Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Back from a small hiatus with a film that not only has the audacity to be bad, but knock my faith in the general public down to an all-time low. That’s not hyperbole either. (Sigh) Here are my thoughts on the new Bayformers flick.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
 That’s it. The joke’s not funny anymore. Game over, man, game over. After really quite rating the first film and disliking the second, I really wanted this installment to be good. I like to think this blog and the Transformers films have ties from the start as 2007’s Transformers was the first film I ever reviewed on this site. It was also one of the films that inspired me to stand up (or more accurately, sit down) and rally against those pretentious movie critics and those irritating “Arthouse or GTFO” types that seem to exist purely to make me feel bad for liking fun films. Dark of the Moon was getting a critical drubbing and so I saw an opportunity to stick up for this latest slice of Bayhem and once again wear my swanky “Internet Defender” hat. Thing is- this is indefensible. It’s excess in every way apart from the things that make a good film. I hate to add my voice to the crowd, but Dark of the Moon is shit. No colourful metaphors, no logically unsound similies- it’s godawful. More venom after the plot summary.

“Bee, there’s something else going on here. The moon programme, the cover-ups, the assassinations, it’s all led to this…”

Dark of the Moon continues with the war between mankind and the Decepticons, with the humans having help from the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen). It transpires that the moon landing was a cover-up to investigate a crashed ship from Cybertron, the Transformer homeworld, and it may hold the present day answer to ending the war. Bland human Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBoeuf) is out of college and struggling to get a job in the real world, needing the money after spending his savings on a blonde RealDoll (Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely) to replace the brunette one he had in the first two films. A visit to the moon yields an unexpected bounty in the form of legendary Autobot Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy). Can he be the answer to stopping the madness?  The plot is stupid, but at least coherent enough to follow. Shia LaBoeuf’s fairly likeable nerd in the first film has changed into a self-righteous bellend. It’s hard to empathise with a character who has a Victoria’s Secret model as a girlfriend and whose only real complaint is that he wants to save the world again. Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely is there for the camera to drunkenly leer at and delivers such a flat peformance I started to miss Megan Fox. Johns Turtturo and Malkovich are both slumming it way too much and, just to make things more irritating, Ken Jeong from The Hangover films turns up, doing his Offensive Asian Stereotype schtick to the delight of fucking nobody.

Are these films the most expensive adverts in history? If not, they’re certainly close. There are even more robots this time (although thankfully racist fuckspods Skids and Mudflap are absent) and I hated all of them. The only Autobot I like is Bumblebee- a) because he can’t talk and b) I liked him in the first film. Optimus Prime is a sanctimonious metallo-cunt this time round and none of the others are characterised enough for you to even remember what they look like, let alone feel anything towards them. The toy shilling is even more transparent this time, with Optimus Prime being the perfect example of this. Every single time he’s fighting, he has a new weapon or accessory, making me painfully aware there was a little plastic replica of each look sitting on the shelves of the nearest toystore. It got to the point where I kept imagining little copyright symbols after each name was mentioned:  Oh hey, look it’s Optimus Prime with authentic battle damage! He’s trying to use the Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime to fight Megatron. It got distracting wondering which of the giant robots farting about on screen were actually choking hazards for the under threes.

The point that’s brought up over and over again for this film is “well, it’s just robots beating seven bells out of each other, blah blah flawed argument blah”. I would normally be right with these people, but I can’t jump on that particular bandwagon this time. An hour and a half passes before we get to the all-out robot war and up until this point, it’s mostly just lazy exposition and lowest common denominator “comedy”. It was interesting to note that the same people laughing at the shit jokes in the film were the ones laughing at the trailer for Zookeeper beforehand- i.e. fucking idiots. It was almost painful to sit through Sam’s annoying parents embarrassing him for the umpteenth time or have people laughing at Wheelie and the other one from the second film. Fuck people. If they want to gibber like braying tossdonkeys let them do that on their own time, in their own homes, for God’s sake don’t encourage them.

On the other hand, the effects are impressive (as they’d better be for the ridiculous budget) and the action is well done. Whilst 3D hinders most films in the way they’re shot, it actually seems to have helped Michael Bay as he can no longer use his trademark spastic close ups and has to settle for more wide angles and even more slow motion than before. It’s bad combating bad. The 3D is alright, but most of the time I forgot I was wearing the glasses because something shit was happening on-screen. The wingsuit bit is the standout sequence though, with the 3D actually augmenting something for a change.

“You are not a soldier. You are a messenger. You’ve always been a messenger.

So yeah, it’s not a good film. It’s way too fucking long, it’s boring, it’s painfully unfunny and it takes too long to actually get to the robots hitting each other. It’s pretty violent too, with spines being ripped out and all the robots now having blood-like red oil for some reason- an odd choice considering it’s a toy advert. The Transformers series is dead to me. Dark of the Moon is better than Revenge of the Fallen, but not by nearly enough to make it worth a watch.

4 thoughts on “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

  1. I wasn't going to see this one anyway, so I can't honestly say that you've saved me from the horror, or even saved me any money. But I have enjoyed the review.

  2. Firstly, I got put on to this blog by a friend of a friend who said you wrote for Brighton's Uni paper or something. Sat down and read through the whole thing a few weeks ago and thought it was all brilliant (with the exception of you claiming 'Scarface' to being over-rated, that's just wrong).Nonetheless, you hit the nail on the head with this review, really hope they don't make anymore. The whole Chernobyl plot line was offensive and in very poor taste, and what is with the title? Clearly Pink Floyd's lawyers stepped in!Cheers, James!

  3. Wow! Well thanks for your kind words (we'll ignore the Scarface thing :P)! I had noticed some traffic from your blog and clicked my way through. It's really good and I like the fact it covers both films and games- my two great loves. Concerning Transformers- the Chernobyl thing was shocking- I was going to mention it, but other reviews were already banging on about it so I decided I'd better not. It is ridiculous though, no need for that to be in there. I reckon Bay had been playing himself some Modern Warfare and liked the setting. As for the title- I think you're right- especially as they say "the dark side of the Moon" throughout the film. Anyway- thank you very much for reading and I hope you continue to. Will check out your blog more often now you're back writing! Peace x

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