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Preview: Transformers – The Last Knight

Transformers was one of the first franchises to get a modern movie refurbishment and it was met with mixed opinions. Some loved it, some hated it and most sat somewhere in the middle. I was one of the ones who loved it. The first movie Transformers (2007) was great, it was giant robots fighting and looking awesome, watching Optimus Prime lay into Megatron on the big screen in some dazzling special effects was awesome. It’s a damned shame it went downhill fast…

The films seemed to get successively more absurd as their budgets increased. Becoming longer and more spectacular as you go but losing a lot in their plot strength… something they didn’t have to lose. Sure they looked real pretty but they became tedious to watch, Dark of the Moon ran for 154 minutes and by the end you were begging for the credits to roll out so you could leave.

If, like me, you haven’t seen the fourth movie, Age of Extinction, then you will want to catch it before going to see The Last Knight. It leads pretty aggressively into the final instalment in the series, so much so that I had no idea what was going on as the preview began. That being said, the 20 minutes of teaser footage did a pretty great job of sinking it’s metallic claws into me!

Before the viewing began we were treated so free goodies on every seat and an incredible performance by the PR team, giving away Transformers goodies and tickets to the Premiere. One guy screamed the house down when he won, I’ve never seen or heard anyone more excited. We all held our breath as he ran down the steps with reckless abandon to collect his tickets, fearful that he’d fall and seriously injure himself. They did a great job of building an energetic atmosphere, which I feel helped get the audience in the best frame of mind for receiving the never-before-seen footage.

We also got a brief introduction from Michael Bay himself, talking about how he always said this was the final one and was determined to go out with a bang as well as showcasing the IMAX 3D dual camera rig to produce the best 3D viewing experience, exclusively for IMAX.

The preview opened with an action packed battle between two medieval forces, one lead by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Immediately you could see the dynamic dual-rig coming into its own, providing a spectacular depth of field. Even without 3D glasses on, the picture leapt out of the screen. Making such a big fuss about his fancy camera setup was/is completely justified it seems!

Mark Wahlberg reprises his role as Cade Yeager, the struggling inventor, does a great job. Sounds weird but hear me out. He does a great job of staying true to his character, appearing very out of place in some areas but completely at home in others. The previous movie sees Cade becoming a certified badass, going toe-to-toe with the Decepticons on more than one occasion. However when the junkyard tinkerer gets dragged to the eccentric Anthony Hopkins’ aristocratic castle retreat he feels horribly out of place. It works brilliantly for the scene we saw, introducing him to the refined Vivian Wembley, played by Laura Haddock.

The Last Knight looks set to keep the humorous charms of the previous films but often it’s the less intended moments that find you laughing and with the more obvious jokes falling a little flat. They come across as either forced or just overplayed and a little drawn out, which is a shame but not a deal breaker.

Visually the footage was stunning as to be expected. Bay said he was going out with a bang and there’s sure to be plenty of bang for your buck where The Last Knight is concerned. The use of the IMAX 3D camera rig really add something to the huge fireballs and epic fight scenes, lending them a depth not seen before. The Transformers themselves briefly featured in the preview footage, but those we saw were immaculately well designed, especially Cogman (at least I hope his name was Cogman), the butler-bot.

As a preview teaser, it did a fantastic job of getting you hooked into the story. You’d sink into a scene just enough that when they transitioned to somewhere else you were disappointed you didnt get to see how it played out. I, like many others, left the theatre dying to see more and wanting to know how it pans out. Something I never thought I’d say while walking in. The trailer drew alot of speculation as it showed Optimus enaging Bumblebee in a fight, leaving fans wondering waht would drive the pair to attack each other. Not to spoil anything but it seems like Optimus may have been brain-washed (reprogrammed?) by some kind of higher power, and lead to believe Bumblebee and those with him are really his enemies, however this is kept understandably hazy. Can’t give it all away, right?

Based purely on the preview footage, Transformers – The Last Knight looks pretty promising. It looks stunning and the story looks to be engaging, the characters (new and old) look interesting and well thought out and utilised. The previous movies may have had a rocky past but the new one looks to make up for all that and then some!

I look forward to catching it in the full IMAX 3D experience upon release June 23.

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