Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Director:  Michael Bay
Cast:  Shia LaBeoufRosie Huntington-WhiteleyJosh Duhamel, John Turturro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich
Plot:  The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

Genre:  Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Awards:  Nom. for 3 Oscars - Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.
Runtime:  157min
Rating:  PG for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.

The third installment of arguably the dumbest movie trilogy in recent years ought to be renamed Transformers: Baywatch because everyone wants to see how Michael Bay would fare on his third try directing a movie about huge machine robots fighting against each other on planet Earth. 

For those of you who thought that Revenge of the Fallen (2007), the middle installment, was a great piece of cinematic magic, you were sadly deceived because Bay himself condemned that film as utter rubbish.  In an article, he famously said that he had learnt his mistakes and would redeem himself by making a far better third film.

Now that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is released to the chagrin of film critics and pure ecstasy of teenage boys and men who think they are still teenage boys, the jury is on to decide the fate of Bay.  

As perhaps the dumbest high-profile Hollywood filmmaker of any generation, Bay has once again proved to the entire world that he is absolutely capable of directing a dumb film for dumb audiences dumb enough to part with their ten bucks. Not unless you are smart enough to just watch for the visual effects and sound design.

As a Hollywood blockbuster in the epic mould, Dark of the Moon is technically stunning and almost has no peers.  I give my fullest respect to the thousands of visual effects artists and sound editors and mixers who sacrificed their time in a united effort to realize Bay’s wettest dream. 

My ten bucks is for you guys, and not for that 47-year-old man who once made a decent blockbuster called The Rock (1996).  No matter how great the CG effects are, and they are great in this film, they cannot save it from the dark abyss that has already swallowed it.

While the first fifteen minutes promisingly set up a potentially good story about an alien spacecraft that crash landed on our Moon, everything after the arrival of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) signals a downhill ride into that abyss I have just mentioned. 

The story implodes under the weight of Bay’s addiction for dizzying camera movements and ultra quick cuts, scant concern for character development, and the need to bloat the film’s runtime by adding needless exposition that brings the story to a standstill.  Short of a lobotomy, is there any other way to help Bay regain his sense of filmic direction?

Moreover, why hire a screenwriter when storytelling and development of characters are the lowest of priorities?  Look at LaBeouf, has his character changed and progressed over the course of the three films?  Has his relationship with bots Optimus Prime and Bumblebee been anything more than perfunctory? 

I want to care for their characters, but Bay does not allow me to.  Which is such a pity because the Transformers series could have been remembered as something more than just metal bots chaotically playing metal percussion in an orchestra whose conductor has already been abyss-sucked.  Let Bay suck and be sucked, so why bail him out with your handful of hard-earned wad?


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daniel said…
I wonder why this robot-humping fest is so popular in singapore? Did you read the recent (think it was yesterday or the day defore) article on Life! about the dearth of arthouse films in cinemas? Just take a look at the amout of ads of transformers, with the cinemas screening this like 20 times a day....

Seriously, how can anyone be entertained by that laboreof slo-mo jumping here and there, tons of scrap metal bashing one another up, to the sound of linkin park.
Eternality said…
Yeah I read about it. It's quite sad. But I do think there are more film festivals in Singapore now than perhaps 5 years ago.

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