Thursday, 30 June 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

Skip the first two thirds.
No seriously, walk in during the final act of the film if you must see this for some reason. It’s a Michael Bay film, the story is bad and the explosions are huge. It’s also a live action Transformers movie so all the action is crammed into that last bit.
In all fairness, this is a better film than its predecessor, but it’s still as bad as the first. The juvenile humour is reined back, the robots have a bit more presence, and the writing is considerably improved. It’s the best out of this series, but that’s probably because everyone working on it was trying very hard not to link it to Revenge of the Fallen in any way.
By now anyone who knows about the plot of the last two films will know what to expect. Sam Witwicky, the fleshy human played by Shia LaBeouf, is trying to move on with the constant parade of humiliation which is his life, a government conspiracy involving the Transformers is taking place, Decepticons attack, Optimus Prime single handily fights them off. I would say the Autobots, the good robots, do this but the most memorable thing they do is die. For some reason no more than a few minutes are spent focusing upon the Transformers at a time and only the ones who were in the first film and the new villains are given any distinction.
Unfortunately the humans are as insulting as ever and the real shame is there are some truly great actors who somehow got reeled into this. John Malkovitch, John Turturro and Patrick Dempsey all make appearances but they only ever amount to bad jokes and testing the audience’s patience.
By comparison the voice acting of the film is vastly superior. Leonard Nimoy, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving and Frank Welker all give strong performances but there’s just not enough of them to save the film. The film’s soundtrack ranges from awe inspiring to “oh god, oh god the earplugs do not work!” so its quality varies considerably between scenes.
I would comment upon the camerawork, but this is made by Michael Bay. I’d only be repeating what every other reviewer has said over the years. It’s like the plot and stereotypes which pass as characters in these films, by now you know what to expect. Though Bay has apparently lost some of his enthusiasm with applying shaky cam to every scene and if you squint you can now get a vague idea of who is fighting who.

In all honesty, I can’t even recommend this film to fans. The ones I’ve spoken to have expressed almost universally negative opinions of the films save for a handful of decent scenes. If you’re going to see this, wait until it becomes available for rent in Blockbuster. If you really must see a Transformers film for some reason, hunt down the one from 1986. Just don’t waste your money on this.