Review: Anthony Hopkins partially redeems otherwise interminable Transformers The Last Knight
PUBLISHED: 14:44 23 June 2017
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The battle between the last vestiges of mankind and the Transformers reaches a conclusion in the fifth and final picture in the bombastic franchise, directed by Michael Bay.
Transformers The Last Knight (12A)
The thing about Anthony Hopkins is that he really loves acting. He’ll be 80 this year but still wants to be in anything and everything, to orate against the dying of the light. No doubt he’ll be thesp-shamed for putting out for the fifth Transformers movie but his pleasure in performing partially redeems a series of films that are generally worthless enterprises.
It isn’t all down to him, but Last Knight is only the second Transformers film that isn’t actively hateful. I wouldn’t quite stretch to calling it good (only the third one Dark Of The Moon can claim to be that) but it is moderately enjoyable and it at least partially delivers on the promise of being big dumb fun.
What it mainly delivers is spectacle. All of these films are pitched on an epic scale which they somehow diminish with the blunt assault of the action scene. A lot of this has been filmed with 3D Imax cameras and, when seen on a 3D Imax screen, the results are consistently stunning. And the humour, which is usually a mild form of torture in these films, occasionally raises a laugh.
What you don’t get is any kind of coherent narrative. This time out director Michael Bay has decided that storytelling is for wusses.
It starts out with King Arthur getting a helping hand in battle by a stranded Transformer, before bringing it up to the present day where Hopkins plays the last guardian of a Transformers equivalent of the Knights Templar. He has some sacred duty to perform which involves a polo playing Oxford History Don who goes by the ridiculous name of Vivian Wembley (played by a Laura Haddock),
Mark Wahlberg is also involved because of a bracelet that has attached itself to his arm.
Bay is famous for his fast cutting style but this time, perhaps due to Hopkins stately presence, it felt like he had eased up a little on his metronomic cutting-every-three-seconds style. Six editors are credited with working on the film and none of them managed to make any sense of it.
These films are always tough to follow. You need the hearing of an owl to make out all the garbled dialogue along with a brain capable of visualising head spinning, trans-dimensional banality.
Last Knight though is the first time Bay seems to have actively abandoned any thought for narrative coherence. In the last act particularly, characters will appear from nowhere, and then jump to another without any thought for explaining how they got from one place to another. I doubt a single person in the cinema could have accurately recounted the full plot afterwards.