Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBoeuf, Josh Duhamel, John Turtorro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich
Running time: 157 minutes
By Robert O’Reilly
You know it’s summertime again when mindless blockbusters start queuing up at your local multiplex in a seeming attempt to simultaneously drain your wallet and your brain cells. Next in line: Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The latest film in Michael Bay’s adapted-from-a-1980’s cartoon franchise has everything you would expect from the big budget maestro – Eye-popping special effects, poor characterization, corny dialogue, curvaceous females, square-jawed military types, logic thrown firmly out the window, 12-year-old-pleasing jokes, an overly dramatic soundtrack and a product placement every few minutes. If you were expecting anything other than this, it’s probably a safe bet that you haven’t seen the first two entries in this series.
Despite his heroics in the earlier films having now earned him a medal of honour given to him from no less than the U.S. President, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is back but unfortunately the global recession appears to have affected his employment opportunities. But don’t worry folks, it’s not too long before Sam gets involved in an attempt to save us earthlings from a sinister world domination plot led by the Decepticons who are joined by some very nasty human converts to their cause. In an audacious attempt to mix fact with fiction (and the most interesting aspect of the film it has to be said), Bay’s film includes an American Government/NASA cover-up of an alien spacecraft that was spotted on the moon by the crew of the Apollo 11 and is now being used for ulterior motives.
With the help of his trusty but not rusty friends, the Autobots, Sam sets out to save planet Earth while at the same time saving his floundering relationship with his girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). At times Whiteley’s acting skills make the Transformers appear more emotionally expressive in comparison, but, to be fair, she was hardly picked for this movie to show off her thespian abilities but more for the fact that she sports more curves than the nearest Lamborghini. She’s alongside good company anyway, with some of the most horrendously over the top performances you are likely to see all summer on display here.
It perhaps goes without saying that this being a Michael Bay cinematic exercise, the film looks fantastic to the eye, although it has to be said that not all of the 3-D effects are… well effective really. Narrative cohesion and logic take a back-seat to the visual eye candy throughout the running time, but there’s really no excuse for how abysmal some of the dialogue is in this film. In one failed attempt at irony, Sam’s dad says to his son at one point in the film, ‘it’s like a bad sci-fi movie’, but this comes across less ironic and more like a direct, truthful statement to the audience. Another major flaw is that the movie is just too long and could have done with having at least half an hour snipped from its lengthy running time.
Perhaps if you leave your brain at the concession stand you might enjoy the latest Transformers movie, because there’s definitely not much actual thought gone into the making of it. So what’s next for Bay when he raids his Hollywood piggy-bank once again? Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors: The Movie? You can count me out anyway.