Today: February 21, 2024

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Not many
threequels have a hope of receiving much critical acclaim – the rule tends to
be that quality dips with every sequel.
If that wasn’t a bad enough
sign, this third Transformers film has a lot of making up to do after a frankly
terrible second instalment. And with co-star Megan Fox getting fired before filming began and director Michael Bay reportedly at odds with
producers over apparently not wanting to use 3D, it seemed like this latest
Autobot adventure was destined for the scrapheap. And yet, against all odds,
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon manages to be a spectacular, action-packed – if
overly long – blockbuster that does much to win back some faith in the
franchise.

Shia
Labeouf
returns as Sam Witwicky who is at a crossroads in life – unemployed and
with only a medal to show for his previous world-saving assistance – but
inexplicably dating supermodel Rosie
Huntington-Whitely
all the same. Luckily his services as alien robot
liaison are soon required again as the Autobots and the Decepticons race to
recover a spacecraft that had crash-landed on the moon from the robots’ home-planet
Cybertron decades before.

From the very beginning, it’s obvious that the special effects are the
real star of the film and, of course, you wouldn’t expect anything else from a
film about giant extra-terrestrial machines beating each other up. After a
truly amazing set-piece set around the 1969 moon landing, however, it also
becomes clear that the script is as bloated as the budget.

With all of the main characters from the previous films returning (or
substituted), it seems a strange choice to add so many more. As the thin plot
gets stretched out across a whole two and half hours, the needless padding
never becomes more clear than with the excess of unnecessary comic relief
characters. And even with John Turturro
providing familiar foolishness, John
Malkovich
offering exaggerated eccentricity and Ken Jeong giving breathless silliness, it’s only actually Alan Tudyk’s man-servant character that
gets any real laughs.

Thankfully, flabby storytelling, questionable acting and shaky dialogue all
become a moot point next to the awesome explosive action and, in particular,
when it comes to the climactic act. The final epic battle sequence involving
all Autobots, Decepticons and humans, may last an entire hour but it is easily
the best hour of the whole film. Think too much about what is actually going on
and you might correctly come to the conclusion that Optimus Prime’s robot army
are pretty ineffectual in a fight and are saved on numerous occasions by the
puny human army, but with incredible CGI destruction and, at one point, a
breath-taking skyscraper escape, it’s hard to care.

Overall, the film may just be one of the best looking summer
blockbusters ever released, with computer graphics that will leave you never
once questioning that the big alien robots are really there in each scene. If
only the film had been trimmed by about an hour, this could have been an
exciting, slick actioner. As it is, it’s a protracted piece of
brainless-but-beautiful eye-candy.

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