Tag Archives: transformers the last knight

The Worst and, more importantly, THE BEST of 2017, so far

So, as I am the grand arbiter of all things film, I’m officially calling the summer movie season at its close. Alas Logan Lucky, The Glass Castle, or Annabelle: Creation, you’re all part of the fall movie season. However will you survive?

And at the close of summer movie season, we’re essentially halfway through the movie year. I know we’re more than halfway through the calendar year, but trust me, that back half is always as packed as it gets. There’ll end up being things that are Oscar nominees that aren’t even on our radar right now. The worst movie of the year is likely still yet to come (though it’s hard to imagine right now).

But since I’m a fiend for lists, let’s make one, shall we? Let’s give a few check-ins and see where we are, starting with the worst (because it gets the attention) before taking a full celebration of the best.

Bottom 5 Films of 2017 So Far

5) The Dark Tower

Idris Elba

Ahh, The Dark Tower. The best franchise that will never quite be. Based on Stephen King’s series of epic fantasy western Lovecraftian meta-novels, some much smarter studio could have had a new Game of Thrones on its hands. Alas, it was in the hands of Sony and they instead produced a fall flat on its face. A mess of bad studio production, The Dark Tower wastes its actors, murders its pacing, and takes all the material and tosses it out the window for a mid-90s adaptation premise. Any film that features Matthew McConaughey saying “I see you’re still impervious to my magicks” with a straight face has an uphill battle. The Dark Tower doesn’t win it.

4) The Circle

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A bland mess of technophobia, I really just feel bad for the people involved here. The Circle is Black Mirror without the brains or heart, an aesthetic rip-off by a huge number of people who should be able to make some better stamp. Staring a pitch-perfect satire of late capitalism in the face, The Circle is content to shake its fist at social media and ultimately end up going nowhere.

3) Transformers: The Last Knight

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Look, who the living fuck expects anything out of this franchise at this point? The best Transformers has ever been able to aspire to is Bay’s weird hypercompetencies managing to shine through the material. But when they don’t, it’s the same thing that happens every goddamned time: A mess of story with awful design with a runtime that lasts for aeons.

2) Ghost in the Shell

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A pile-up of decisions so bad that you’re more baffled that it ever happened than mad that someone chose to do it. That all said, this is a film that was never going to be great and still manages to enrage far above its station. A messy script, terrible direction, and boring setpieces would sink any movie, but a movie that white-washes like this one does deserves all the ire that can be thrown. When your material is so fertile with intellect, you can’t be this fucking stupid in putting it together.

1) The Book of Henry

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Colin Trevorrow is a rare sort of filmmaker, one who in a past era would have perhaps been run out of town after town after the people found out his snake oil elixirs just weren’t working. The Book of Henry is his raw nerve put on screen. Excessively manipulative, baffling in every plot point put on screen, and a masterpiece of inhuman behavior, seemingly put together by a man who’s never met a human but is fairly certain he knows how they work. Fuck this movie.

My Review For Transformers: [Insert Subtitle Here]

This is the introduction, penned with a heavy resignation that we’re having to talk about yet another Transformers movie. An acknowledgement that we know how much money these things make, but a veiled statement that their popularity puts them beneath us, as if on the face of it this extraordinarily popular franchise is necessarily different from the other extraordinarily popular franchises that have received breathless praise.

This is the thesis paragraph, leading into a discussion of why this is yet another terrible Transformers movie in terminology that I’ve slightly modulated for about 4 different movies at this point. This may include whatever particular hang-ups I have ranging from (but not limited to:)

  • Michael Bay
    • His busy directorial style
    • His simplistic storytelling
    • His objectification of women
  • General issues with blockbuster filmmaking and the studio system
  • Poor writing and story structure
  • Bad actors/actors slumming
  • Design problems
  • Attachment to the Transformers franchise (non-movie)

I’ll use any combination of these things and maybe throw in a reference to what the last Transformers move I liked/saw was and then also say something disparaging about Age of Extinction. 

Time for the summary paragraph. This one will be entirely tongue in cheek, a reference to the fact that at this point Transformers may not be capable of creating a coherent or sensible story and still maintain its mythology. A few asides and gawps at a truly bizarre story that amounts to “Robots have problems with Other Robots and Humans have problems with those Other Robots.” But it’s also because I hate summarizing a story I liked, much less one I disliked.

Which seems like a good way to transition into the part where I talk about Michael Bay. I’ll talk about how much I love The Rock or Pain & Gain in a way that makes it clear I don’t quite understand the connection between those movies and his more disliked films.

Here I’ll praise Michael Bay, a cliche about how you definitely get what you paid for seeing his movie. Discussing the spectacle, and maybe dusting off that cliche about how you still get the giant robot fights that you expect (though I’ll throw in how Pacific Rim was better).

Here I’ll make fun of Michael Bay. Using some material I cribbed from Tony Zhou most likely, I’ll discuss how Bayhem makes it near impossible to follow the visuals of this film and how it doesn’t matter that giant robots are fighting if you can’t see what the hell is going on.

Now it’s time to get in a further discussion of the weirdness of the plot, segueing out of some joke about how I have no idea what I saw. I’ll throw some praise towards one of the weird elements (Cogman/Hopkins) so I can properly join in on Film Twitter jokes later. But I’ll also talk about some of the bizarre decisions (King Arthur stuff) so I can join in on those jokes as well.

But mostly, this discussion will be talking about how it makes no sense and how hours later I’ve retained nothing, mostly to cover for the fact that I refuse to take notes. Words like nonsense and phrases like garbage fire will be thrown out. At this point I’ll reveal that the thing that was heavily marketed was only in the movie for like five minutes (Optimus Prime being evil) and it’s ridiculous, mostly because I have a film degree and not a marketing degree.

Hell, now seems as good a time as any to also discuss the actors I didn’t throw praise to so I seem even handed. They’re all terrible, of course. Most of my ire is reserved for the completely unbelievable lead (Mark Wahlberg). But I’ll throw some at this movie’s chosen woman (Laura Haddock) for this film and I’ll discuss her objectification (she has something to do this time around) mostly so I can make sure I get the woke points even though I really suck at talking about this stuff. There’s also some weird cameos that are worth mentioning (Stanley Tucci as Merlin, Steve Buscemi as a robot).

Well, at this point, I’ve run out of anything to talk about so I’ll pretend I planned to reach the conclusion at this point. Another summary of what’s terrible and why I dread the next entry in this franchise even though I secretly salivate at the chance to be mean to the next one of these. A few more digs and then a conclusion that I think works as a mic drop.

Grade: Not a total failure, but something that seems sufficiently negative