Is "Transformers: The Last Knight" the best one yet?

By Casey Chong

A scene from "Transformers: The Last Knight".

Transformers is back, and so is Michael Bay.

Although the filmmaker with a penchant for all things 'boom' was supposed to quit the franchise a long time ago via 2011's "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon", he made a U-turn and came back to direct "Transformers: Age Of Extinction", and here he is again for the fifth time in a row.

Bay may have been heavily criticised for somewhat ruining the 1980s legacy of the "Transformers" for his fondness of over-directing a movie that runs too long for its own good, but the "Transformers" franchise remains as an entertaining guilty pleasure.

The upcoming fifth instalment will follow the same trend one way or another, only this time we have a feeling that "Transformers: The Last Knight" might turn the tables around with the franchise's overhaul to make way for a new direction.

So, here are our five reasons the fifth "Transformers" movie should be on your watchlist.

1. Optimus Prime gone rogue

Optimus Prime rips Bumblebee apart in "Transformers: The Last Knight".

Have you seen the latest international trailer? In it, there is a footage where Optimus Prime says, "For my world to live, Earth must die" in an unmistakably ominous voiceover narration. Apparently, the good ol' Prime has gone bad or should we say, "turned his back on family". Sounds familiar? Is "Transformers: The Last Knight" heading in the same route like Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto did in "Fast & Furious 8"? In fact, there's even a scene in the trailer where Prime fights Bumblebee. It might sound like a radical idea, especially for those who have grown accustomed to Prime's fight-for-honour motto, but after four movies since its inception in 2007, it was actually a nice change of pace to see the screenwriting team taking some initiatives offering the otherwise typical "Transformers" movie a fresh angle.

2. The introduction of its own cinematic universe

A scene from "Transformers: The Last Knight".

Ever since Marvel Studios became enormously popular with their "shared universe" business model, many top studios are trying to replicate the same formula. Now, even the "Transformers" franchise has finally joined the bandwagon. What's particularly interesting about the new shared universe starting with "Transformers: The Last Knight" are the persons behind the screenplay. Led by Oscar-winning veteran screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (2001's "A Beautiful Mind"), the franchise has already initiated their very own "writers' room". For this fifth instalment, the movie enlists recognisable screenwriters including Art Marcum and Matt Holloway of the "Iron Man" fame as well as Ken Nolan, who previously penned Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down". With the divisive screenwriter Ehren Kruger who wrote the previous three movies ("Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen", "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" and "Transformers: Age Of Extinction") already out of the picture, this might be a good chance for the franchise to finally deliver a decent story.

3. A curious but interesting mix of medieval fantasy

Medieval elements will be part of the storyline in "Transformers: The Last Knight".

When the first official trailer for "Transformers: The Last Knight" premiered last December, there was a close-up shot of a sword dripping with blood, followed by a brief footage of knights charging through the jungle with their horses. As more trailers were subsequently unveiled, it was clear that the new "Transformers" had incorporated medieval fantasy in the form of the King Arthur legend. As weird as it may sound, the inclusion of Arthurian legend into a "Transformers" movie is actually inspired by one of the episodes in the 1980s "Transformers G1" (Generation 1) animated series. The episode in question is "A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court", in which the Autobots and Decepticons find themselves mysteriously transported to 543 A.D. Apart from the "Optimus Prime gone rogue" storyline, this is yet another interesting angle worth exploring in "Transformers: The Last Knight" if done right.

4. The live-action version finally introduces Hot Rod

Hot Rod finally makes his live-action debut in "Transformers: The Last Knight".

It's about time that the "Transformers" franchise finally brought over the fan-favourite Hot Rod for his live-action debut in this fifth instalment. Hot Rod, of course, is no stranger to "Transformers" fans having appeared for the first time in "Transformers: The Movie" in 1986. In the animated feature, the overly-confident yet arrogant Hot Rod is famously voiced by Judd Nelson. He eventually became Rodimus Prime after acquiring the Matrix of Leadership to replace Optimus Prime as the new leader of the Autobots. Whether or not "Transformers: The Last Knight" will follow the same route as the 1986 animated feature did the first time around remains to be seen. But for now, it's nice to see Hot Rod finally making an appearance here. Although he doesn't look identical to the animated version, we sure hope Michael Bay and his screenwriting team will do him justice since his role is supposed to be pivotal in the "Transformers" mythology.

5. The return of Bayhem

Bumblebee in action in a scene from "Transformers: The Last Knight".

Let's face it. One of the biggest hooks in the "Transformers" franchise that prevails its longevity no matter how many times naysayers kept dissing the movies is Michael Bay behind the camera. We have to admit that Bay is never a good storyteller, but he sure knows how to deliver blockbuster-sized entertainment ideal for the summer movie season. No matter how divisive his past four movies were criticised, the "Transformers" franchise remains the kind of big-budget blockbuster best experienced on the biggest screen possible. Likewise, "Transformers: The Last Knight" will continue in the same tradition. There will be plenty of money shots, cool action sequences and elaborate special effects that many audiences would want to flock into the cinemas and watch the cinematic mayhem unfold.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" opens in cinemas nationwide on 22 June 2017.

Cinema Online, 18 June 2017

Related Links:
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