The mantra of anyone who reviews films must be that you go into every film with an open-mind. Whether that be a children’s animated film, a bloody horror or a period drama. Regardless of everything that you think you know about a director, a franchise, an actor, an actress or a plot. You must allow yourself to be gripped, moved and overall taken on a journey. Art house films have the benefit of almost no marketing, no hype and little expectations. They can surprise, impress and overwhelm. On the other end of the scale is Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
The first half of Dark of the Moon reintroduces us to Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBouef) from the original film, and his new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) and his search for a meaningful life outside of working with the Autobots. Simultaneously we are treated to the revelation that the moon landing was actually a secret mission to find out about a crashed spaceship. Aboard the ship is Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), who holds the key to a secret weapon that could turn the tide of the ever-raging battle between Autobots and Decepticons. The second half of the film is a protracted action scene with no point.
When Michael Bay was given the keys to the Transformer world in 2007, there was concern from the cult followers of the 1980s cartoon that he would ruin their vision of the universe. These fears proved to be partly right, but there was enough special effects and fun characters to make it passable. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen took everything good from the first movie and replaced it with cheap teenage humour and endless fight scenes between two indeterminable robots. Dark of the Moon gives us half a complicated, mess of a plot, before completely ignoring all the endless setup just to give us some mind-numbing robot on robot action.
Bay’s camera angles are bizarre with extreme close-ups and half-torso shots seemingly his favourite. Whenever Huntington-Whitely is on screen, the camera leers at her, once again proving Bay’s ‘pornographic eye for the female form. Whilst on the subject of Megan Fox’s replacement: She cannot act at all, and spends most of the film tottering around looking like an Afghan hound sucking a lollypop. In fact Dark of the Moon’s casting as a whole is terrible with pointless cameos for John Malkovich and Ken Jeong, although every human seems to be suffering from mild schizophrenia and is prone to ‘wigging out’ at the drop of a hat. Thank goodness for Dutch (Alan Tudyk) who is at least funny in the limited time given to him.
There were rumours before release that this was a partial return to ‘form’ for the franchise. These claims are wildly misplaced as this treads the same ground as the second film. It’s loud, mind-numbing, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, pornographic and ultimately pointless. The brief moments of quality and humour are quickly drowned out by the sound of a robot hitting another robot. It’s everything you would come to expect from the series and a bit less.