Seen 3rd July
In the 2004 film Team America Matt Stone and Trey Parker posed a very simple question, “Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?”. They were referring to Pearl Harbor, A film where Michael Bay decided to turn one of the worst attacks on America into a love story. Well, good news, Michael Bay is no longer desecrating American history… he’s moved on to desecrating the entire planet’s history, science, logic, basic movie making and humanity in general.
You know a film is going to be bad when it opens with a great battle from ancient Arthurian legend and it decides that Merlin was actually a drunken charlatan who lied his way to the top and is only able to help by finding a large red robot hidden in a cave who can give him a magic staff to save the day. It’s a violent battle scene that’s between Arthur’s team and the Saxon’s who were invading. This is just the opening scene and it’s just painful to watch because every few seconds we cut from this dramatic fight scene to Merlin being barely able to ride his horse because he is drunk off his ass. That’s how this film opens and somehow it’s all down hill from there. This film just enjoys pissing on historical events. Apparently an autobot fought the Nazi’s and a super watch covered in guns killed Hitler, because that’s how things work now.
The casting is better than this movie deserves by a mile. Anthony Hopkins is an Oscar winning actor who is known for being very authoritative and serious, making you need to pay attention to every word out of his mouth. In this film, his best moment is telling the Prime Minister of England to shut up and calling a transformer a bitch. Mark Wahlberg is an Oscar Nominee who is able to be imposing or kind depending on what you need from him. In this film he’s pretty… that’s it, that’s his function. He will be the randomly shirtless man of this movie and nothing else. John Goodman, Stanley Tucci, Tony Hale, John Turturro, these are all great actors and they are wasted in this movie. They aren’t just there to collect a check, they’re there for craft services and are desperate to finish the takes just so they could go get snacks. No one in this movie cares and no one behind the scenes cared either.
In film there is something very special known as the ‘Aspect Ratio’. This defines how big the frame is. Your old square TV was a 4:3, your new HDTV screen might be a 16:9. Films use this in order to set the mood. For example, in Quentin Tarantino’s recent film The Hateful Eight he filmed it in 2.76:1 in order to get a specific look, a grand old film look that would allow him to show the isolation of the main characters. In his earlier film Death Proof however, he shot the film in 2.35:1 which is basically standard widescreen and that worked for his gritty re-imagining of the grindhouse movie experience. I bring this up because Transformers 5 can’t pick a goddamn aspect ratio. It changes between scenes, sometimes it’s standard, other times it’s insane wide screen. IMDB lists 3 aspect ratios… no, no this is not good film making. If you want to use different camera’s fine but in the edit you better letter box some shots and keep it consistent because otherwise the edges of the frame dance around like a crack addict. It’s jarring and not even justified by the content of the scenes, wide angles shot with a wide angle lens will be intercut with close ups in a letterboxed shot. There is no stylistic reason for this other than basic incompetence.
Speaking of the fact that Michael Bay doesn’t know how to make movies, the editing in this film is beyond awful. People jump from location to location without so much as a mocking justification. People will end one shot wearing one outfit and walk into the next shot that allegedly takes place minutes later in a brand new outfit. One of the most basic shots, the two person conversation, is screwed because the editor decided to have Mark Wahlberg’s voice come out while Laura Haddock is on screen and then reverse it. Considering neither of them have particularly interesting reactions, maybe don’t use the take where they’re probably staring at a piece of tape because the other person in the scene went to get a bagel and Bay wanted a pick up shot!
The plot is incomprehensible, there’s like 12 of them crammed into this two and a half hour thing that is allegedly a movie. Basically Mark and Laura’s characters have to find the magic staff that was buried with Merlin (You know, the drunk charlatan) in order to stop some stupid space robot goddess from destroying the planet because reasons. Oh also, everyone dies in this movie about 30 times, or at least they would if anyone who made this movie understand how people work.
This movie is so bad, it’s an assault on cinema. It’s a poorly made mess by a man who knows that as long as he blows something up every 30 seconds that you will get people to applaud like monkeys at your objectively awful movie with no redeeming qualities. This movie made me think of a line from a movie that I honestly love and it applies here so perfectly:
Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit!
That line right there? That is a better more fulfilling piece of dialogue than anything you will find in Transformers. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!