Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Review (A Second Opinion)

By
movies:
Joe West

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On July 1, 2011
Last modified:December 4, 2013

Summary:

The third live action Transformers film from director Michael Bay is upon us, rendered in 3D and splurged out in front of the audience like some kind of very expensive but entirely incomprehensible CGI soup.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Review (A Second Opinion)

[box_light]We’re trying something new here at We Got This Covered, video reviews. This is our first one and depending on how it goes over, we’ll try our hand at a few more. Here’s how it works, the video review is posted at the bottom and the transcript from the video is in the body of the article. If you guys like this style, then let us know in the comments and we’ll try to get a few more done.[/box_light]

The third live action Transformers film from director Michael Bay is upon us, rendered in 3D and splurged out in front of the audience like some kind of very expensive but entirely incomprehensible CGI soup.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is a love letter to the attention deficit disorder generation, with a plot that is so worried about boring you that it skips merrily from one scene to another at lightning speed without bothering to fill in the gaps. Of course, in reality, its a love letter to absolutely no-one, unless you consider its hugely bankable mega-robot heroes as a kindly post-it note aimed at easing Hollywood’s financiers.

What it does do is deliver a largely identical incoherent action spectacle as found in the previous two films, which in some ways makes it a success. But only if you are willing to accept that Michael Bay set out to make an absurdist masterpiece rather than a film containing things as trifling as a story and some characters.

I can only assume that Transformers: Dark of the Moon was written by a computer AI programmed to pump out scripts that have the precise amount of action, humour, romance and tension required from a blockbuster. What this AI has failed to grasp is that a film is not a pie chart, even if this is a great way of pitching projects to cash-strapped studio executives who want to bet on a sure thing.

The film kicks off in the 1960s with the suggestion that the space race between the US and the USSSR was initiated after an alien craft crashed on the far side of everyone’s second favourite celestial body, the Moon. 40 years pass and Shia LaBoeuf’s Sam Whitwicky end up jobless in Washington DC with yet another improbably attractive girl attached limply to his arm, and for some reason the world is threatened by these darn robot crooks all over again.

The two and a half hour runtime goes into narrative freefall after about 20 minutes. The Spider Man 3 too many villains syndrome threatens to rupture the whole thing even before the complete lack of continuity in the third act tears the film asunder. But as with the prior two films, it feels very hard to criticise it from a technical point of view.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Review (A Second Opinion)

Aside from a very uncanny digital recreation of JFK’s face in the first five minutes, there is not really a special effects shot which hasn’t been laboured over to the point of perfection. If this is your kind of thing then you can expect to be excited and amazed. But even the graphical horsepower of modern CGI techniques cannot change the fact that the real explosions, impacts and action sequences which occasionally occur look better and have more impact. The audience can detect visual trickery in a millisecond and we’ve still got years of development ahead of us before I can believe that a crippled DC Skyline wasn’t made by a man sitting in a darkened room for 30 weeks.

I don’t think Bay is a bad director, although he is certainly no storyteller. Just watch The Rock to see what he can do with a decent script that has compelling characters and actions which have consequences. In contrast, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, seems to suggest that it’s possible to perform acts which are consequence free. This may be a symptom of focusing on human characters whose actions are largely inconsequential when involved in a war between mechanical titans.

I don’t want to get too deep into the way the film ignores cause and effect or basic plot mechanics but here’s one example to sum it up. At one point the heroes realize that they literally have one shot to save the world. They have to fire a rocket, the only one they have, at a node of some kind. They’re about to take their shot but then an attacking Decepticon distracts them. At this point, the rocket subplot is buried completely and never emerges again. Not one character makes reference to it for the rest of the film. It’s almost like Bay doesn’t know about Chekov’s Gun as a literary technique. I suspect he barely knows how to put one foot in front of the other.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Review (A Second Opinion)
Disappointing

The third live action Transformers film from director Michael Bay is upon us, rendered in 3D and splurged out in front of the audience like some kind of very expensive but entirely incomprehensible CGI soup.

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