Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Michael Bay had a lot to prove with the third instalment of his big bot franchise. The scathing reviews of Revenge of the Fallen from nearly every critic who went to see it proved that even giant robots aren’t safe from the picky eyes of the global audience. Now, I may get lambasted for this but I preferred number 2 to number 1, so let’s see if number 3 can impress. 

Here, Bay returns to helm the latest addition: Dark of the Moon, it’s a good film nonetheless but it’s sci-fi themes, more so than in either of the previous offerings fail to provide enough impact to make it the best in the series.

 Transformers: Dark of the Moon picks up three years after the last film and a lot has changed. Sam Witwicky again played by the fantastic Shia LeBeouf is now living in Washington, envious of his new girlfriend Carly Spencer and her fabulous lifestyle. Carly, played by newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whitely is about as wooden as a character can get; Whitely’s performance is very laboured and her on screen scenes suffer as a result; she’s a disappointment in a film that doesn’t really require it’s characters to do much; so that shows how bad she actually is.

 Megan Fox is actually missed this time around, but it’s not too much of a problem because Rosie’s character is given exactly the same clothes, the same pout and practically the same lines.

 Michael Bay has also lined up the legendary John Malkovich as Sam’s troubled new boss, his screen time is worth a watch but he feels wasted considering his lines amount to about 10 minutes of screen time. Patrick Dempsey also stars as good guy gone back; Dylan Gould.

 The special effects coupled with the fantastic 3D make Transformers 3 a spectacle to watch, the bots are seamlessly integrated into the picture alongside their human counterparts and deliver once again, these films really are the pinnacle now for special effects.

 Bay has managed to fashion a half coherent story out of the toy franchise which many critics were sceptical of, but it works really well. The film focuses on the space race of the 60’s and the reasons why the US wanted to beat everyone to the moon. In short, the Decepticons are looking for something that crash-landed on the moon; if they find it, then Cybertron will be reborn, using Earth as a template; oh no!

 The last hour is just carnage, carnage, carnage as the entire city of Chicago is plunged into a post-apocalyptic world where the Decepticons rule and the Autobots are, alongside humans as slaves. Here, Bay really showcases his prowess for stunning cinematography and first class special effects, one scene in particular, involving a glass skyscraper is particularly awe-inspiring.

 Speaking of the robots themselves, all the favourites return with their fantastic voice acting. Peter Cullen delivers Optimus Prime in his usual, gruff manner and a welcome addition is Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy as veteran Autobot leader Sentinel Prime. Hugo Weaving also returns as a rough looking Megatron.

 The problem that blights Transformers 3 is that there’s too much going on. I found myself lost in parts of the story because the film is constantly rushing to get to the next plot line. It’s frustrating that a film franchise criticised for its lack of story is penalised for having too much of one this time around, but this is the case here. As such, some of the best characters don’t get screen time. Josh Duhamel is only in the film for 5 minutes at a time, whilst Sam’s parents only get brief appearances which is a tragic shame as they are, all in all, the best human characters in the franchise.

 Overall, Transformers has become one of my favourite film franchises of all time; it delivers on its promise and doesn’t pretend it’s going to be something else. Yes, they’re far too long (this one is just short of 3 hours), they’re exceptionally loud and mind-numbingly obnoxious but that’s what you should want from an action film. Transformers 3 delivers, and it delivers it like a smack in the face; but it falls down in a couple of areas where the others didn’t.

 Michael Bay is a very talented film director who gives the best out of everything, but in response to his critics from the last movie, he has developed too much of the story and as such, it feels disjointed and ultimately a little disappointing.


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