Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

1 STAR

General Information:

Information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1399103/

12A    154 min  –  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  –  29 June 2011 (UK)

Director

Michael Bay

Writer

Ehren Kruger

Stars

Shia LaBeouf; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley; Tyrese Gibson

Plot:

Lying on the moon is an alien secret which could affect the lives of everyone on Planet Earth.

Review:

The third installment in the Transformers franchise...Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

The third installment in the Transformers franchise…Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Unintentionally, and rather bizarrely, before watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I listened to the Pink Floyd album: The Dark Side of the Moon. I was a virgin to the classic Pink Floyd album and a virgin to the ‘classic’ piece of filmmaking made by Michael Bay. In an odd way, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is very much a classic, oft derided by critics and scorned at by movie-goers. I feel safe to categories it as part of a Great Tradition of cinema, amongst the pantheon of other ‘bad movies’: Manos: The Hands of Fate, Sex and the City 2, Sex Lives of the Potato Men, Troll 2The Room, Plan 9 From Outer Space…..

Going back to the Pink Floyd album. It is an odd – dare I say it, ‘spiritual’ – album. I went through every emotion possible: calmness, fear, disturb, joy, wonder, awe, even boredom. I think it’s a masterpiece. Each chord, every precise sound thumped at my emotional core.

Pink Floyd's album, 'The Dark Side of the Moon'

Pink Floyd’s album, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’

Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is a different matter all together. It is a void of nothingness, an emotional vaccuum. Whilst writing this review, I thought of describing it as ‘a pointless waste of images’ – this seemed almost unfair; I’m not even angry at the film. Catapulting shards of abuse at it just seems like picking on an easy target.

I wasn’t entertained, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t surprised. I think the worst criticism I can apply to it was that I was never actually bored.

I forget the exact intricacies of the plot, but I don’t feel that actually matters. It is very much a hedonistic movie – less concerned with events, and more concerned with ‘the moment’ and the spectacle in each individual package of screen-time.

I think it’s important to state that I actually like the original Transformers movie, and it’s sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Of course, they are both rubbish (and similar to this film, I forget what the actually plot is), but the key thing about them is that they feel very self-aware. In that sense, they come across more like parodies than cliche-ridden explosion-porn.

Due to this, I think it’s fair to criticise this movie against the previous Transformers movies. Unintentionally, I am again, slotting this film into another Great Tradition of cinema: the rubbish sequel.

The great thing about the first Transformers movie was that it was short in terms of screen-time. This meant that the action sequences and the exposition sequences were much much tinier, and thus the film felt easier to ‘digest’. Dark of the Moon however isn’t so. It’s the sort of film you’d review with your legs – and by this, I mean that it’s one of those films which is so long that every now and then you’ll cross your legs with discomfort. Your head might go with it, but your bum certainly gives up.

I’m one of the few people that actually found the first two Transformers movies funny -even the casual racism and misogyny. It was kind of endearing in a way: a bit like watching Basil Fawlty saying “don’t mention the war” – yet without the sophistication, timing, wit or delivery…but still bizarrely humorous. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen involves a sequence where Sam Witwicky passionately kisses an ‘attractive female’, only to discover that it’s a robot hell-bent on destroying him. This sequence has that ‘terrible movie charm’ about it. I imagine it’s difficult to understand this low form of humour whilst processing these sentences – but movies are supposed to be watched, not read.

Now, I don’t care about the endless bashing, or the ludicrous sequence where the top of a building falls over, or the fact that John Malkovich looks like a complete prick. Surprisingly, I don’t care about the cheap over-used joke about gay men having sex in toilets. Nor the fact that the first time we see Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely’s character, it is a shot leering  at the curves of her bottom – and that throughout the movie, as Mark Kermode excellently puts it, she is just a “walking bottom” as opposed to a character, or a “walking bottom” with developed character-traits.

I care more about the fact that the movie isn’t any fun. It’s not enjoyable, it’s not entertaining, it’s not even boring, it’s just…nothing. It doesn’t matter what Michael Bay throws at you: it doesn’t matter if it’s loud, if it’s screaming with spectacle, if it’s a quiet moment of the film with well-composed lighting, nor does it matter if it’s CGI-Ridden or littered with explosions. Behind each frame, behind every pixel, behind every atom of this film is nothing. Nothing. There is no heart. There is no self-aware parody of itself. There is no emotion. Bay doesn’t care about the events, the characters or indeed the audience. Indeed, some of the images are quite nice to look at – but that’s all they are: nice. It doesn’t matter how much spectacle, or the extent of the colour palette used in lighting in a scene. If behind the visuals, there is no intention – whether it be intellectually or emotionally, it means ultimately nothing, and thus, forgettable. When the director feels nothing, neith does its audience.

Reviewing this film is difficult because I was so indifferent to it (as it no doubt was to me), that I struggled to find examples or moments, or sections of dialogue to mention in order to critique it. It’s a movie that’s not just forgettable, but just doesn’t care.

Why? Because it doesn’t have a soul.

Verdict:

No fun. No soul. No emotion. I doubt Michael Bay actually cares about his audience judging from this.

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2 thoughts on “Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

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