MoviesWhy People Are Arguing Over What Winston Churchill Would Think of the New Transformers Movie
As you read this, the fifth entry of the storied Transformers film franchise is in production, with countless cast and crew members doing the noble work of telling the stories of the brave Autobots, who have tirelessly labored to defend us unwitting civilians from the threat of the Decepticons. Transformers: The Last Knight promises to be the end of an era, a swan song for director Michael Bay's five-film love letter to explosions and how good computers can make them look. It is also the center of a controversy involving Nazis and Winston Churchill.
That last bit comes courtesy of a late-night shoot for the still-in-production film, wherein Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and ancestral home of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was draped in swastikas and crowded with actors dressed like Nazi troops. This, according to British tabloid The Sun, stirred the ire of some UK veterans, namely Colonel Richard Kemp, who holds that Churchill would "be turning in his grave" over the symbolic disrespect of Churchill's home. (The Sun article does not make clear whether the disrespect stems solely from the swastikas, or also from the existence of a fifth Transformers film.)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, barbs over the perceived slight have been traded back in forth in the UK press all weekend, with Churchill's grandson going so far as to say that this is "The most dismal, idiotic story I've ever read." (Again: It is unclear if he is referring to the swastika kerfuffle or Transformers: The Last Knight.)
Meanwhile, Michael Bay, quite possibly the most genial man in Hollywood considering the way he is routinely discussed on the Internet, has said that Churchill is "a big hero" in his movie and would probably be very proud of his portrayal.
Currently, there is no official plot synopsis for Transformers: The Last Knight, nor is there any way to determine this scene's context. We don't know if it's in bad taste, if it's dumb fun, or if it's just dumb, though one of these is far more likely than the other. What we do know is that this movie will probably make hundreds of millions of dollars, and most of them in China, where this will probably matter much less anyway.