Transformers: The Last Knight – Centuries ago, Knights of Cybertron fled from dark forces and took with them the staff of power which, in the wrong hands, can destroy a planet. When Cade discovers a talisman which binds itself to his body, he gets caught up in an ancient secret society that has protected the staff throughout time. But with a destroyed Cybertron coming to Earth to seek the staff, he must team up with Vivian to stop it being used to destroy life as we know it.

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – Director: Michael Bay

Is Transformers: The Dark Knight appropriate for kids?

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Rating: 12A

Running Length: 129 mins

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock

Genre: Fantasy, Action, War

‘TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT’ REVIEW

With a film like ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’, and after having reviewed all the previous instalments, it is becoming increasingly difficult to say anything new about this bloated and depressingly popular franchise. If we separate out our ‘inner ‘critic’ we could be mild-mannered enough to say that there is a market out there for CGI-laden visuals, large explosions, and panoramic high-octane destruction, and indeed there is. However, we feel the sheer lack of respect of these movies for any  intelligence on behalf of the audience makes it difficult to even enjoy on a superficial level.

It isn’t just one thing. There are many factors at play which cause ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ to be an abysmal 129 minutes of your life taken away. The plot jumps from element to element with little concern for how they connect. Sometimes this effect is just jarring, such as introducing a poor orphaned child for Cade (Wahlberg) to look after (seeing as his daughter is not in this one) only to ditch her after the first Act. Other times, it just beggars belief (Bumblebee helped the Allies win World War II? And no-one has mentioned this before?) The knuckle dragging mentality towards woman continues and even though they appear to be trying by ticking the stereotypical ‘strong woman’ boxes early on, they still have the lead female character insecurely seek approval from the superhero male and turn to jelly when he takes his shirt off. Maybe it’s the boredom of the sheer orgy of guns on display as director Michael Bay continues his obsession with inserting the Army into every moment. Or maybe it’s because not one character in the movie has any sort of depth, arc, or purpose beyond spouting slightly different takes from the same vapid hymn sheet (despite the ever reliable Anthony Hopkins). We were going to complain about the ‘British’ checklist that gets methodically ticked (have fun with a drinking game there) but we no longer have the energy.

Even for fans of the franchise, Transformers: The Last Knight is just rehashing the formula. Optimus Prime has another slow motion beating to near death. Megatron still knows exactly what is happening without anyone ever telling him. And the Army will always arrive to unload every bullet ever made (although we do upgrade to ‘tactical nukes this time’). You’ve seen this movie before. And it does not improve in the telling.

CONTENT – IS ‘TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The opening sequence shows a medieval battle with King Arthur and his knights fighting the Saxons. Siege weapons are in use throwing large balls of flame into the fighters. Several people are shown to be thrown into the air and, later in the scene, on fire. Horses throw their riders and are knocked upside down and to the ground. There is some general battling with swords although no blood or gore is shown apart from right at the end where a drop of blood falls from an upright sword in close up

Several older children are trespassing on a government exclusion zone despite warnings that fatal force will be used. They find a damaged transformer who suddenly comes awake in a jump scare moment. There follows some action with explosions and danger where the children are scared although they had been over-confident earlier.

Optimus Prime arrives at the planet Cybertron and sees it has been devastated. He immediately blames the first robot he sees, a ‘female’ half his size, and attacks her from behind with his sword. He doesn’t ask questions and this aggressive act from a supposedly good character is not a good message, despite the futility of his attack.

Several imprisoned Decepticons are released as part of a deal. There follows a montage ‘introduction’ sequence for each one. Each is aggressive and threatening. One says ‘I’ll suck your brains!’. As their release is being negotiated human characters are reading out the crimes committed, such as for one of them stating, ‘double homicide, triple homicide, 9 people dead’.

The head of an evil Decepticon from the earlier movies is found and held aloft several times.

An English woman, Vivian, is introduced as a main character and as a professor and doctor at Oxford university. When she goes to her home her family are there. They are unimpressed by any of her intellectual achievements and instead deride her for not yet finding a man, or a woman, to be with. This includes them reading from the classified ads in the papers to find her someone and talking about ‘BBW’ (explaining it means ‘big beautiful women’) and that one ‘has a dungeon’.

Later two characters quiz a male character on when they last had sex. He is annoyed and says it was ‘a while ago’ but they keep pressing him to talk about it even though he clearly doesn’t want to.

When Vivian and Cade go to Vivian’s house to look for something her family are still there and assume that Vivian has brought Cade back to have sex with him. They go into an upstairs study and start roughly moving furniture around to search for something. Vivian’s family hear the noises and exclamations of effort and assume they are having sex, much to their delight. One says ‘I’m going to have a look!’ before being chided by the others back into listening.

Despite having no attraction to him throughout the film, when Vivian sees Cade with his shirt off she suddenly gets bashful and stammers. Cade has a transformer device that is wriggling around his body and it slides over his stomach and into his pants. Vivian suggests he should take them off, but they are interrupted before he can respond.

Some astronauts are seen inside the International Space Station. They are warned it is going to be destroyed. A large object passes over it until it is out of sight and presumably those inside are killed.

A previously ‘good’ character is corrupted into acting evilly. They are threatening and attack the ‘good’ characters. The character growls, ‘I will kill you’. A battle lasts around 5 minutes before matters develop.

One charismatic character is thrown into the air in an explosion. They land bodily. Someone comes running to assist them but it is too late. They have an emotional farewell before the character dies.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT’ OK FOR KIDS?

Only in comparison to other Transformers movies could you say that this one is an improvement when it comes to questionable humour derived from casual sexism. The movie still plays fast and loose with any character’s motivations, abilities, or even personality. The result is that ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is more a sequence of events than a coherent story. The events have tons of action which is enjoyable in the immediacy of it, but the sheer volume of bad language combined with the stereotypically teenager-centric lowest common denominator humour means that we would caution that this movie is not suitable for children under 12.

  • Violence: 3/5 (the violence is almost entirely robot on robot and so involves mechanical ‘injuries’. Some oil or green discharge leak out much like blood and the transformers wince or groan in pain)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (one young character talks about her family who have been killed. She is extra upset when further characters become lost to her)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (the large, loud robots may scare younger children)
  • Sexual Content: 4/5 (much of the humour is derived from sexual suggestion)
  • Bad Language: 5/5 (the bad language is near constant. We stopped counting after the first hour)
  • Dialogue 4/5 (a lot of threatening dialogue is used throughout)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of warmongering, revenge, prophecy, secret organisations, anti-intellectualism, and doomsday.

Words by Mike Record

 

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