Published on June 29th, 2011 | by Sue Murphy4
Movie Review: Transformers: The Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, John Malkovich, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Patrick Dempsey.
There is a clip in South Park Imaginationland that I am sure fans are no stranger to. Basically, the kids end up in Imaginationland and Butters becomes a hostage following a terrorist attack. The American Defence Forces, unable to figure out how to form a strategy in an unknown envoirnment, enlist the help of Hollywood to come up with ideas. One of the directors who pitches them a plan is Michael Bay. After describing a detailed line of attack involving lots of explosions and slow motion action, the General comments “those aren’t ideas, those are special FX” to which Bay replies “I don’t understand the difference.” In order to get through any Transformers movie, you must keep this quote to the forefront of your memory. Michael Bay does not get plot, or structure, or indeed acting but he sure knows how to blow stuff up.
In the absence of a basic structure, I will attempt to give a summary of what plot (I use that word lightly) does exist, which to be honest is entirely convoluted. At one point, during an extended explosion sequence, I struggled to remember what the reasoning was behind the scene. So, the Autobots are on Earth now, living among us, on special Michael Bay missions where other stuff explodes for no good reason. However, in 1963 during the moon landing, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (and yes, that is correct, that is Buzz Aldrin) discover an alien ship. Forced to keep the mission under wraps, the US subsequently abort their moon operations and the ship is all but forgotten about. When the Autobots learn of the secret, they rush to get to the technology before the Decepticons, led by the much depleted Megatron, now complete with cape in order to suggest he has completely embraced his new desert existence. Meanwhile, Sam (LaBeouf) is off looking for work while living as a kept man with his new (model-don’t-call-me-actress) girlfriend Marley (Rosie I’m-English-therefore-must-distinguish-with-a-double-barrelled-name Huntington-Whitely). Somehow he becomes involved, as does the hot model’s boss, Dylan (Patrick Dempsey). And then the Autobots leave, but they get blown up but they don’t really and the Decepticons take over and Sam must find his girlfriend and…. To be honest, just go with it…
Transformers: The Dark of the Moon is, of course, flawed. The second in the trilogy was far too long and this problem doesn’t seem to be addressed here. Although it moves quicker than the previous instalment, it will still lose the viewer in parts, mostly because there are sequences and scenes that essentially do not need to exist. Huntington-Whitely can be painful to watch in parts, although she serves her purpose as another ridiculously good-looking girl who inexplicably falls for LaBeouf’s constantly enraged Sam. But if you can put all that aside, and you will surely realise that is a BIG ask, this is nearly as enjoyable as the first. Sure, Explosion Mike continues on his never-ending attempt to make the first live action film that will just include explosions with girls running away from them (admittedly without MegaFox) but at least he seems to have totally embraced it. It’s the usual, does it exactly what it says on the transforming tin but with some of the editing problems corrected from 2, fans should hopefully enjoy the ride.