Paramount Pictures 2 hours 29 minutes PG-13
Michael Bay lives up to his reputation directing this latest Transformers jam packed with stars in action overdrive. This is a green screen fest that cost more than $200 million to make. It starts with fireballs hurtling toward King Arthur in 1600 era England and ends with Armageddon hurtling more death and destruction towards Stonehenge in the present. Stanley Tucci gets into the Arthurian scene as an inexplicable boozy version of Merlin.
From past to present Michael Bay jams in every action genre: outer space, underwater, in the skies, magic and dystopian end-of-days into one seemingly endless series of action sequences shot in IMAX 3D. None of them done particularly well. You’ll be kept awake with explosions from beginning to end in these drawn out battles. The fight resurrects your good old favorite Transformers in a global battle to find the secrets of the past so they can save the world.
Mark Wahlberg is back as the wiseass Cade Yaeger, on the run, joined by the usual cast of Transformers brought back from near extinction. You’ll recognize the voices of Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, Erik Aadahl as Bumblebee, John Goodman is back as the cigar toting Hound, Ken Watanabe as Drift, Steve Buscemi as Daytrader and more.
There are some new Transformers and engaging bots, too. (More for the toy marketers.) The butler to Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) is a proper English bot with a snide, almost streetwise attitude. He even looks a bit like C3PO. Didn’t quite fit. Hopkins, is pretty matter of fact in his role as a catalyst to unlock the secrets. But the cast says he really was great fun on the set.
A new character in the film is young teen, Isabela Moner, as Izabella. She’s the tough kid who loves the Transformers and joins the adventure. She has a bot sidekick that reminded us of a Wall-E/R2D2 combo that is cute warm and loyal. Moner says one of the first things Michael Bay did was hand her a fire extinguisher telling her she had to know how to use one. No problem. Her father is a fire fighter. She also says she liked seeing her face big in 3D, pimples and all!
The sets are massive and the replica built of Stonehenge is impressive. There is plenty of rockin’ and rollin all over huge structures with bots going in and out of formation throughout. We saw it in 3D and took off the glasses here and there to see how Bay used it. Whenever things and people are being hurled, he amps up the effect to come right at you.
The female lead is Laura Haddock as Viviane Wembly. Haddock is no stranger to action flicks. She’s been part of the Marvel universe in both Guardians of the Galaxy films, and Captain America: The First Avenger. She admits that Wahlberg warned her about the challenge of being in a Bay directed film and got very close with her stunt double, trying to do as many as she could herself. She says she was wired and strapped to be flown in front of a green screen a lot.
Josh Duhamel goes from being a Captain in 2007, to a Major in 2009 to Lennox in 2011 to Colonel William Lennox in this latest Transformers. As a member of the TRF, Transformers Response Force. He’s supposed to be helping eradicate Transformers, but sympathizes when he realizes they're not the bad guys.
There are a ton of props, moving parts, incredibly huge sets, people and debris falling everywhere. And it goes on forever. The film is 2 and a half hours long, but stay for the credits. Looks like these monsters of disguise will be back to blow things up yet another day. But will you?