A film review by Craig J. Koban July 7, 2017




2017, PG-13, 148 mins.


Mark Wahlberg as Cade  /  Gemma Chan as Quintessa  /  Jerrod Carmichael as Jimmy  /  Laura Haddock as Vivian Wembley  /  Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime (voice)  /  Frank Welker as Galvatron / Megatron (voice)  /  John Goodman as Hound (voice)  /  Ken Watanabe as Drift (voice)  /  John DiMaggio as Crosshairs (voice)  /  Jess Harnell as Barricade (Voice)  /  Josh Duhamel as Colonel Lennox  /  Anthony Hopkins as Sir Edmund Burton  /  Santiago Cabrera as Santos  /  John Turturro as Agents Simmons  /  Tony Hale as JPL Engineer

Directed by Michael Bay  /  Written by Art Marcum and Ken Nolan






Once again I had to suffer through yet another nonsensically plotted, horrendously overproduced, and self indulgently long TRANSFORMERS sequel.  

As I left the cinema in stupefied silence and consumed with feelings of absolute worthlessness and emptiness, I tried to ponder the mindsets of the creative forces behind this creatively bankrupt endeavor.  On my car ride home from the cinema I imagined what a pitch meeting for TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT would have been like for director Michael Bay and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg. 

Just...imagine...if you would...





Bay:  S-Spiel, my main man!  Guess what I got cooked up again! 

Spielberg:  Oh no.  Come on, Mike.  Please don't tell me you wanna make another Transformers film? 

Bay: Ding-ding-ding!  Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!!!

Spielberg: (Sigh)  Mike, seriously, have you not done everything you think you've needed to do with this franchise?  Why don't you retire from it and call it a career. 

Bay:  I will.  After this one.  I promise.  Pinky Swear, Stevie. 

Spielberg:  Oh.  Okay.  Sounds good.  But do I really have to produce this?  I've brandied my good name on the billboards for the last four and really don't need the money...or the unwanted negative attention. 

Bay:  Stevie, do I really need to remind you what a bomb THE BFG was?  You could use another box office smash. 

Spielberg:  Okay.  Good point.  Go on. 

Bay:  AWESOME!  Okay, so this next TRANSFORMERS is gonna be called THE LAST KNIGHT. 

Spielberg:  Hmmm...interesting.  Go on.  I'm listening. 

Bay:  Woot!  Okay, so I'm going to open this one in England at around the Dark Ages with King Arthur and... 

Spielberg:  Ummm...wait...wait?! 

Bay:  I know.  I know...incredible, right?  Anyhoo', the film opens with King Arthur and Merlin...but Merlin will be played kind of as an old effeminate coot...and drunk as fuck..  Not gay, though.  Well, maybe kinda gay.  But mostly drunk.  It'll be hysterical.   

Spielberg:  I....er....well...I'm not sure...and can we...maybe stop...with the gay and racial humor in this one....

Bay:  Wait for it, Stevie.  You're getting ahead of yourself.  You know how I love explosions and mayhem? 

Spielberg:  Yup.  No doubts from me there. 

Bay: The film will literally open with explosions and knight on knight mayhem and carnage.  It'll be epic.  Then I'll reveal that the Transformers have been on Earth since then and have actually been helping out Merlin and the knights.  One hidden Transformer - hidden in...um...a mountain - will give Merlin a special staff that will help them beat a Transformer dragon. 

Spielberg:  Okay.  Cool the jets a bit, Mike.  I'm confused.  How does this coalesce with the previous established mythology?  It sounds like you're making it up as you go. 

Bay:  Stevie, when have you ever known me to be a filmmaker with a plan?  I shoot this shit by the seat of my pants. 

Spielberg:  Good point.  Okay, go on. 

Bay.  Nice!  So we flashforward thousands of years to the present and just after the events of the last film.  The world is an apocalyptic wasteland.  Well, not really apocalyptic...but kinda-sorta apocalyptic.  Cities have been laid to waste by Transformers as the war between the Autobots and Decepticons have leveled the planet...but not too much.  But more or less...everyone seems to live normal lives... 

Spielberg:  But...how...in the midst of the devastation? 

Bay:  I dunno.  I'll limit the devastation to...say...baseball stadiums and a few streets...but everywhere else will be...well...liveable. 

Spielberg:  That sounds...I dunno...not really plausible... 

Bay:  I know.  It's improbably sa-weet!!!  We'll then re-introduce Marky Mark at this stage.

Spielberg:  You mean Mark Wahlberg? 

Bay:  Yeah...Marky Mark.  Anyhoo', he's in hiding because of his allegiance to the Autobots...mostly because the nations of the world hunt Transformers. 

Spielberg:  Wait...where's his daughter? 

Bay:  I dunno.  College maybe?   She's not coming back.  I want a new babe in this.

Spielberg:  Wait...colleges still run during this apocalypse? 

Bay:  Yeah.  Sure.  Just not baseball stadiums. 

Spielberg:  I don't understand. 

Bay:  You will.  It gets way better!  Marky Mark lives in a junkyard with those two Transformers - the one that's kinda Southern, smokes a cigar, likes guns and is all militarized and the other is Japanese and likes swords... 

Spielberg: Why would alien robots talk like Southerners and Japanese people?  Haven't we covered this before? 

Bay:  I dunno.  It looks cool.  Anyhoo'... 

Spielberg:  Sorry to cut you off.  Where's Optimus Prime during this? 

Bay:  Oh.  Yeah.  Shit.  Forgot about him.  Ummmmm...he's struck on his home world of Cybertron...annnnnd....ummmmm....is captured by an evil queen robot that puts a spell on him....to....uh....destroy the Autobots and Earth.  Yeah...yeah...that's the ticket. 

Spielberg:  That sounds horribly made up. 

Bay:  I'm just getting started, Stevie!  So anyhoo', Marky Mark and his funky robot bunch find a secret Arthurian talisman that holds the key to finding that staff thingy that Merlin had all of those years ago.  That's the key to everything. 

Spielberg:  Wait...how does he come to learn all of this? 

Bay:  Ohhhhhhh....this is the best part!  Hannibal Lecter tells him!!! 

Spielberg:  What?! 

Bay:  I got Hannibal Lecter to be in the film!!!  I know...I know...it's totally cra-cray.   

Spielberg:  You mean Sir Anthony Hopkins... 

Bay:  Yeah....yeah...Hannibal Lecter.  Anyhoo', Hannibal Lecter plays a member of this secret society that has been monitoring Transformer activity and artifacts for thousands of years... 

Spielberg:  Wait...he's been monitoring the robots and artifacts for thousands of years or he's part of a society that's been doing just that? 

Bay:  I see what you're doing, Stevie.  You're trying to trick me.  Ain't happening.  The society, silly.  Anyhoo', he gives Marky Mark and his funky robot bunch the info needed to recover the staff.  Oh...oh...and he's gonna need a butler.  Maybe a robot.  Kinda like C3P0...but way less gay.  Maybe he can be voiced by someone from Downton Abbey?. 

Spielberg: (Sigh). 

Bay:  Oh....oh...and Hannibal Lecter also gives Marky Mark and his funky robot bunch a smokin' hot babe as his sidekick. 

Spielberg: (Sigh)  Mike, you really have to stop sexually objectifying women in your films.  I mean, you literally had a your camera fixated on Wahlberg's character's teenage daughter in the last one...which was extremely unsavory....so... 

Bay:  Yeah...that was so bloody hot.  But...wait...don't worry, Stevie...this babe will be hot...but she'll also be uber smart.  She'll be an Oxford graduated Professor of History... 

Spielberg:  Oh...that sounds like a positive step in the right direction... 

Bay:  I know...I know...and when she meets Marky Mark for the first time she'll been in a super tight black dress that I'll film from behind so we can see her...behind.  Ha!  get it?   And I'll make sure that her dress is very low cut so we can fixate on her cleavage.  My peeps are gonna drool over her! 

Spielberg:  Oh.  My.  God.  Really?  Here we go again.... 

Bay:  Gets better!  I'll even give Marky Mark another sidekick that's a young teenager...maybe-14-15-years-old...and she'll be an orphan.  Maybe I'll try to give her some cleavage hugging outfits as well...that could work...

Spielberg:  Mike...please....stop.  You're talking about a 14-15-year-old girl... 

Bay:  Stevie.  My teenage boy peeps will love it! 

Spielberg: (Sigh). 

Bay:  Oh....oh....I know how you love wars,  especially World War II... 

Spielberg:  I...don't...love...war. 

Bay:  You won an Oscar for directing a war movie. 

Spielberg:  Good point. 

Bay:  I'm gonna thrown in a flashback that shows Transformers fighting Nazis.  See...the Transformers secretly killed Hitler... 

Spielberg:  What?! 

Bay:  Yeah...I know...so bloody cool.  Do you think Germany will let me shoot there and plaster swastikas everywhere?  They wouldn't mind, would they?  Anyhoo'...I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's talk about the ending. 

Spielberg:  Fiiiiiinnnnaaaallly.  Go on. 

Bay:  I want it to be at least an hour long...contain nothing but action and things going boom...and have a lot of people running and screaming...Prime will come back...kind of like Han Solo...and turn back to the good side and help the heroes... 

Spielberg:  Wait...what and/or who are the heroes fighting?   

Bay:  Oh yeah...ummmm...that evil queen robot has invaded and sends planet Cybertron to land on Earth... 

Spielberg:  Wait...how is that even possible, Mike?  You can't land another planet on Earth.  That would cause massive tidal waves and tectonic plate shifting, unfathomably large craters that would send debris into our atmosphere and block out the sun...and everything on the planet would essentially be destroyed. 

Bay:  No...No....the queen just lands some of the planet's arms on Earth. 

Spielberg:  What?! 

Bay:  It's gonna look amazing.  Plus...I'm gonna throw in nuclear submarines and Stonehenge into the mix as well.  We'll probably have to kill off Hannibal Lecter during it, but not his robot butler.  The C3P0-like one I was talking about earlier...but less gay...but still very British. 

Spielberg:  This is getting way, way...out of hand...   

Bay:  And I'm gonna shoot this ending - as well as the rest of the film - with alternating aspect ratios!  Some will be in IMAX, some won't...and I'll jump cut between aspect ratios so fast it'll make people dizzy with excitement!

Spielberg:  That sounds positively fatiguing on a visual level...

Bay:  Annnnnd Marky Mark will be revealed as a...as a...chosen one kind of thingy that can be the only one to save everyone's bacon. 

Spielberg:  Sorry Mike...I'm hopelessly lost. 

Bay:  Don't worry.  I'll take my time with the climax.  I'm going to make it at least an hour long. 

Spielberg:  An...hour?!  Mike, the last TRANSFORMERS film was nearly three hours.  That was punishing.  Can we trim this one down a tad...actually...a lot?

Bay:  You know what...you're right.  Absolutely, we can.  I'm gonna make this one way, way shorter. 

Spielberg: (Looks above): Thank God. 

Bay:  I'm sure I can edit this sucker down to...say...around two and a half hours-plus... 

Spielberg:  You're joking. 

Bay:  Okay...okay...how about 148 minutes? 

Spielberg:  That's...still...two and a half hours long.... 

Bay:  Annnnnnd it's gonna be an epic two and a half hours.  And it's gonna be my swan song from the series.   

Spielberg:  That's right...you said at the beginning that this is you're last TRANSFORMERS film!!!  I remember that part.  You did say that. 

Bay:  Then again...who am I kidding.  I'll probably be back for a sixth. 

Spielberg:  God...help...us...all. 

Bay:  Maybe I'll team up Marky Mark and his funky robot bunch with God in the sixth?  Throw some angels in there too.  But hot babe angels.  With massive cleavage. 

Spielberg:  Can I leave now?  Are we done? 

Bay:  Come on, Stevie.  You know you're gonna produce this fifth one.  You haven't had a box office smash as a director in nearly ten years. 

Spielberg: (Sigh) Good point.


Watch me talk about this film on my annual 

BEST/WORST of 2017 Midterm Report Card CTV Segment:

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