Is number 5 any different from the previous 4? That’s the question we all want to know the answer to. The answer? A resounding no. It’s still long, boring, convoluted and yet overly simple, has terrible characters, acting and dialogue, the action is big and stupid and everything is just pure garbage. And the worst thing? This movie is way too long as it is, but if it was just 5 minutes shorter I wouldn’t have had to wait an extra hour for my next bus home… Thanks Transformers.
So the story is at the same time really drawn out and complex and yet really simple. The whole world hates Transformers pretty much. A special task force is set up to get rid of them. Mark Wahlberg looks after the leftover Autobots and hides out trying to survive. Meanwhile, Megatron is back and leading his Decepticons to try and destroy the world and the Autobots and humans with it. Also meanwhile, Optimus Prime meets his maker and joins with her in an effort to try and bring Cybertron back, albeit by destroying the earth. So that’s where everybody is, but there’s also a magical staff given to the ancient wizard Merlin by Transformers that is very powerful. Anthony Hopkins is a guardian of sorts of this staff’s secret. There’s Laura Haddock who is drawn into the quest by being a really smart historian and then Isabela Moner is a kid who is friends with a couple of Transformers and so naturally runs straight into life threatening situations. Getting tired yet? Basically, as with previous entries into the franchise, the bad guys want a thing and the good guys have to stop them.
The trouble is, it’s very long and very boring. Optimus Prime is barely in this movie and disappears at times for literally no reason. His ‘villainous turn’ is pointless and he’s barely a character. Megatron is barely a villain, popping up now and again to act menacing and then also being largely ineffectual. Wahlberg is fine, Haddock is fine. Their characters just aren’t written all that well to make them interesting characters in any way. Moner does a good enough job but her character is a bit annoying and disappears for most of the movie also. Hopkins is seemingly trying to ruin his career in this movie, playing some crazy old man who says ‘dude’ and swears like he’s trying to be cool for modern day kids. Returning to the franchise are John Tuturro, who has no need to be in this movie, and Josh Duhamel, who is a bland army guy, much like he was in the other films.
A lot of this film seems like it is trying to get you to like it by shoehorning in things people liked from other films. You liked Rey from ‘The Force Awakens‘? Here’s scavenger Izabella! You liked BB-8? Here’s Sqweeks! You liked the baby dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic World‘? Here’s some baby dinobots! You liked the names on the screen in ‘Suicide Squad‘? Here’s some Decepticon introductions with names on the screen! C-3PO? Got it! You liked previous ‘Transformers‘ movies? No? Too bad! That’s what you’re getting more of! There’s so much stuff that’s just in there with no purpose. And it all feels tacked on and forced together.
However, one of the worst things in this film is the baffling choice of screen ratio sizes. Some of this film is filmed in IMAX. Cool. That’s fine. But don’t intercut IMAX shots with non-IMAX shots. The ‘black spaces’ at the top and bottom of the screen appear and disappear between shots sometimes. And it’s even happening in just boring dialogue scenes! It’s so weird and odd. It doesn’t look nice. And even worse is when it occurs during action scenes. These films are edited poorly anyway, with so many quick cuts it’s hard to follow. But when the aspect ratio keeps changing the bottom bit of the screen almost looks like a flip book the way it keeps getting shorter then longer. It’s a very poor effect and really seems like a massive mistake.
As does a lot of this film. Things just seem forgotten about often. The Dinobots do a thing and then disappear in smoke and are gone forever. Optimus Prime announces he is going to fly up to a platform and then when the humans arrive it’s at least 20 minutes until Prime actually turns up again! Where did he go?! Plot threads are left and forgotten about and then randomly picked up later sometimes. Nothing is all that coherent as we move from explosive action sequence to explosive action sequence.
I will say that Michael Bay can shoot action kind of well. The opening sequence in Arthurian times features a big medieval battle which looks better than most of ‘King Arthur‘, but it is quickly ruined by the interference of Transformers. But a lot of the action is framed nicely and there’s some okay and interesting shots. And the special effects are pretty flawless. It’s just that when everything is edited the way it is and smashed together there’s just no weight to any of it and it all seems bland and boring. The score does well to try and make things slightly better but it doesn’t help all that much.
So all in all, much like the previous 4 films, the story sucks, the jokes suck, the action mostly sucks, the effects are good, the characters suck and all this rubbish goes on way too long. I hope they stop making these films one day. It’s a crime that they make so much money and can get away with being so terrible.
JACK’S SCORE: 1/5