Transformers: Dark of the Moon (M)

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Review byTenani French29/06/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 155 mins

Everything you want in a Hollywood sci-fi flick: big explosions, a booming soundtrack, eye-candy and giant robot fights in 3D. Check your critical mind at the box office, sit back and enjoy an unashamedly over-the-top action spectacular as only the Transformers franchise can deliver.

What's it all about?
The living mechanical beings are back for a third go and this time it’s the moon that holds all the secrets. In the final hours of the war on Cybertron between the Autobots and the Decepticons the Autobot leader, Sentinel Prime, launches an Ark into space which could save Cybertron and the Autobot race. The Ark is damaged en route and crashes on Earth’s moon where the space race between the Soviet Union and United States heats up as both governments try to be the first to uncover the secrets behind the mysterious alien spacecraft.

After being dumped by his previous girlfriend (assumed to be Megan Fox) Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has landed himself another hottie in Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Sam now lives in Washington, DC and is struggling to find a job after graduating from university. Desperate for the action and fulfillment he felt from saving the world twice before (see previous two Transformers movies) Sam finds purpose when an employee from his office slips him top secret information revealing the secret of the Cybertronian Ark and its cargo. Against the wishes of the US Secretary of Defense Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand) Sam enlists the help of the Autobots, Lt. Colonel Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Agent Simmons (John Turturro) to prevent the Decepticons from obtaining the power of the Ark. However, when one of their own turns on them the Autobots, and their human allies, face an apocalyptic final battle which will test the humanity in all of them.

The Good
As this is a Michael Bay sequel everything is bigger and better this time around. The set pieces are breathtaking, the locations exotic and the special effects as explosive-y as ever. There’s a real sense that the Autobots and Decepticons have found a place in the human world and for the first time the CGI robot characters seems to have a hint of humanity to them. That said there is a lot less robot in the first half of the film than in the previous films. Optimus Prime is sidelined until the final act to make way for a human enemy and new Cybertronian characters. The film being in 3D is surprisingly not as annoying as you’d think, the effect is used appropriately and effectively.

The acting in this film is as you would expect from a film where the main characters are designed on a computer and turn into various cars and vehicles. LaBeouf is as awkward as ever though his character hasn’t seemed to have grown much from the first film. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is simply stunning and Bay makes good use of that fact with countless slow, lingering shots of her. She plays the concerned girlfriend well leaving no doubt that the absence of Megan Fox was no great loss to the franchise, though let’s be honest, neither of them were hired for their acting skills.

The Great
As can be expected from a Transformers movie the special effects are positively perfect. Each CGI moment seems polished and perfectly pitched for the 3D presentation. Bay has this time learned to include wider shots of the robot fight scenes so the audience can actually make sense of the action and explores more variety when it comes to framing. It pays off. Keep an eye out to an especially stunning scene shot from a 3D camera strapped to the head of a wing-glider flying through downtown Chicago. The film is less 3D in-your-face and more a hypercaffeinated story about stranded robots fighting to protect humankind. Also, Optimus Prime seems to have run out of cheesy monologues, thank God.

Worth seeing?
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is not the perfect movie, but it’s damn near the best blockbuster popcorn flick of 2011 so far with enough explosions, laughs and shots of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to keep everyone happy.

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Content updated: 25/06/2018 16:02

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