Transformers: (Hopefully) The Last Knight

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Acting: ⭐⭐
Build: -☠☠
Writing: -☠☠
Characters: DUD
Visuals: ⭐⭐⭐

Transformers: The Last Knight is like Batman vs. Superman overloaded with more vacuity. It starts off with promise before the story gets lost in the bad humor, slow motions, unfunny jokes, fast cars and overbloated special effects.

At the end of the movie a child said to his father “Daddy that movie was so awesome. I took two naps!” I thought “You lucky bastard”. I was not surprised if anyone got multiple naps in as the movie went for 149 minutes.

The story to Transformers: The Last Knight begins with a segment of the story of King Arthur and Merlin before it segways into Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and Laura Haddock (Viviane Wembly) being the present day embodiment of the medieval characters as the try to save the world from Transformers that crash land into earth.

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I can see the difference between two bulking scraps of metal in Transformers: The Last Knight. That’s a good start!

There were so many things that were wrong with this picture but the one good thing was the cinematography at a certain level. Transformers: The Last Knight does look visually pleasing and I can tell which Transformer was fighting what or whom. I could even tell which one was winning.

Beyond that what you have got here is an overblown, convoluted mess. The sound was too loud, the script was full of anti-wit containing moronic unfunny jokes and dumb insults, each scene feels like forever and you just lose complete focus because of the structural mayhem.

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Bay’s pyrotechnician.

The structual mayhem primarily comes from the editing. The movie just cannot cut away fast enough to get the next shot from the multiple camera angles that Michael Bay set up. You are given absolutely no room to breathe or take anything in. It aims to do a 149 minute sprint by which I did not (nor any reasonable person should) have the stamina for that speed.

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Every second shot, the aspect ratio changes (the black bars on the screen)

What made the cinematography and editing even worse is I noticed the images were stretching in and out constantly. What I had realized was that Transformers: The Last Knight changes aspect ratio nearly every single shot. Once I noticed this, I could not help but notice the black bars on the screen changing sizes. It was distracting as hell to watch.

Transformers: The Last Knight was a film that I expected and dreaded because the June/July session is when movie studios put their blockbusters out on release and normally any semblance or sanity or even excitement is crushed by the weight of visual and auditory sensation.This is often done without and substance, context or justification. To paraphrase The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot. Transformers: The Last Knight is “Shape without form, shade without color, paralyzed force, gesture without motion” This movie talks about the chosen knight but has the heart and soul of a hollow man, a stuffed man. ⭐

P.S. The revisionist history this film make up is hilarious. In this movie, autobots were responsible for the toppling of the Third Reich, the abolishment of slavery, the medival Chinese wars and toppling the Saxons. In the movie there are photographs and sketchings of the autobots and yet the movie want me to believe that the transformers did it all secretly.

Beauty and the Beast: There’s Something There

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Beauty and the Beast is a movie taken in with some care. I thought the movie worked because of the acting, music, set design and special effects. The funny thing is that those elements of Beauty and the Beast sometimes threaten to swallow the movie up. Ultimately (and thankfully), that doesn’t happen but I was holding my breath up until the ending.

The last time I saw the animation was when I was about five years old. So I don’t remember much of it. However, I did read about what the remake added from the original after seeing the movie. Sadly, the majority of what was added to the story doesn’t add to the overall quality of Beauty and The Beast, it was just there. What was perhaps the most important addition was the origin story of The Beast himself which is how the movie started.

The Music: The Hits and The Misses

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Not in Beauty and the Beast but “Kiss from a Rose” would be the most on-the-nose track for this movie 🙂

Beauty and the Beast is a spectacle and it knows it. Every song in this movie is meant to express grandeur and splendor more than anything else. There are songs in which there is a large ensemble bellowing out tunes from the top of their lungs and the tips of their voices. The songs “Belle”, “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” are times when it works and others like “The Mob Song” where it doesn’t.

The music ends up being essential to the movie and overall it does work. However, it’s music coupled with the special effects threaten to make the movie feel bloated and threatens the swallow up the story of the Beauty and the Beast. It doesn’t end up doing that, but I was afraid at times it would.

The Special Effects that Are so Special

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As you can see the CGI (and especially the set design) is godamn meticulous. Lots of browine points here!

I can imagine that the accountant responsible for creating the budget saw the line “Expenses: CGI- Spare no expense” and having a heart attack while the CEO said “Just trust me” as a validation. Beauty and the Beast commit to the special effects so much that judging the film goes hand-in-hand with it. It is abundant and it works.

The special effects are mostly colorful, believable and inventive. The best use of the special effects would go to the song “Be Our Guest”. Beauty and the Beast do manage (barely) to balance those special effects out. If every song was inundated like “Be Our Guest” was, I would have had to wash all those colors out of my eyeballs in a sink. Thankfully, Beauty and the Beast did not turn into “Alice Through The Looking Glass” from that perspective.

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Thank God Beauty and the Beast isn’t as oversaturated in colour like Alice Through the Looking Glass. Even though it boarders along that line.

 

The weakness in the special effect department was Beast himself. Main it’s because of character movement and facial expressions looking mechanical and not natural. There are sequences where he looks stiff and other moments in the climax where he had the agility of someone a quarter of his size.

Overall there was enough entertainment value in Beauty and the Beast to recommend, the acting is good (Josh Gad as LeFou gets the best lines so I’d listen to what he says) and the production and set design is rich and detailed and the music mostly works (unless you are fan of quiet and subtle music). It’s not in the musical leagues of Sing Street or La La Land, but Beauty and the Beast undoubtedly works and is fun ***1/4