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Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Paramount Home Entertainment
4K UHD Released: 9/26/2017

All Ratings out of





Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/28/2017

When I informed my wife that I'd received the latest Transformers movie to review, she stated, "I don't remember what happened in the last one." And therein lies one of the problems with this franchise -- they all run together. Other than breaking them into the ones with Shia or the ones without Shia, keeping these movies straight can be a huge issue, and not just because 90% of the footage is robots jumping around or soldiers running. The movies also suffer from a serious lack of memorable plots. Still, it's all supposed to be good, clean robot fun, right? Any notion of these movies being fun comes to a screeching half with Transformers: The Last Knight.

Transformers: The Last Knight picks up some time after the events of Transformers: Age of Extinction. Transformers are now "illegal" and are hunted by the military. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) now lives off of the grid with several Autobots, and he's always on the lookout for more robots to help. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) has been drifting through space and lands on Cybertron, where he meets the creator of the Transformers. Meanwhile, Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), an historian who guards a secret lineage of those who have worked with Transformers over the centuries realizes that he must find Cade in order to stop a devastating event from occurring. He must also find history professor Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock), as she is also a piece of the puzzle. Meanwhile, Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel), is negotiating with Megatron (voiced by Frank Welker) over the release of captive Decepticons. Meanwhile, huge metal structures are erupting from the ground all over the globe.

Does that sound like a lot of story? Trust me, it is. Does it sounds as if it might be a mess? Trust me, it is. Again, the films in the Transformers series have never been known for their strong storylines and Director Michael Bay is infamous for his quick cut/short shot editing style. But, Transformers: The Last Knight seems to be going for some sort of world record for confusing non-sensical plots. The story is all over the place and jumps around with no rhyme or reason, introducing and re-introducing sub-plots at a maddening pace. The mish-mash begins with the opening scene, which takes place in medieval England. Here, we see that Merlin (Stanley Tucci, in a cameo) worked with the Transformers to gain his "magic". This entire scene, which includes a Transformers' dragon, reeks of "Hey, a lot of people watch Game of Thrones, right? Let's do something like that." From there, the movie simply leaps from moment-to-moment, none of if feeling very connected.

And, I'm sorry, isn't this supposed to be a Transformers movie? For the bulk of the film, Optimus Prime is either floating through space or a prisoner on Cybertron. When he does finally make it back to Earth, he's a villain? (And how is it that people know Optimus Prime by name? Was he on TV or something?) On the Decepticon side, Megatron appears for the scene in which he asks for his cohorts to be released from captivity, which leads to a Decepticon montage. He then re-appears during the finale, but I wasn't sure exactly what his agenda was. There's nothing wrong with wanting to introduce new Transformers, but you've got to keep the old favorite front and center. And how is it that there are baby Dinobots? Wouldn't Transformers be "born" fully grown? Am I overthinking all of this?

It would have been very easy to refer to the previous four Transformers movies as simply being "noise", but the lack of anything cohesive in Transformers: The Last Knight really fits that bill. If a group of amateur filmmakers go away for the weekend and return with unusable footage, that's one thing. But, this is a Hollywood feature film which cost a reported $217 million and the six (!) editors who worked on it still couldn't make it work. (And there were probably several assistants helping them.) Keep in mind that this isn't simply random footage, there are tons of CG effects and location shots included here and it adds up to nothing. Yes, the visual effects look great as usual, but they are simply decorations on a hollow cake. Bay insists on working in his relationship with the U.S. Military, but a story which made some sense would have been preferred. There are so many possibilities with the Transformers franchise. I just wish that someone with some new ideas would take over.

Transformers: The Last Knight will have you asking "Why is Anthony Hopkins in this?" on 4K UHD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The framing of the film alternates from 2.35:1 to 1.85:1 throughout the film, often from shot-to-shot. (Were effects shots framed differently?) The Disc contains an HEVC 2160p transfer which runs at an average of 70 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fantastic, most notably blues and reds, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is impeccable and we can see the work which went into creating the robots. The depth, even in this 2D version, is impressive. The Disc carries a Dolby Atmos audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The subwoofer effects are frequent and deep, providing a low rumble throughout and wall-shaking results during the battle scenes. The stereo and surround effects are highly-detailed and we often get individual sounds coming from the front and rear channels.

The extra features for Transformers: The Last Knight are found on a Blu-ray Disc included here. "Merging Mythologies" (20 minutes) takes us behind the scenes to see the writers grasping for ideas for the next movie. From there, we see how the idea how bringing King Arthur to the Transformers universe emerged, and the work which went into creating the look of the knights and the ancestral artifacts seen in the film. "Climbing the Ranks" (9 minutes) takes us on-set to see the real SEAL Team members working on the film, and how their interactions influence the movie. "The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK" (27 minutes) brings us on-location in England to see the action set-pieces which were set in London and the English countryside. "Motors and Magic" (15 minutes) places a focus on the characters and the new robots which have been brought to the franchise, along with old favorites. We travel to outer space to see the details of the Transformers in "Alien Landscape: Cybertron" (7 minutes). "One More Giant Effin' Movie" (7 minutes) is simply a reel of on-set footage showing all of the craziness which goes into making the film.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long