Transformers: Dark of the Moon (May Contain Spoilers)

After the diabolical flop of the second film, I haven’t been getting too excited about the third instalment in the Transformers series. I remember seeing the first one and being blown away by the effects of real-life transforming robots, even though the script suffered from a certain degree of the cheese factor, but the second film ended up being the black mark on the franchise. With Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay swore that everything they did wrong in the second one would be rectified for the third, so I made the decision to give it a chance.

After the events of Revenge of the Fallen, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) the Autobots are working with the US Military on covert operations to keep the world safe while the Decepticons have gone into hiding. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is out in the world looking for a job along with his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley). But a conspiracy from the US moon landing and an Autobot ship that crashed there decades ago brings Sam out of his new life and back into the world of the Autobots. After Optimus and the others find out what the US Government have been hiding from them, they recover their old leader from the wreckage of the crash on the moon – Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy). But after they bring Sentinel Prime back to Earth, Megatron (Hugo Weaving) and the Decepticons make the move they’ve been waiting to make – to rebuild Cybertron on Earth.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon does manage to eradicate a lot of the memory of the second film by going deeper into the mythos of the original action figures and storylines, and manages to pull off a much more interesting plotline by mixing human and Autobot histories together with twists that really aren’t obvious, rather than subjecting people to 2 ½ hours of bad acting and confusing storylines like the second one did and did it with far less annoying characters, even though there had to be a couple to give smaller audience members something to laugh at. The fact that Leonard Nimoy does the voice of Sentinel Prime as well came as a surprise to me as I didn’t know this before I went to the film. But despite how good he is at voicing characters, apparently Michael Bay couldn’t resist having a completely shameless Star Trek Spock quote of “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” in there – not all that clever, but obviously too good to resist.

Then there is the much more impressive replacement to Megan Fox, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley. Putting aside for a moment (but never forgetting) that she used to be a Victoria’s Secret model, she actually manages to act in Dark of the Moon and comes across as much less annoying than Megan Fox was. For one thing, she manages to OPEN her mouth when she speaks, despite the ridiculous amount of pouting she still manages to do throughout the film. But the fact she’s British does redeem her a little bit from some of the bits that let her down – like towards the end, when she simply stands in the middle of a war zone with destruction happening all around her and stares blankly at something while she puts the pieces together in her mind. Still, at least she’s not Megan Fox.

One addition to this film that I really liked was the idea of robotic “gore” during the fight scenes. While some might argue that it’s a little bit too close to real gore for a 12A movie, what they’ve done for this instalment is add in the idea that if a character gets punched in the face, or shot in the chest or has an arm ripped off, there is engine oil and mechanic lubricants that spray everywhere like blood effects. It’s definitely a clever idea that hasn’t been approached before, but it could spark a debate as to how close to real gore you can get in what is essentially meant to be a kids film.

Even though the storyline is a lot better in Dark of the Moon and the action scenes are shot and imaged much better than the last film, two and a half hours is still an epic amount of time for what you actually get and a lot could have been shaved off the first half of the film since some parts aren’t relevant to the overall storyline and are mostly thrown in for continuity than anything else.

But it must be said, the most unrealistic thing of the entire film (which, let us not forget, has transforming robots that beat the crap out of each other) is that someone like Shia LaBeouf would end up with an ex-Victoria’s Secret model as his girlfriend, whether he’s saved the world with his robot car or not.

Overall, the big budget effects and storyline work well in Dark of the Moon and do for the franchise what was lost in the second film, but it seems there were only a few bits worth seeing in 3D and probably wouldn’t warrant the entire 3D upgrade, but IMAX might well be a different story. Transformers: Dark of the Moon gets 7 out of 10 for redeeming itself after the second film and having a better storyline and cast, but still dragging on in parts.

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4 Comments

  1. I fully agree with your 7 out of 10 rating. I gave it a 7.5 myself would have been higher had Shockwave actually transformed rather then road around or whatever the deal was with that snake building cracker thing he had that seemed to be related to him like some sort of oversize pet. I wanted to see the 30 foot rail flying gun not a building smashing snake! I was also disappointed with the detail in megatrons form however I was pleased that he finally took a form but I thought it was kind of cartoonish. I also didn’t like the fact that Sentinel Prime looked exactly the same transformed and after scanning a new form. He should have had two designs after all he was supposed to have been dead in space. But logic aside great review. I didn’t see it in 3D it was fine none the less and I suppose it was better then RoTF, but I like them all.

    • Yes, I definitely agree that there was a lot more to like than the second film, but towards the end it did begin to seem like someone stepping in a big steaming pile of Michael Bay with a hearty side helping of Armed Forces. It got all macho and gung-ho and “Go USA!” towards the end, and it pulled focus a little from the giant robots beating the snot out of each other. I think you’re right about the little details, but I think its the lesser of two evils that they focussed on making the storyline, characters and action better than the little bits of logic like that. Plus, we are talking about a film where cars turn into giant robots and shoot each other and where Shia LaBeouf has a Victorias Secret model as a girlfriend, so in that respect the notion of “logic” tends to go out the window somewhat!! Lets hope that Bay walks away from it here and quits while he’s ahead – he’s done all the business he’s likely to get from this now, and anything else would just be overkill and grasping at straws for storylines.

  2. First of all, I dont see how 3D could enhance the movie, I saw it in normal 2D and I am sure it was just as good. The movie was good in the fact that it didn’t feel like 2 and a half hours, I felt some of the scenes, like the robot snake thing, carried on for WAY to long. But the action was good and the robot gore was a great idea, even more interesting when it is green coming out of them and not red. But to rebuttal against the Victoria’s secret model being so out of this world, i would just like to say some beautiful women just love their geeks 😉 And I am also kind of surprised they didn’t find a reason to show her in her bra! Not taking advantage of a underwear models best talent. Anyways, I hope this is the end of the movies, because they can’t get better from here, but I know it wont be long until a kids cartoon is made, and the merchandise will continue to sell.
    I think I would of graded it less than a 7, but the effect were good, so sounds fair enough.

    • The 3D would only really make the fights in the last 30 minutes that much more impressive, and wouldnt add to the overall effect of the film that much, but the same thing can be said for most films that are made without 3D in mind. Yes, some beautiful women DO like their geeks and there is proof for this. But SHE is a Victorias Secret Underwear Model, and HE was the guy from Even Stevens – you dont have to be Einstein to work out that somethings out of whack here!! And the reason she didnt go down to the bra was probably because there are lots of 8 year olds in the audience that are more interested in cars that turn into robots and beat each other up than boobs. Same could be said for a few of the 28 year olds as well. But not me. They’re about equal for me. Also, I’m sorry to say there have already BEEN cartoons of Transformers. Lots, in fact, since about the 80’s, in various different forms from Anime to CGI animation series. In fact, Peter Cullen who does the voice of Optimus Prime in the films WAS the voice of Optimus Prime in the original cartoons! Yes, like many a Michael Bay film, it gets by on effects and earns a decent mark.


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