As I booked my tickets to indulge in the next film in Michael Bay's Transformers
saga, I knew I had to prepare myself for the intense viewing experience, both physically and mentally. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and worked out for two straight hours. I made myself a healthy breakfast comprising of oats and berries. I dressed well and coiffed my hair. Finally, I looked into the mirror and told myself, "You will not fall asleep at another Transformers movie. NOT AGAIN."
I made my way to the cinema a few minutes before the screening was about to begin. Not wanting to waste these precious few minutes with mindless staring, I read the room, or more so the lobby, trying to gauge the anticipation of the audience. There were people young and younger (no old person in sight) brimming with enthusiasm waiting to catch the next episode in Optimus Prime's journey. I readily lowered my expectations (as previously resolved) and walked into a hall buzzing with youthful exuberance. 150 minutes later, almost every single soul in that hall had their energy level depleted as it slowly dawned on them that they had been conned into thinking they were witnessing a fun summer blockbuster.
Transformers: Worst Last Name Ever tells the increasingly long-winded story of the ruler of Cybertron Quintessa's attempts at restoring her planet to its former glory by draining Earth's life force. Optimus Prime who left Earth seeking his creator is seemingly, um, transformed to the dark side by Queen Quintessa's magic Camelot-powered staff. Now Public Enemy #1, Nemesis Prime (I'm not joking - that's his actual name), is on a collision course with Earth's mightiest heroes. Can they stop him? Can they find the Optimus inside the Nemisis? Can this plot be made dumb, long, loud and boring? The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the fifth movie of a well-established franchise could break the mould set up for it by its predecessors, owing to modern action classics such as Fast Five
and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
. But what those films have that Transformers doesn't is fresh blood behind the camera with every new release. Transformers: When Will It End is not the absolute worst of the Michael Bay helmed franchise (that honour goes to Age Of Extinction
), but its lack of imagination and cohesion are palpable.
The film's promising opening setup is quickly squandered away as it falls back into the much-maligned hallmarks the franchise was built around. The attempts are humour are cringeworthy and inappropriate (as you would have come to expect), the action sequences are an orgy of edits and noise, the score is deafening, and by the time the abrupt ending of the film rears its ugly head, the plot of the film preceding it is ancient history to you.
It is quite amusing to think that an animated movie from the '80s hilariously titled The Transformers: The Movie did the plot of this film justice. This effort lacks the charm, heart, cohesion and genuine stakes that the aforementioned children's film possessed. And the actors in the film can't essay a convincing performance to save their lives either as they are too busy trying to make sense of their own world that reeks of logical fallacies and scientific inaccuracies.
The solitary saving grace of the film is Mr. Dependable Optimus Prime himself. His presence though significantly brief makes the film's final stretch moderately bearable as his battle with his trusted deputy Bumblebee is cause for celebration and heartbreak. That scene which is fuelled by emotion and not by empty posturing is singular as the film around it overpowers the audience and the film itself via sheer sensory overload.
The cacophonous noise never hits a crescendo, the ADHD edit style cannot muster a scene with any form of build-up or payoff, and the inconsistent screenplay adds fuel to the raging dumpster fire that is this movie. The filmmakers show no aptitude when it comes to telling a story worth paying attention to as the primary objective of the film is to sell the gullible children who found their way into this cinema hall a bunch of new toys and to offer them a clinic on how to lower expectations when it comes to cinema for the foreseeable future.
There is an old adage which goes "a sucker is born every minute". This franchise will milk the money out of those poor sods dry until the skies turns black under the shadow of Cybertron itself.