You’ll be hard-pressed to find a film more dim-witted and derogatory than Transformers: Dark of the Moon this summer. Well, if you exclude The Hangover: Part II that is. The third in the franchise production line, to speak of these industrial juggernauts as ‘films’ is futile; they’re merely adverts for the video game, action-figures and miscellaneous merchandise off-shoots. Which would be fine, if they were good adverts. Lest us not forget that this is a series of ‘films’ so pants that even the actors are saying how naff they are.
This latest glorified marketing campaign is once again overseen by Michael Bay, a director with the attention span of a fruit fly and the subtlety of a kick to the nethers. Bay seems to work by the doctrine: why invest in character when you can blow stuff up; and Transformers 3 has its fair share of explosions all right.
But to give this third entry a slither of credit, it does at least have some semblance of a plot, even if only for the first half an hour. Dark of the Moon certainly has more story than its predecessor, Revenge of the Fallen, a film so headachingly dull that it should have come with a health warning.
Dark of the Moon (presumably so titled to put Pink Floyd‘s lawyers at ease) re-stages the 1969 moon landing as an American expedition to investigate the crash of an Autobot spaceship. This vessel harbours a selection of ‘pillars’ that, once gathered, harness the power to open a portal for an interstellar army to travel through and cause all manner of mayhem. Or something.
But Bay isn’t interested in plot (in fact, the plot only acts as an excuse for Buzz Aldrin to cameo as himself, looking entirely confused and bewildered by the whole experience. I know how you feel, Buzz). All Bay cares about is explosions, CGI and sex. Following a worryingly deadpan prologue explaining the beef the Autobots and Decepticons have with each other, normal service is resumed with the introduction of Megan Fox‘s replacement, Brit model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, derrière-first.
Despite axing Fox (she apparently had some choice words for Bay), doppelgänger Huntington-Whiteley is perhaps even more wooden and ogled at. Every time she enters a scene, it’s as if the action freeze frames for the male characters to gawp at her. So, where as Fox was made to suggestively straddle a motorbike, here the camera ‘paps’ her successor’s risqué exit out of a limo. Added to her backside entrance, it’s again all rather misjudged for a ‘film’ based on a children’s toy.
Huntington-Whiteley plays the new girlfriend of Sam Witwicky, once again embodied by the charisma black hole, Shia Laboeuf who is, on numerous occasions, out-acted by his robot chums. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and John Turturro (mercifully keeping his trousers on this time) show up to do some respectable-ish thesping, but this is no Fargo or Barton Fink, bamboozled as they are by the deafening soundtrack and stupefying special effects; the final hour-long showdown is like a sledgehammer to the noggin and no different from the soul crushing tedium of the previous two ‘films’. Ironically, given the series’ title, the only transformation that has occurred in four years is an increased level of crass stupidity. Avoid Transformers 3 at all costs.
Good: I draw a blank.
Bad: Just as mind-numbingly tedious and terrible as the first two.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), directed by Michael Bay, is distributed by Paramount Picutres UK, Certificate 12A.