Director : Michael Bay
Starring : Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Tyrese Gibson
Running Time : 154 minutes
Release Date : 29th June 2011
Transformers truly deserves the Oscar for best promotional campaign. Whether this review is scathing or not, you’re going to see it anyway and it’s going to be one of the year’s highest earning films. With a badass, eye-popping new movie trailer of a giant mechanical snake tearing down a glass skyscraper, it made me want to go back to this franchise after the awful last film Revenge of the Fallen.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is now among us, reminding us that robots can bleed, age and grow facial hair.
In the 60s, the Kennedy administration learns that a UFO has crash landed on the moon. Eight years later, it’s the first moon landing and visual signals black out so that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin can investigate the spacecraft.
Back in the present day, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is unemployed and living with his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington Whitely). Sam then receives a message that the bad guys, the Decepticons, are planning to attack again and he informs Optimus Prime and the other Autobots. Optimus Prime believes the answer to their problem lies on the moon.
Dark of the Moon begins promisingly by recreating the first moon landing using good special effects and archive footage of Kennedy and Nixon. Then cut, we get a slow-motion, wide shot of Rosie Huntington-Whitely’s bum walking through a room. My hopes were high before I realised this was going to become chaos (or should I say ‘Bay-os’).
Dark of the Moon is so dumb, but I wasn’t bored, nor was I un-entertained half of the time. It took me an hour to realise that this was not meant to be anything serious or intelligent. Then, as it went on, it comes down to a climax which, even though it feels endless, was a mind-blowing experience.
The first half of the movie is so difficult to follow as the editing is all over the place and the dialogue mostly consists of shouting. The first Transformers found time to give the Autobots heart and personality. In this movie, they’re just here and there without bothering to remind us which robot is which. For someone unfamiliar with air force, CIA and weaponry basics, I had trouble following the military side of the film. After an hour, I was too exhausted to give a damn what the characters were saying and so I just rode with the special effects.
So much of the humour feels rather insulting. There’s a scene when someone falls out of a third-story window which causes everyone else in the building to fall into comic relief (one character jokes “Did you guys check out the new sidewalk outside?”). Also, whereas Revenge of the Fallen gave us racial-stereotype robots (who have returned for no reason but to rant slangs and puns), we now have gay jokes. I know this isn’t meant to be serious but the ingredients just do not match.
That said, I did laugh. Ken Jeong (Mr Chow from The Hangover) saves the day and he manages to make bad writing slightly funny in a small role. John Malkovich is kidding with himself as Sam’s boss and he is funny…sometimes.
Does Michael Bay cast his actresses from Victoria’s Secret? Yes, Rosie Huntington-Whitely has an amazing body, a sweet voice and hot lips, and that’s it (and quit pointing the camera at her cleavage). While everything around her is blowing up, she just stands there looking up with one (and I mean one) facial expression whilst her hair blows in the wind in slow-motion. Meagan Fox was Meryl Streep compared to her. I’m showing bias towards Frances McDormand who plays a government agent because she is one of my favourite actresses.
I think the reason I didn’t hate this movie as much as I did with Revenge of the Fallen was because it’s exactly what I thought it was going be – another Michael Bay action film. It has everything – loud destruction, explosions, shaking camera, slow-motion action and not one unattractive woman in sight. You are in Transformers only for the special effects and Michael Bay’s unsubtle approach is at times very exciting. By having the climatic battle in the city of Chicago, it had more to offer than the climax in Revenge which was just two giant bits of metal bashing each other in the desert for an hour. Only when it ends did the movie seem boring again.
Think of Dark of the Moon more as an experience if you’re willing to overcome the stupidity. If you’re looking for a coherent story with character development, this movie is not up your alley.