Saturday, June 24, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight IMAX 3D review

I am going to regret saying this but I kind of liked Transformers: The Last Knight. Yeah, I know it's getting skewered by the film critics. But with all of its flaws, the basic story gets through with no help from director Michael Bay. When Bay stops being Bay, the movie works. It's like Trump's aides trying to hide his smartphone so he can't tweet.

Transformers: The Last Knight. starts out in England at the time of King Arthur. The Knights of the Round Table are badly outnumbered and about to be defeated by Wonder Woman and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Okay, the stuff about Wonder Woman and the Guardians isn't in the movie. A barely recognizable Stanley Tucci as a drunken Merlin the Wizard seeks the help of an alien transformer to assist Arthur. With this needless and silly plot thread, I'm guessing that Tucci was really blitzed to deliver his lines. Anyway, he gets this magical staff that helps the knights. Then some transformers tun into a three headed dragon which is kind of lost in the all the action and they defeat The Avengers. Okay, they defeat the knights' adversaries. I forgot who they were fighting.

Flash forward. it's a time after the dreadful Transformers: The Age of Extinction. (2014) Spunky Hispanic orphan teenager Izabella (Isabela Moner) is living in a restricted zone with her robot R2-D2. Um... sorry wrong cute, small robot. It's name is Squweeks. The area is restricted because the government is hunting down all transformers even the good ones which are called Autobots. Anyway, some boys stumble in and find her. One of the kids immediately gets a crush on her. Hey, this is here for Bay's need to romance young and younger girls. Remember, the teenage daughter sexual affair with an adult in Age of Extinction? Anyway, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) from that movie, saves the kids from government robots out to kill transformers. He finds a old robot who gives him a magical medallion from the days of King Arthur. Yeager and Izabella escape, and the other kids are blown to bits by the government. Okay, the kids getting blown to bits didn't happen, they just disappear.

Yeager and Izabella who stows away on his jeep arrive at a junkyard where Yeager hides out with his robot friends, Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow. Sorry, about those are the robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yeager's robot friends are Bearded Guy with Mini-Gun, Samurai Guy, and Bumble Bee. Hey, I only know two Autobots. Meanwhile, Cybertron, a transformer planet is being flown on a collision course to earth. The government gets the evil Decepticons to attack Yeager and his autobots.

Meanwhile, the action is being monitored by Sir Edmund Burton. (Anthony Hopkins?!) He transports Yeager and Bumblebee to England. He also kidnaps Professor Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) who bears a striking resemblance to Megan Fox. This being a Michael Bay movie, she's here for eye-candy. Yeager and Wembley are recruited for the problem of planet crashing into planet thing. Whew, talk about all the stuff in this movie. I didn't even get to Optimus Prime. Folks, that's the basic plot description needed to review this film. And it's also the problem.

The screenplay by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan and story by Akiva Goldsman has too many characters and confusing plot threads. There needs to be less action written in the movie and more character development. The teenage girl Izabella needed a few scenes where she and her robot friend bond. Instead, we're introduced to her through big action combat scenes. There are so many characters, human and transformer that they took away from any time to develop Yeager and Izabella's quasi father-daughter relationship. The result of all these multiple characters and action set pieces is that I had little emotional connection with the major characters. And you can tell the film wanted you to feel.

Director Michael Bay is always the problem with Transformers movies. Everything that makes them a nauseous experience is here. Too much fast cutting. Swirling camera shots. One big action piece after another with no time to breathe. And explosions. Did I say explosions? EXPLOSIONS! Sexist dialogue with sexual innuendo directed at the female character. Too many confusing transformer versus transformer fights.

But some strange, positive things occurred in this Bay movie that didn't exist in the other ones. First, there was actual wit in this movie. Funny jokes about overly dramatic music in film. Seeing Sir Anthony Hopkins flip someone off was almost worth the price of admission. Real diversity among the protagonists. A Hispanic lead. A scene that takes place in Cuba where some Autobots are hiding. Very little product placement. With the exception of stealing a line from Winston Churchill, there are no cringe worthy plot threads. Wembly is not forced to wear tight shorts though she does have a clinging dress that squeezes her chest. Still for a Bay movie, that's like a female hero wearing a burqa. But there's no gratuitous shot of a woman's behind. Wait a minute. Did producer Steven Spielberg have Bay kidnapped so he could direct some of this movie?

If you're going to see this movie, shell out the extra bucks and see it in IMAX 3D. First, Bay shot the movie in native 3D. That means a two camera rig. Second, according to the video, he shot it with IMAX cameras. (Video below.) The IMAX theater always has better resolution and clarity thus enhancing any 3D film. But any 3D movie shot in native 3D is better than one that is converted. All nooks and crannies of objects are captured. This causes better pop and depth. Bay also knows he's shooting in 3D and sets up shots to exploit the effect. It's not VR but I felt like some objects were in the theater. This type of native 3D is worth your extra money. Send a message to studios for more native 3D movies rather than conversions..

When Transformers: The Last Knight focuses on Yeager and Izabella's friendship with the robots and their struggles, the movie succeeds. It only stumbles when all those explosions, transformer fights, screaming dialogue and roving camera shots are thrown at you. Regardless, it's a good time waster. The grade is C Plus.

No comments: