If Wednesday's trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight revealed anything about Michael Bay's final Transformers movie, it's that Sir Anthony Hopkins' talents are likely not going to waste this time around. Indeed, it might take every ounce of the man's acting ability to try and imbue the dialogue of his character with some meaning, given how absurdly generic it actually is.
In total, the Last Knight trailer is a mix of the unexpected - who would have thought a series about giant robots that turn into cars would have medieval knights in it, or that Mark Wahlberg apparently screams in pain when his hair is wet? - and the impressively vague. What is the actual plot of The Last Knight? Who knows, but it does involve robots punching each other, Optimus Prime getting robot-brainwashed and having purple eyes. And lots of explosions.
It also includes Sir Anthony doing his best to turn what are meaningless phrases into foreboding-sounding warnings in a way that almost disguises the fact that the actual dialogue doesn't just fail to reveal any actual information about the plot of Transformers: The Last Knight, it seems so disconnected from the Transformers-ness of it all that his lines could have been lifted from any other melodrama in recent years. Let's consider the evidence.
"It started as a legend … one of the greatest of all. For a thousand years, we've kept it hidden, to protect Earth from what was destined to arrive."
A good opening, promising an epic tale literally a millennium in the making. Again, quite how that jibes with the Transformers mythology - which as recently as the previous movie was revealed to have been around since prehistoric times, thereby making a thousand years seem unambitious - remains to be seen, but, sure. As the first line of a trailer, it works fine, even if it's a little incongruous.
"These are troubled times. Without leaders, chaos reigns. Two worlds colliding. You're all that stands in its way."
Putting aside the by-now-traditional "you are the chosen one" last sentence, this excerpt feels more like Hopkins is idly thumbing his way through the "things go wrong" section of The Idiot's Guide to Writing Fortune Cookies than actually saying a coherent line of dialogue. Really, if this doesn't turn out to be a quote from some kind of written prophecy, or else heavily edited from a longer monologue, perhaps we should be worried about the state of mind of Sir Anthony's character in the movie.
"And now, the greatest mission of all, to turn the tide of human history."
Sure, that definitely sounds like a great mission, but also one that curiously undersells the momentousness of what has to be done, while also overselling the movie's impact. "Turn the tide of human history"? And fighting with Transformers is going to do that? No wonder Bay is leaving the series after this one - how could he top this? It's just one step away from Transformers 6: Oh, Yeah, This Time They Meet God, And He's a Transformer.
"The imminent destruction of everything we know and love begins."
Let's overlook the question of whether something is still imminent if it's actually beginning at that moment, and again look to the sheer grandiose nature of this sentence and lack of any real content beyond generic doomsaying. What is causing the destruction? Is it the two worlds colliding? Which worlds? What does this have to do with evil Optimus Prime? Or Wahlberg's advice to the new teen girl about drummers? Or exploding police cars? Or anything else in this trailer?
Of course, it's not just Hopkins who has to deal with this none-more-vanilla foreshadowing; Laura Haddock shows up towards the end of the trailer to announce, "When all seems lost, a few brave souls can save everything we've ever know." Again, it's an almost meaningless sentence that could have come from any trailer for any movie which sees the world in peril, but if nothing else, its delivery shows just how much Sir Anthony brings to his own share of such sentences. At least when he says them, you feel, if only for a second, as if he might mean what he's saying, as empty as his words might be.
Transformers: The Last Knight is due in theaters June 23.