Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Director: Michael Bay (2011)
Starring: Robots. Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley.
Find it: IMDB

Nothing to do with Pink Floyd, Dark Of The Moon posits that the 1969 Moon landing was a front for the US first discovering the existence of Transformers. The opening credits aren't over yet, but already Transformers 3 is a better movie than the utterly dire Revenge Of The Fallen. It opens with a wacky sequence which sees Transformers flying about in a giant spaceship of their own before crashing it into the Moon. A rubbish President Kennedy impersonator tells NASA to go check it out, whereupon they find a dead Transformer and some freaky space-technology. Here, Dark Of The Moon almost has a plot.

Post-credits, we're re-united with Sam (LaBeouf) and his newest squeeze, Carly (Huntingdon-Whiteley). What with nearly having a plot and Megan Fox nowhere to be seen, Dark Of The Moon has already improved upon its predecessors. Now that he's graduated from college and the world is safe from Transformer peril, Sam needs to find a job. There's a lot of whingeing from Sam about how jobs suck and he just wants to be special again. Sam moans a lot in this movie, always about how he's too good to work like the rest of the world and most jobs are too menial for him. This instantly puts audience sympathy elsewhere, as does a scene where he meets President Obama and acts like a prick. Apparently Obama is giving out medals for just "being there", as I seem to recall it being the Transformers who saved the world twice, not Shia LaBeouf. Although people getting awards and medals for doing not much seems to be the 'in' thing where Obama is concerned (politics, y'all).

Anyway, while Sam is looking for a job, The Decepticons are plotting a return. This coincides with The Autobots retrieving and reviving old leader Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy!) from the Moon. Eventually there are a lot of explosions, robot fight scenes and Shia LaBeouf screams like a girl. As the usual charisma-free idiots (Duhamel, Gibson et al) run around blowing things up, better actors (John Malkovitch, Frances McDormand, Alan Tudyk) slum it with the odd "comedy" cameo thrown in too (Ken Jeong and, uh Buzz Aldrin). The robots' dialogue still sounds stilted, like excerpts from videogame cut scenes - and I've only just realised that Hugo Weaving is Megatron. And has been for three whole movies. That's what you call a subtle performance.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Of The Moon. But Dark Of The Moon is not a good movie. It's overlong, nonsensical and full of plot holes and really stupid moments. At one point new girl Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley saves the day with a rousing speech, which is perhaps the daftest moment of all. She seems like she could hardly outwit a regular truck, let alone one with a mind. Her performance is bad, but she's still a step up from Megan Fox. Sure, she's incapable of emoting, but at least she manages to appear alive, which is more than we can say for Megan Fox and her dead eyes. Less Shia LaBeouf and no Megan Fox has vastly improved the Transformers series tenfold. The real action takes far too long to get going, but once it does, there are a number of genuinely impressive set-pieces and jaw-dropping explosions.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is critic proof. It's a Michael Bay movie based on a line of toys in which giant robots alternately punch each other in the face and turn into cars. Really, what do you expect?

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