BY ROGER THOMAS
I have written before that the “Transformers” came out after I was too old for miniature robots that transformed in various things. I never watched the cartoons or purchased any of the toys.
But now there are five of these films, and I have seen every one of them. I keep going to the theatre hoping that something will inspire me. This time I did discover a few qualities that I can compliment.
First, the film looks good from start to finish. A few months ago, I charged that the film “King Arthur” had terrible 3-D. The whole film was too dark, especially after one placed the 3-D glasses over their eyes. I did not like “Transformers 5” much more “King Arthur” but one thing is sure, “Transformers” is a visual masterpiece compared to “Arthur.”
As an interesting side-note, in this fifth film, fans find out that Merlin, the wizard from the stories of King Author, met the Transformers centuries ago. Merlin and the Transformers help Arthur and his knights win a battle. I am sure if one is a fan, that must be really exciting.
So, the film looks good, and the 3-D is bright, are there any other redeeming qualities in the film.
I liked the early scene where four young boys meet a young girl as they are exploring the ruins of a sports stadium. Those moments with the children have interesting action and dialogue, and the film would have been better if it had put more focus on the generation whose whole lives have been affected by the robots from space.
There are some funny moments, especially among the Transformers. There are some quiet moments with some of the cast members. Mark Wahlberg’s character can call his daughter but cannot speak to her because he is a “wanted man.” Moments like those are somewhat touching.
On the other end of the spectrum, why did Anthony Hopkins join this cast? I know the answer most likely: money. I kept thinking, “This man played Hannibal Lector; why is he in a “Transformers” film?” Beside Wahlberg and Hopkins, the only other recognizable person I saw in the cast is Stanly Tucci who plays Merlin.
The other problem with this series is that if offers more of the same repeatedly. There will be several battles, in which the good guys, lose because Optimus Prime is not there. Then there will be a final battle that first goes against the good guys, and then shifts with the help of Optimus Prime will show up at the last minute. No one should be surprised that the battle ends up with the heroes winning rather than the villains.
So here it is. If you love special effects, flat dialogue, a few good moments, lots of chaos, and a set up for “Part Six,” this is probably the film for you. It certainly seemed to please the people around me.
On the other hand, if you want story over effects, something different rather than the same old things, smart dialogue instead mindless banter, you want something more than the “Transformers.” I agree with you one hundred percent.
The original film, “Transformers” came out in 2007. It starred Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and Academy Award winning actor, Jon Voight. Few of us would have ever guessed that a decade later, there would still be an interest in “Transformers.” But there is.
My guess is that Michael Bay will strive for five more. So, why don’t he change the story? Let all the bad Transformers break down and the good ones start building homeless shelters. Rather than participating in destruction, the benevolent Transformers change the world for good and along the way, they change a few human hearts. Would it not be great if “Transformers 6: Rise of Benevolence” became the greatest “Transformers” film ever.
Roger Thomas is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association. He reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.