Thursday, 7 July 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2D) Review

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2D)

The Transformers franchise never featured heavily in my childhood. I was too young to watch the original TV series and too old to watch the various recent versions. However after being dragged to see the Michael Bay films, it was inevitable that I would have to finish this trilogy (hopefully it stays a trilogy). Bay is a simple director. CGI, explosions, hot women, racial stereotypes and little plot, are trademarks of the money-making director. From the awful Pearl Harbour to the acceptable The Rock, there is little that gets film critics craving to see his next feature. Yet, whilst he fails to gain ‘critical acclaim’, he is continuously scoring at the box office. Transformers: Dark of the Moon will undoubtedly achieve in profits, but fails to fix the flaws of the past two films. The story is rubbish, the acting is terrible, and no amount of CGI and special effects can solve the glaring problems with the picture. 
The plot is based around the Apollo 11 mission back in the 1960s. In the 21 minute communication blackout, a mission was completed to investigate a spaceship crash on the Moon. It turns out the spacecraft was ‘The Ark’ which was the secret weapon that was going to help the Autobots win the War of Cybertron. Meanwhile Sam Witwicky is jobless but feels he has a greater purpose with the Autobots. Its a race against time as both the Decepticons and Autobots attempt to gain control of this ‘weapon’.  The ‘plot’ is weak with problems all over the place and questions that remain unanswered. Wasn’t Cybertron destroyed? There are Transformers on the Moon? What happened to the Rail-gun the army had? How many bloody Transformers are there? Where did all these new Auto-Bots come from? No writer and director is stupid enough to not be aware of the multitude of glaring plot-holes. But Transformers: Dark of the Moon proves wrong as it fails to tie up the loose ends of the previous films and those in this third instalment. Bay attempts to use action set-pieces to hide them, which doesn’t fix the feature but merely creates more questions. But plot isn’t what the majority of the Transformers fans are after. Gunfire, explosion, transforming robots and more explosions have attracted millions to experience Michael Bay’s ‘blockbusters’. What the first Transformers did well was to manage the amount of dialogue and ‘drama’, with ‘sci-fi’ and pure action. The end climax was entertaining and not overzealous, even with the weak plot. In Dark of the Moon, Bay implements more CGI and more explosions, that whilst serves the young audience, get a bit too tired and becomes a grind. 
The CGI is certainly spectacular. The scale of destruction during the never-ending final battle is amazing. Buildings fall down, vehicles explode and Transformers..... transform. Its all impressive but a little too much. The final confrontation goes on forever with various ‘crescendos’ and completely pointless scenes. It becomes a test of patience as Transformers die, people die and character suddenly appear. As well as the constant stream of CGI action, Bay uses slow-motion way too much. We’re not talking ‘Zack Snyder’ levels, but it gets old quickly. Every-time Optimus Prime or Bumble Bee transform, it goes into slow-motion, car jumps are in slow motion, there is even slow motion walking. One scene in particular; where Rosie Huntington-White stands in the middle of the street whilst slow-mo gun-fire and explosions are going off, it is so over-dramatic it’s just stupid. However CGI and special effects don’t make a film, and definitely not a good one. Instead the film attempts to introduce Bay’s understanding of ‘drama’ and ‘comedy’, and it falls flat on its face. John Malkovich and Ken Jeong have been introduced in an attempt to add character and comedic relief. But they both fail terribly. Both are annoying with Malkovich’s role being absolutely pointless, and Jeong acting his usual cringeworthy self. Racist caricatures have been avoided, however stereotypes are still featured: Terence Gibson has a ‘crew’ equipped with military gear, all driving black 4X4s, and has dialogue that includes ‘This is whack!!!’.   

This links into the fact that the acting is dreadful. Good performance such as Frances McDormand’s are few, as we are introduced to so many different characters that fail to be developed and are seemingly unnecessary. Shia LeBeouf is dull and uninspiring as usual. His role consists of screaming, having a hissy-fit and crying. It’s really awkward when the audience is supposed to route for a weak lead character, in amongst giant robots and military folk.  Rosie Huntington-White attempts to take over the romantic role that Megan Fox had in the original two films. She adds little to the plot and her acting can’t be taken seriously. She’s there purely for show, and Bay makes sure of that with endless shots of her ‘curves’. And when she does have a say in the plot, it is far too late, far too obscure and doesn’t make sense. John Turturro needs a new agent and to think about his acting career. And why is Patrick Dempsey in this film?...... he’s poor anyway. The acting isn’t helped by the terrible script that tries to be funny and dramatic. It ends up being obvious and lazy, clearly the special effects came first. 
Overall Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a boring, plot-hole ridden, mess of a film. Bay has attempted to eliminate the mistakes of Revenge of the Fallen, but Dark of the Moon still remains heavily flawed. The script is terribly cliché and lack-lustre, the characters are wooden and fail to be interesting. The action scenes are spectacular but go on for far too long and it has a stupid title for a film. It is inevitable that Dark of the Moon will be successful at the box office, but it is definitely not a good film. While it is better than Revenge of the Fallen, that would hopefully not be a challenge for any sane director and writer. And I guess the film does everything you’d expect from a Transformers film, and that doesn’t rate highly in my opinion. Lets hope that this will be the end of the  awful franchise. 

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