continues from the previous installment, Humans no longer trust and are at war with the Transformers. Optimus Prime is gone and in his absence, there is no leadership. Reborn Megatron reappears and this time has plans to destroy Earth to save Cybertron (his planet). The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth, which includes King Arthur, his round table and three headed fire breathing flying steel dragon (yeah I know last time it was T-Rex, as I said earlier every element is exaggerated). And in between all this we have Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) along with their Autobots to save the world. Screen play is flawed but is so fast paced that it doesn’t give audience any time to register any flaws. Despite of the fast pace of the plot, movie is still very long and Film makers had all the room to shorten it (I don’t want to get into spoilers otherwise I would have listed few of the scenes here). Personally, by the end I was so confused with the storyline, that I decided just to focus on the CGI heavy action climax sequence. Even there I got confused, whether who is fighting with whom as there were just so many entities involved like TRF, AutoBots, Decepticons, Hypnotized Optimus Prime, Ancient transformers Knights etc. Still its not that bad as I have seen worse.
Such movies live mostly on the CGIs, action sequences and other production elements that very little scope is left for actors to shine. Here is no difference, everyone has done a decent job and blends well with the whole extravaganza. Anthony Hopkins though stands out; his screen presence and accurate portrayal of an English lord is a delight to watch.
This film is an overall mixture of good and messy action sequences. Some of them are so right and create an exciting IMAX experience. Overall climax action sequence is divine especially the part where Bumblebee and Optimus prime fight, it was like Captain America vs Iron Man moment for me. Opening medieval war sequence was good too. But on the other hand, autoboot and decepticon mid film showdown was ordinary and felt sort of unnecessary. Similarly humor in this movie is also a mixture of funny and annoying moments. As I said this movie could have been a lot more shorter and crisp.
One thing that I found commendable is Michael Bay’s command over such a loud and heavy movie. This  movie starts at a very high note with larger than life opening war sequence and for next 149 minutes’ stays at the same high note. Michael seem to have full control for these 149 minutes and the craft of film making is at its finest. Me on the other hand was struggling to grasp what was happening on the large IMAX screen as this movie is so rich in visual and on screen CGI loaded content.
This is a summer formula and if you are a fan of the franchise than you might not be disappointed, I go with 2 stars.
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I would like to thank Novo Cinema for always inviting me to their awesome premiers. Transformer premier was well planned as well. To maximize your experience, I will suggest you to head to Novo Cinemas Ibn Batutah and watch it in IMAX.

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