The First Film vs The Last (Knight)!

Discussion in 'Transformers: The Last Knight & Sequels' started by Grootster, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Grootster Dancing Tree

    May 10, 2017
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    I finally watched Transformers: The Last Knight, and wanted to do a comparison between this and the first film (2007). I've been working on this essay for a few days, hopefully it's not too long.

    The 2007 Film
    I know a lot of people enjoy this one some people even consider it a legitimately good movie. To be honest, I don't really understand that at all. I tried rewatching it last year for the first time in almost a decade, and it wasn't any better than how I remember it. It was actually worse. The first half is almost intolerable. If I ever watch the 2007 film again there will be a lot of fast-forwarding. The stuff with Sam's school/love life is atrocious and painful. It's easy to forget you're watching a Transformers movie during the first half.

    Almost everyone in this movie is either unlikable or boring. Sam and his parents are especially unlikable. I hate to beat the dead horse, but the robot designs are terrible, they're not very distinct from each other. The effects haven't aged well. Most of the humor is bad and blatantly vulgar. It feels like it's trying to avoid any sort of "nerdy" stigma, if that makes sense.

    What do I like? John Turturro's character is fun. I like the idea of Transformers scanning and changing disguises at will. Uhh...I suppose I can give it a little respect for setting the stage for a movie I actually did enjoy watching?

    Transformers: The Last Knight

    Okay, this isn't a good film on a technical level. But I feel like it's a major step up in terms of what I'm looking for in a Transformers movie. First off, it embraces the goofy. We're dealing with robots from space that turn into cars. This does not need to be serious or overly realistic. You want the love interest to be the descendant of a drunk Merlin with an alien dragon? Sounds more interesting then making the love interest "boring high school girl" who falls in love with "boring high school guy".

    This movie is dumb, but it feels like it's self-aware dumb. Maybe not as self-aware as something like GOTG, but I'm pretty sure this movie knows it's stupid. It's not trying to be something great like the first film, it's trying to be a glorified Transformers cartoon. (At least that's how it came across to me.)

    The characters here are actually somewhat likable...and interesting! Cade Yeager is not the greatest character ever, but at least his presence in the movie feels earned. Izzy is possibly my favorite human character in the Transformers brand ever. Anthony Hopkins' character was fun. Viviane was interesting. All of these characters have a connection to the world the movie establishes and a role in the story, even if that role isn't entirely successful.

    The designs have improved vastly. Say what you will about robots with beards smoking cigars, at least the robots are distinct and it's clear the designers were having a lot of fun with the robots. They also have somewhat memorable personalities, even if they could have been developed a bit more. The action in TLK is decently well-choreographed and there's a lot of nice cinematography. There's some legitimately funny humor in there.

    The Last Knight feels ambitious. Maybe a bit too ambitious, but I'd prefer that to no ambition at all. When I watch the '07 movie, I don't really feel like it's part of a larger universe. I feel like a good number of spinoffs could come out of the stuff we see in TLK. The world it creates feels lived-in and intriguing. The destroyed Chicago, Hopkins' castle.

    Overall Thoughts

    In terms of pure technical level, I'll admit that the '07 film is probably better put-together (slightly). But that doesn't excuse the fact that it's boring as heck to me. It feels terribly unambitious and creatively constipated. The best way I can describe the '07 film is that it feels like it was made by someone who was embarrassed to make a movie about toy robots. TLK seems like Michael Bay and/or the writers are finally loosening up and embracing the world they've created. It's like they finally realized it's okay to make a nerd movie.

    If TLK was the first ever Transformers movie I can't help but think the fans (and even the general public) would enjoy it more than they do now. I think the hate is coming more from burnout of the series than anything. I really didn't see a lot to hate in the movie. I had friends tell me they were frustrated while watching it. I didn't get that at all. I enjoyed watching probably 80% of it. There were a couple tedious parts that I could see skipping over on a rewatch, but not nearly as much (or as unwatchable) as the '07 film. I'd much rather be bored in Anthony Hopkins' castle than be bored watching Sam's high school love-life.

    I'm curious what other people think on this. Is TLK getting too much hate? Are people ignoring some of the positive aspects of the movie just because it's cool to hate on this franchise? I've never been a Bay supporter (I was the biggest Bay basher a few years ago), but seeing this movie kind of made me question whether TLK is really deserving of this hate.

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