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By Subhash K. Jha 


Film: "Transformers: The Last Knight"; Director: Michael Bay; Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera, Glenn Morshower, John Turturro and Tony Hale

 

Welcome to the age of rage.

The war between constantly-transmuting machines and human beings that started in the first "Transformers" film ten years ago has now reached a point of no return. Or a point of illimitable returns, if you look at the collections of the latest film which are impressive in spite of the savage worldwide reviews.

And what exactly are the critics so offended by? "Transformers: The Last Knight" breaks none of the rules that director Michael Bay had set in the first film of the franchise in 2007. Bay adds renewed vigour in the battle between Man and Machine as he takes the story back by many centuries to give us a direct link between the outerspace invasion by the machines and Merlin, the inebriated magician in 484 AD.

Here, I must mention that I found the legendary Stanley Tucci's magician far more entertaining that Shah Rukh Khan's Goga Pasha in "Tubelight". Tucci plays Merlin as a tipsy mischievous over-aged brat with a sense of propriety hanging out of his slurring tongue even when civilisation is threatened with extinction.

Bay has a great sense of fun underlining even his most grim apocalyptic thesis on the ruination of civilisation. Here in the fifth "Transformers", he is on sturdy ground, enabling him to create visual splendour on a scale that's both awesome and believable. The relentlessly sweaty narrative is occasionally let down by actors who don't get the joke, who play their characters far too seriously.

For example, the little girl Isabela Moner who plays the very important character of the under-age drifter who befriends the Transformers and wages her own battle against their extinction.

Not the young girl's fault, but she just doesn't get the point. She struggles to convey gravitas where giggles are the order of the (Michael) Bay. I couldn't help remembering the little girl in Logan and her resilient and powerful rapport with Hugh Jackman. Here in "Transformers", Mark Wahlberg keeps saying the the girl is "family".

We just have to take his word for it.

Not that the franchise takes a beating for the want of intrinsic credibility. "Transformers: The Last Knight" moves at a rapid fire speed generating mayhem from the brittle life forces of a virtual reality. The transmutant special effects are bigger, larger and more vibrant than ever before.

Bay's forte is spectacle. He clogs the screen with a retinue of remarkable visuals, some so awe-inspiring that they leave you wondering how on earth (and other planets) can such cinematic splendour of such interplanetary proportions be achieved.

If you are looking for the human touch as ceaselessly altering machines invade earth, there is plenty of that happening with great actors like Anthony Hopkins and John Turturro pitching in with their muted might to create a world where, as Man and Machine compete hard to be mean, they generate a kind of unrehearsed humour and warmth that comes to a Big Screen Spectacle only when the director is sure he has nothing to prove anymore in the given franchise.

Adroitly assembled, sinewy and savage, supple and funny, "Transformers" in its latest avatar is far more impressive than you expect it to be.

 

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