Transformers: Dark of the Moon – A Review

So, another “must see” 3D title is here, and this time it’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D. Strap yourself in for a action packed ride in 3D! Did i mention it was in 3D? Yes yes, I am being sarcastic, but with good reason. I mildly enjoyed Avatar and I thought it looked great, yet the film itself was lacking a great deal. Specifically, decent story. Step Up: 3D was great for a cheesy 3D flick, as was Final Destination 3D, but the final straw for me was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Was it even shot in 3D? Because I couldn’t tell. Then another final straw came in the shape of Clash of the Titans. I actually watched half of that film with the glasses off! But then the final, FINAL straw came with Green Lantern. I wanted to like that film so much but it just took itself too seriously and the 3D wasn’t particularly impressive. So after seeing trailer upon trailer for Transformers in 3D, I was adament that I was going to give it a miss. But after reading only positive reviews from bloggers around the world, and in particular positive reviews of the 3D aspect, I decided to cave in and give it a go.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon introduces us to an alternate version of history, ala the opening of Watchmen but no way near as good, where the space race of the 1960s was instigated by an alien life form crashing into the moon. Low and behold, this “alien” life form was none other than the former leader of the Transformers, Sentinel Prime. He is rescued and brought back to Earth by the Autobots, but as you would expect, those pesky Deceptacons have ulterior motives and a war between the Autobots and the decptacons ensues. Of Course Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) finds himself at the centre of the war due to his closeness to the Autobots and needs to be saved from constant danger. It’s not all bad for poor old Sam though, as after having been dumped by Megan Fox, he finds himself a new, even hotter girlfriend in the form of English model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. So, would this film restore my faith in 3D films? And is it actually any good? The answer to both those questions i’m afraid, is yes AND no.

 

The 3D visuals in this film are FANTASTIC! I know people use Avatar as a bench mark for what 3D should be (I still say Final Destination 3D should be the bench mark, but hey, who am I?) but this definitely equals Avatar at times. Some of the action set pieces are stunning and the camera work is amazing. The stunts are huge, the robot fights are immense and the camera goes everywhere. The fact that the back drop to Transformers is a real city and not the computer generated Pandora only adds to the films achievements as the last set piece is techinically one of the best actions sequences I have seen in a while. The wide helicoptor shots of Chicago with robots atop Trump Tower are just breath taking. After about an hour into the film when you are given your first full on Robot vs. Robot fight, I thought this is going to be one of the best action films i’ve seen all year, if not the best 3D film i’ve seen, ever! Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
You see, the reason I answered “yes AND no” to my earlier question, is that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is basically two films. There’s the good stuff when the Transformers are fighting, and then there is everything else. And i have to say, everything else ain’t pretty. The rest of Transformers is HORRIBLE and I can’t remember the last time i rolled my eyes in disgust so much at a film. Even The Human Centipede got a “meh” from me, but this film is scarier than The Full Sequence will ever be. The acting – terrible. The dialogue – terrible. The directing without robots – terrible. With the majority of the film being so bad, it ultimately took away any enjoyment I might have had in the robot sequences. I was so bored and frustrated through the rest of the film that I found it impossible to get excited the overly long 45 minute finale.

The first big problem I had was the film’s need to force feed us Sam Witwiky’s new relationhip with sexed up Brit, Carly. The first shot we see of her, is literally a close up of her arse-cheeks. Yes yes, teens and adults alike all enjoyed looking at a sweaty, sexy Megan Fox, but this was just ridiculous. The film seems so desperate to justify this new relationship, that Michael Bay crams in scenes of them kissing or of cheesy flashbacks to when they first met, or forced dialogue referring to Sam being dumped. It’s just all too much, as one second you’re trying to watch an action film, but the next minute the films turns into Dawson’s creek complete with the slow-mo and acoustic guitar sundtrack. It feels like two different films have been stitched together but the Dawson’s Creek-esque parts are more embarassing than romantic. Not to mention the fact that she is WAY out of his league, it’s unture. Now these may sound like the words of a bitter man, and they probably are, but for the sake of verisimilitude one might deem it plausible that in Transformers parts 1 and 2, Sam and Mikaela go through this life changing experience therefore making Sam and Mikaela’s relationship a reality. But here, they are just thrown together after meeting for a brief second and they become soul mates? Pur-lease. And if you have to hook Sam up with a hottie, which to be fair, they did…at least get one that can act! For all Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s beauty, you never see any emotion on her face, only those pouty, pouty lips. “Just let it go, Dean” you say. “It doesn’t matter if she can act, she is the “eye candy””. Well I say YOU’RE WRONG! The whole final act is based upon Sam’s love for Carly and his desire to save her. But if we don’t believe that they should be together or that they don’t love each other, why shoud we care?

“Just leave it, Dean…” you say. “The main focus of the film is the robots, right? Don’t let it bother you.” You’re right, you’re right…BUT NO! Not only do we have a relationshio that doesn’t work, but we have Michael Bay’s attempts at humour every 5 seconds. In particularJohn Turturo who returns for the third film, but for some reason decides to reprise the character of Jeses from The Big LebowskiJohn Malkovich makes an apearance as a wacky boss desinged to give you some laughs, but he is only in the films for 10 minutes and he is not funny. I just didn’t get it. The same goes for Ken Jeong who plays the nerdy tech guy but is so over the top it’s untrue. I actually cringed every time he was on screen. Oh yeah, remember Sam’s parents, Ron and Judy and how they always used to mock poor little Sam? It was funny in the first film, wasn’t it? Ha ha. Remember that? It was slightly amusing in the second film. Now the do the same thing, but say “shit” a lot so it’s even funnier. Ha ha. Hilarious. It felt to me like Michael Bay had watched Adam McKays Step Brothers the week before shooting and decided this would be his inspiration. Step Brothers was funny. This was not.

The rest of the supporting actors appear as if they are simply phoning in their performances. Take Tyrese Gibson for example. It’s feels as if the real Tyrese Gibson was busy on another film so they borrowed his waxwork dummy from Madame Taussauds and got that to say his lines instead. Same can be said for the amazing Oscar Winner Frances McDormand. She either has children who like the transformers or kids that like money! And then there’s Shia Lebeouf. My god is there Shia Lebeof. I don’t know if it’s due to Michael Bay’s directing or whether Shia Lebeouf is paid by the word, but the guy does not shut up! Why say 5 words whn you can say 20? Again, all this might be nitpicking, but when you have a 200million dollar summer blockbuster where the films plot centres around robots trying to wipe out the human race, do you really want your audience cheering for the villains?

Speaking of Robots, thank god walking racial slurs Skids and Mudflap are gone. Thank god the director and producers learned their lesson from that debacle. So instead of two jive talking robots, we have a cockney autobot that sounds Australian and calls people wankers, and a Scottish robot that wants to headbutt people. And don’t forget the two black guys that insult each other the whole time and knuckle bump. You gotta have the knuckle bumps. You dig?

I don’t know if it’s simply because my tastes in films have changed over the years, but the Transformers franchise is no longer for me. It’s not that I don’t love action films anymore. My biggest movie guilty pleasure is the Fast & Furious films, with Fast 5 being one of the best action films I have seen in a long time. But I would happily sit through The Coen Brothers’ True Grit 10 times in a row then watch Transformers 3 again. And that’s True Grit. A film in which practically nothing happens for 2 hours, yet I loved it. Now, please just don’t take my word for it, as many of you will no doubt love Transformers: Dark of the Moon and ignore a lot of the things I had a problem with. I just could not. Some of the things I have picked up on may seem harsh, but this is how the film made me feel. In terms of the 3D quality, this films needs to be seen in the Cinema and ideally in an IMAX theatre. But be warned! It’s long. And if you had any issues with the first Transformers movie, you will hate this. As for me, I have definitely learned my lesson and will be abstaining from the whole Blockbuster/3D movie gimmick in the coming future. Wait, what’s that? Harry Potter in 3D is out this month? I’m in!

Categories: Film, Reviews

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