Transformers V: Straight to the scrapyard
A bland addition to the franchise
Michael Bay is a phenomenon. How else can you explain a director who has repeatedly been panned by both critics and audience, and yet, consistently churns out billion dollar movies, and that too, from just one franchise? After a refreshing start with his first film, all the other Transformers films basically follow only one template, and the latest one doesn't deviate much either. The Transformers are a banned race and there is a Transformers Reactionary Force (TRF) formed to hunt down both the Autobots and the Decepticons. The erstwhile leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, was left in search of his creator at the end of the the last movie. He gets to meet her early in this one, when she reveals that Cybertron, the planet of the transformers, is constantly at war with Earth, which is actually the ancient arch-nemesis Unicron. Tasked to find the staff of Merlin to return Cybertron to life, she turns Optimus against his own.
Cast: Mark Walhberg, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Michael Bay
You would think that such a plotline, combined with the usual love that Bay has for special effects, would make for a decent action movie. Alas, take for example, the character of Viviane (Laura Haddock) who is important to the storyline. Not only is the build up to the reveal of her role in the film slow, but the reveal itself is very bland when it does come. Cate Yaeger (Mark Walhberg) exists only as a carrier of an important talisman, and also to show off his abs for Viviane to fawn over. Did I say that this happens when the world is collapsing all around them? Priorities.
The film's consolation comes in the form of Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), tasked with keeping the history of the Transformers a secret and his brilliant sidekick of an autobot, the polite Cogman who has a multiple personality disorder. The gravitas that Hopkins brings onto the screen elevates the scene instantly and the antics of the butler, with his quintessential British humour works brilliantly. For a franchise that gave us some of the most scintillating battle scenes between shape shifting robots, the absence of such sequences is telling. The action scenes felt empty, even though this film had the most investment in special effects. Towards the end, when Optimus destroys multiple bots in one fell swoop, the theatre was rapturous. Sadly, it was the first time the audience felt alive since the opening credits of the movie. That should be a telling sign of the franchise's steep decline. The end promises yet another instalment. Michael Bay just doesn't know when to stop, or worse, he doesn't want to stop.