Review: 'Transformers:
The Last Knight'

The latest robot cars installment from Michael Bay is impressive, bewildering
Michael Bay assaults movie screens across the country with his latest 'Transformers' installment.

Like a wealthy scrap merchant seeking a coat of arms, director Michael Bay hired Anthony Hopkins' integrity to fluff up the class of Transformers: The Last Knight. As Sir Edmund Burton, an earl with historical connections to the medieval roots of this Transformers business, Hopkins keeps a level voice with lines like: "Without sacrifice, there can be no victory... without leaders, chaos reigns."

The speediest way down the path to madness is to try to synopsize a Michael Bay movie. It begins in King Arthur's day with a drunken Merlin—muttering dialogue that could be improved by any Renaissance Faire busker—unleashing a three-headed mega-Ghidrah to save Arthur's skin. The Arthurian scenes look more lavish and exciting than the recent King Arthur movie, but then it's off to our near future. It's a dark time; we know this because we're told as much. The Transformer robots are in hiding being besieged by soldiers, and Optimus Prime has floated off to find his home world.

Above the clashes, we almost hear something topical about immigrants ("One day, we'll wake up and they'll be in charge," says a character of the 'bots). In the battered slums of Chicago, the plucky little girl Izabelle (Isabela Moner)—who will give the movie's climactic fist pump and shout of Yes!—looks like she's going to be the movie's heroine. But she's off to a junkyard in the Dakotas where Mark Wahlberg is waiting—his Cade Yeager is protecting an odd lot of bots, including a burly soldier voiced by John Goodman.

Ever restless, Bay heads for Oxford where the hotty history professor Laura Haddock is insulting the memory of King Arthur. Locations, locations, locations. Stonehenge, Havana, Namibia; at one point John Turturro gets on the phone claiming that the Book of Kells is printed on "goat scrotum" (parchment). What was this script printed on?

It's a pity this is so bewilderingly bad, with Bay's reliably smelly sexual politics. Giant robots are impressive when they punch their mammoth heads out of a 3-D IMAX screen; in close-up, these mega-goliaths look like the work of Boris Artzybasheff, who did for gears and bolts what the artist Arcimboldo did for zucchinis. But watching Bay, you never know where you are, you never know who's shouting, you never know why every entity in the universe has to bump its chest or bitchslap something's face.

Transformers: The Last Knight
PG-13, 148 Mins.

Find Movie Theaters & Showtimes

Zip Code or City:   Radius: Theaters: