Monday, June 26, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight [2017]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (1 Star)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Transformers: The Last Knight [2017] (directed by Michael Kay, screenplay by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Ken Nolan, story by Akiva GoldsmanArt MarcumMatt Holloway and Ken Nolan) continues a financially successful (if somewhat diminishingly successful) movie franchise [wikip] based on the Transformer Toys [wikip]  involving two races of giant shape-shifting Robots who've come to Earth with quite mixed motives and in previous episodes have wreaked havoc with contemporary humanity.

In the current episode, humanity seems to have regained some control over its destiny and its relations with the leftover transformer robots in its midst has deepened / become more complex.  Some humans seem to have established a more or less friendly relationship with many of the left-over robots, while others, based on past violent recent history, continue to see them as enemies and in as much as possible want to see them expunged from the earth.  For their part, some of the Transformer robots have proven to be quite kindly / protective of humanity, while others remain a threat.

The current film conflates elements of the legends surrounding King Arthur / Merlin the Magician with other elements from the more recent story of The Da Vinci Code and invites Viewers to believe that the history of interaction between the Transformer Robots and humanity is actually much longer and more complex than previously imagined producing a Transformer Robot / Ancient Aliens [wikip] [IMDb] mash-up of sorts.

Over the years, I've found the Transformer films to be fascinating from a sociological / psychoanalytical point of view.  After all, why would TENS OF MILLIONS of viewers pay good money (smiling from-ear-to-ear, buckets of popcorn in their laps, beverages of choice at their sides...) to sit through two-and-a-half hour to three hour (!!) "Transformer" films in which two races of GIANT shape-shifting transformer robots beat the daylights out of each other, laying to waste huge sections of earthly cities in the process, while "little people" (us) watch helplessly by?

Is this how a surprisingly large portion of humanity sees our world today -- that GIANT "shape shifting" heartless-metallic forces "above them" are battling it out, and that all most of us can do is ... watch (and perhaps occasionally ... duck)?

Anyway, this has been a strange, if IMHO also strangely fascinating series that while never destined for "Oscar Glory" offers an oddly disconcerting view of a good part of contemporary humanity.  

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