TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (3D)


2011

DIRECTOR: Michael Bay

CINEMA REVIEW

May Contain Spoilers

Will we be adding this to our collection? Yes

This is the third and final installment of the iconoclastic Transformers franchise. By the law of diminishing returns, this should have fallen well below the par from the excellent first outing; well, has it? The answer is a definite no. First off, it’s not as good as good as Transformers, lacking much of the comedy and puerile action, but it would be on par with the Revenge Of The Fallen, which is not up to much in many critic’s opinions, which was overly smashy, confused and missed some of the pacing of the first.

Dark Of the Moon carries on the tradition of complex back stories, tying in to U.S. Space Race history, this time, right back to 1962 and the inception of the Apollo programme. Here, they postulate that NASA’s moon race was purely conceived to get to the Moon first to recover a massive Cybertron based space craft, which had crashed in the Moon after the final battle on the doomed Transformer planet.

At the crash site, Sentinel Prime is discovered and years later, Optimus Prime recovers him, as he was the true leader of the Autobots in their war with the Decepticons. Also, there are a collection of what are referred to as Pillars, very 3D friendly, yet still plausibly so, floating metallic rod styled devices which would play a pivotal role later. Meanwhile, Sam,  Shia LaBeouf,  has moved on from his Megan Fox girlfriend and has now, somewhat inexplicably, moved in with Victoria Secrets model, though in the film, she’s supposed to be some form a P.A., played by the inept Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, which is simply ridiculous. This point is also brought up in the script as his own mother warns him that he would not get so lucky a third time!

The world is has now been invaded by Decepticons and Sam, along with his collection of mis-matched allies and seven remaining Autobots are all that stands between them and total destruction. Sounds like a good setup but with a typical running time 157 minutes, the plot was simply too thin to sustain itself, leading to patchy pacing and moments that begin to plod. I didn’t find this to be all that bad but others felt that the word boring would more than a little apt.

You see for me, the pay off of robots beating the hell out of each other and taking the world down with them is worth the wait and the flaws in the narrative, but for others, this will not be the case. Leonard Nimoy’s voice portrayal of Sentinel Prime was fine, but the constant need to remind us that it was Mr. Spock wasn’t. This culminated in a completely unnecessary piece of dialogue where Sentinel reprises Spock’s line from Star Trek II, “…The needs of the many, out way the needs of the few”. This was a quote to far in my opinion, certainly when justifying some questionable and immoral acts…

Then there was the 3D, and what 3D it was! This finally proved that a blockbuster can be produced in 3D without sacrificing the cinematography for cynical dimensional gestures. The film looked as I would expect any 2D blockbustering actioner to look, with sweeping aerial action and objects flying towards the audience but the 3D effect only amplified this, and didn’t make it. This was well conceived and I take my hats of to them. This is what 3D should look like and it was visually arresting.

Overall, the film provided all the thrills and spills that you would expect from Transformers, with acceptable acting for a film of this genre, with the gross exception of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who should stick to modeling and as acting or even speaking would seem to be light years beyond her. John Malkovich and Frances McDormand, deliver great cameos and bring some of the only really decent acting to the film, with the further exceptions of the returning John Turturro and the addition of Alan Tudyk, who both deliver most of the belly laughs in this outing.

It was fun but not as much fun as the previous films. DOTM was clearly trying to shift the tone and in doing so it succeeded at moving the film into a slightly darker, more action film place. This felt more like a straight forward 12 rated actioner such as Bay’s other efforts, The Rock and Armageddon and a little less of the lighter more child friendly overtones of the previous two. Still, I enjoyed this and feel very strongly that the naysayers who would rate this film so lowly that you’d have to look for it in the gutter, have allowed themselves to take this way too seriously.

Is this the end of for Transformers? I hope so, but the door is still open and with the vast profits that it’s already made, Transformers 4 could be just around the next corner. If that’s the case, it is not what i would prefer, feeling that they’ve gone as far as they came but I would certainly run out to watch it!

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