Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Transformers: The Last Knight
Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Art Marcum, Akiva Goldsman, Matt Holloway, and Ken Nolan
Michael Bay. A director that has film after film destroyed more Transformers movies than Decepticons have Autobots. This film is pure awful. Not even Mark Wahlberg with old familiar faces of Josh Duhamel and John Turturro can save this film. It is not their fault. It is a convoluted script and several ideas that initially seem neat, but never get solidified or utilized fully. I blame that on the four writers. Somewhere along the process someone gave up. At least that is what this story impresses upon me.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens with a brilliant idea. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are at battle with savages which could signal the end of times. Merlin reaches out to a crash landed Transformer who gives him a staff to use to command the Cybertron Knights whom all form a three headed dragon. Now this is a neat way to explain dragons and other mythical beasts. Yet as soon as we cut back to modern day this idea dies quickly and so does any chance at making this film decent. Then we get a quick introduction on the whereabouts of Optimus Prime. He is set off to return to Cybertron and meet his makers. He comes home to an essentially dead planet ruled by Quintessa. She states her staff is the key to destroy Earth also known as Unicron to give life to Cybertron again. Poor Earth. Always about to be destroyed. This is the reason why Transformers keep coming to Earth. Okay…moving on. Quintessa captures and ‘transforms’ Prime into a bad guy to do as she commands. Cybertron is now set on course for Earth.
Wahlberg is still hanging with the remaining Autobots and soon a new young girl is attached to the gang. Why? Well need to add some girl power to the mix. Then we get Anthony Hopkins who between him and his transformer robot/butler give the films at least some comedic moments. Wahlberg is given a talisman by a dying Autobot and we are told this makes him the ‘last knight’. Nothing else is given as to what this does or what really this means. Other than a sword appearing to block a blow to kill Optimus we really don’t get to understand or see what big a deal this meant for the overall storyline. This is obviously where a good idea died off in the writing process. If the devil is in the details this is a huge one to let slip by. Then they add in an English professor who also happens to be the last descendant of Merlin so blah blah blah blah romantic interest for Wahlberg. Cliché and boring!
Trying to tie all this together is like watching a train wreck for two hours in slow motion. Every good idea that got setup in the beginning is just blown up in a spectacular array of explosions which the director is famously known for. So how to take this convoluted film and elevate it to something worthy of a second viewing? By actually having the talisman mean something in the film. Have it do more for Wahlberg. Have it allow him to transform a bit in the sense he can take on Decepticons even. It gave him a sword when Optimus was about to be killed, but earlier when Bumblebee was about to die the talisman didn’t do anything. Deus Ex Machina if you ask me. Establish that the talisman would not only protect Wahlberg, but also allow him to see weaknesses in transformers. This way you give Wahlberg a bigger role. The film is essentially built around him anyways. Run with that. Yet this talisman becomes a failed plot device both figuratively and literally. Additionally, if Optimus was first to take off towards battle, then why is he the last to arrive to the battlefield after like five plus minutes of scene time? Did he have to make a pit stop? I know going into a Bay film not to expect Shakespeare, but these four writers should be ashamed of themselves. I am amazed that one of these writers worked on ‘A Beautiful Mind’, and another two worked on ‘Iron Man’. Just goes to show that bad writing can happen to anyone.
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