Movie Review:
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

By Matthew Huntley

July 7, 2011

Do you think he knows the rules of robotics?

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Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the young hero from the first two movies, is living in Washington, D.C. with his incredulously hot girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). After saving the world twice, Sam can’t seem to find a job where he matters. His road-tripping parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) won’t get off his back and his Autobot-buddy, Bee, hardly makes time for him anymore. Eventually, with a recommendation from Carly’s suspiciously charming boss, Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), he finds employment under the egomaniacal Bruce Brazos (John Malkovich) and is made privy to the Decepticons’ plans by one of the software engineers (Ken Jeong), who played a key role in the moon mission. Thus begins another battle of good vs. evil with the same characters caught in the middle.

Like the first two Transformers movies, the plot behind Dark of the Moon is way more complicated than it needs to be. In fact, these movies are all about being way more “something” than they need. The writing is way too pedestrian and horrendous; the characters are way too shallow and obnoxious; the special effects are way too prolific and incoherent; the action is way too redundant and inconsequential; and the runtime is way too long. The movie’s climax takes place in downtown Chicago and although I didn’t time it, I think it went on for a good hour. Scene after scene contained the same setup and execution: a building is blown up or on the verge of collapse; thousands of set pieces get destroyed; people scream at the top of their lungs and hang on for dear life. This goes on and on and on. But do we care about any of it? Not one iota. While watching this movie, it dawned on me, yet again, that Michael Bay may be the only action director who can make so much happen on-screen at once but still let it be so boring. He must have a gift.


What angers me is this movie will still go on to gross hundreds of millions of dollars at the box-office. Why? Because Hollywood has convinced people it’s an event picture. They beguile viewers into thinking they must see it if they want to be part of the collective consciousness. But don’t be fooled. This movie will provide you no thrills, excitement or laughs; it will only make you disappointed that you wasted nearly three hours of your life—three hours you will not get back.
Another thing that angers me is that actors Frances McDormand and John Turturro have substantial roles in it. Granted, they do bring a certain level of class and sophistication to the movie, but aside from the usual financial reasons, what were they thinking? Did they actually respond to the material?

I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2D, even though I was told it’s one of the best 3D presentations since the format was reinvigorated by Avatar. Whether or not that’s true, I think I had an advantage of seeing it in only two dimensions because it stripped the movie down to its core and confirmed just how bad it is on a storytelling level, without all the 3D bells and whistles. It’s loud, over-the-top and dizzying. Some will say it’s supposed to be all these things and that’s why it’s fun or what I should have expected. True, I did expect this movie to be loud and dumb, but even movies of this type, like the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this review, are supposed to be organized and presented in such a way that they’re at least entertaining. Dark of the Moon lacks that essential quality and it’s infuriating to think many people will see it and simply write it off as eye candy. But I wouldn’t even call it that. Candy is supposed to taste good and provide a temporary rush of energy and happiness. Conversely, Dark of the Moon is stale and will likely have detrimental effects on viewers for years to come.

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