So, here we go with the fifth episode of director Michael Bay’s hugely successful CGI-heavy franchise – and it is everything you’d expect a Bay film to be: loud, brash, brutal and big.
You could call it Bay’s magnum opus (or Maximus Prime) but what it possesses in sheer scale and full-on velocity it lacks in any form of cohesive storyline or character exposition. But even worse than that it teams a bunch of alien robot cars with the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the round table (as if we hadn’t seen this before – look, it’s an ancient magical artefact! No, it’s amazing alien technology beyond our understanding!)
Along with Mark Wahlberg returning as Transformer friend Cade we get a whole host of new characters including a ‘squiffy’ Merlin (Stanley Tucci), charged with looking after a powerful Transformer lance/rod thingy; an eccentric contemporary ‘Sir’ (Anthony Hopkins, complete with robotic butler who is a dead ringer for Star Wars’ C-3P0 and country pile/castle); and a rather prim university professor (Laura Haddock) with daddy issues. Oh, there’s also a young girl, but she’s so unimportant to the plot she disappears for whole sections of the movie.
In fact, there’s a lot of inconsequential stuff here (two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them scenes in Cuba with John Turturro – why? Probably because Bay thought it would be cool – hey Havana and all its rusty old American jalopies playing hiding place to ultra-teched up Transformers, cool! Not really).
But this really isn’t what Transformers is about is it? It’s a chance to have one big, crunching, CGI bust-up between the goodies and the baddies with more Transformers, huge space ships and the ultimate disaster of two planets colliding (how this affects Earth’s gravitation or atmosphere is never even mentioned let alone explained).
But what the heck, it will makes zillions at the box office and there’s even a teaser trailer for the next installment embedded at the end. Is it clever? No. Is it classic Bay? You bet.