As a Gen X-er who grew up with Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee and all the rest, the release of the first Transformers movie back in 2007 excited my inner child to a state of hyperactivity. I sat through the movie on the edge of my seat thrilled by the visual effects and action sequences that worked well to create an exciting homage to the robots that accompanied me through some of the greatest moments of my childhood. Two years later, a disappointing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was released and this year has seen an attempt to make up for the shortcomings of the last movie and restore pride to Optimus and the Autobots.
Maybe I should have read the omen when the Internet denied me a booking for a seat at the cinema earlier this afternoon. I was always going to see this movie though, regardless of the mixed reviews I had already seen following its release and soon enough I handed my ticket to a teen Leo Sayer look-alike and made myself comfortable in hopes that I would be wowed over the next 157 minutes. What followed was something that I wouldn’t necessarily undo if given the chance, however I would give stern warnings to any who were considering experiencing the “Dark of the Moon”…
Things start well enough; an introduction to the setting of the movie so that any who’ve missed out on the first two won’t feel out of their depth. A bit of “historical footage” worked into the CGI makes the whole movie experience an interesting tapestry of artistic methods and concepts for those who like to discuss that sort of thing. I’m not one of those people – I found it a bit weird.
The “leading lady” in this instalment is one Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a model/actress (and not the other way around) who plays Shia LeBeouf (Sam)’s love interest, Carly. I’m not sure how that happened. By that I mean I’m not sure how she came to be in the movie, not that I’m not sure how she became an actress after being a model. I’m not one to criticise anyone’s acting ability – having acted in a school play and an office skit I know how gruelling it can be. It just really confused me why her character was in the movie at all. Obviously Rosie herself was only there to add the “sex element” to the movie and to be honest – while I can see how she’s “stereotypically hot”, she doesn’t do much for me at all. I’m pretty sure I could tie every reason her character was involved to a different character while still holding the plot together completely.
Plot-wise there’s not really much to say because there didn’t seem to be a lot in it. Many could argue that you don’t see a Transformers movie for complex character development or an intricate storyline. We all know that the Decepticons want to destroy the World and the Autobots need to protect humanity. It’s about the CGI, the explosions, the transformations and the action! “Dark of the Moon” certainly delivers on that front. From the onset the action is rarely interrupted by character development and most of the scenes are quite exhilarating to watch.
The problems with the movie though were, for this Transformers-loving individual, too big to overlook for the sake of the franchise. Plot holes were big enough for Unicron to dance around in, the ethics of the Autobots came into serious question from the get-go and numerous characters (including transformers) were written in for the sake of who knows what. Another thing I noticed was that no matter how much carnage occurred, Carly’s outfits were almost pristine at all times. As part of the group of humans fighting for their survival, she endures all manner of life-and-outfit threatening situations but while every other person (and some of these guys have elite military training, mind you!) suffers stainage that even Nappy San couldn’t remove, young Carly’s clothes remain practically untouched. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even sweat either.
What saved the movie for me was the little things – primarily a few supporting characters and cameos; John Malkovich brings his amazing skills to the table with a hilarious character. Chuck and Community/The Hangover followers will get a kick out of seeing a couple of familiar faces and if you’re a fan of Alan Tudyk (as I am) you will thoroughly enjoy his supporting performance. All told, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was a bit of a let-down. The CGI and action were quite well done, but there was still too much wrong with the movie that stopped it from restoring the glory that the Transformers truly deserve.
I give this movie 5 Energon Cubes out of a possible 10.