HeadShot REVIEW : Transformers – Dark of the Moon

Right, OK, here we go then, the first review. The first review in what will hopefully become a series of blog posts, designed to provoke discussion, improve my writing skulls, and to basically get me out the house (into a darkened room full of nerds).
I’ll be giving my views on the big Hollywood blockbusters, the art-house breakthroughs and the classic re-releases. Subtly recommending * what to see, what to avoid, and what to set alight in a bin, staring deep into the flames, screaming, screaming to forget!


Sooooo Transformers, if you’d lost count this is the third one and therefore like my ex-girlfriend walking out on me, it’s carrying a lot of baggage, so here’s a recap……..

PREVIOUSLY ON THE TRANFORMERERS:

Cybertron (a planet) is mired in intergalactic Civil War between robo-twats The Decepticons (AKA the baddies) and noble mecha-monks The Autobots (AKA the goodies). They land on earth searching for the All Spark (a talisman or a macguffin or something) and meet teenager Sam Whitwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf; an actor that sounds like a French kebab and constantly upsets spell-check) who joins the Autobots on an adventure culminating in a crazy drug-fuelled orgy, that spins out of control when Optimus Prime crushes a stripper to death. Well it’s not that, but it’s something like that.
As I haven’t seen the second one (don’t expect my research to get any better, I went to see this movie, that’s a good start) here’s part of its mind-boggling synopsis from IMDB:

‘The Decepticons need access to Sam’s mind to see some glyphs imprinted there that will lead them to a fragile object that, when inserted in an alien machine hidden in Egypt for centuries, will give them the power to blow out the sun.’

Confused? That’s nothing, I’ve seen the new one!

The film opens with an intriguing prologue, proposing that the ‘69 moon landings were not a conspiracy but a handy excuse for humans to go bouncing off and investigate a mysterious ship that has crash landed there.
It’s a set up that immediately raised my hopes, ‘maybe this could be something a bit different, something exciting and unashamedly Sci-fi.’ But then all of a sudden we’re pulled into the present and we’re back with Shia playing his trademark every-teen with typical charisma-free flair, indulging the film’s target audience with all their schoolboy fantasies (except the gay ones) ‘cos he’s only gone and somehow managed to pull Rosie Huntington – Whiteley!

Things I know about Rosie Huntington – Whiteley  (Before leering at her in Transformers or BLT)

  • She replaced Megan Fox as the series’ token saliva inducer
  • She’s The Stath’s latest squeeze (I hate that word, if Statham actually did squeeze her, her perfect porcelain bonce would probably pop clean off)
  • She was voted ‘Most Beautiful Woman in the World’ by Softcore magazine and is so stunning you might as well remove your eyeballs as you’ll never see anyone as beautiful again for as long as you live.

 
But the real eye candy on show, the real stars of the movie are still the robots themselves, (see them overshadow the puny humans on the poster) smashing their way through scenes like a lazy metaphor in a film review.

The action, after all, is what this movie is really about, it’s the reason director Michael Bay keeps making them, and such distractions as plot and characters are merely used to hang set piece after set piece of frenetic smash-smash.
Throw in Rosie Huntington Whiteley walking around in an increasingly tight selection of outfits and the audience should be nicely distracted from the fact that there is no cohesive storyline to speak of. Bay prefers to disregard pointless elements that most directors would worry about, like mood and tone, and cunningly replaces them with a bit of slow-mo and an inoffensive soft-rock soundtrack.
What there is however is a startling amount of strange comedy characters, Malkovich is here playing bonkers, John Turturro is here too acting bonkers and the Asian guy out of The Hangover is acting really, really bonkers. And that’s not including a plethora of annoying robo-sidekicks who pop up now and then but never actually add anything to the story.

Worst of all though is the clear lack of chemistry between the two leads, Rosie Huntington Whiteley struts around pouting with lips that’d have Angelina Jolie reaching for the botox, while Shia stares vacantly at the camera with a grubby face and shouts ‘NOOOOOOO!’ a lot. And throughout all this the audience are all asking themselves the same question, ‘What the hell does she see in him?’ But in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, nothing is believable, not even the relationships or the acting. Maybe in the next one (‘cos there will be more) Bay will decide to CG in some actors instead.

It’s not all bad (just mostly) the special effects guys deserve credit for clearly working their asses off to develop some stunning visual sequences. One where Shia has his car transform around him only to reform so he’s sat back safely at the wheel is impressive (but you’ve probably already seen that on the trailer). There’s also an exciting skydiving sequence that reminds you what this film should be, fun. But Bay just doesn’t bring any tension or any genuine feeling of threat to the sequences; instead it feels like a multi-million dollar episode of Power Rangers.

And what is it that Michael Bay has against freeways, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a traffic jam with the guy, he’s destroyed car after car from The Rock, to The Island, Bad Boys 2 and the all The Transformers movies, here’s a clip of him even reusing some of the same footage:

http://io9.com/5817618/recycled-bayhem-transformers-3-reuses-a-chase-scene-from-the-island

Which makes it hard to combat criticisms that his films are generic guff churned out with a different number (or ridiculous sub-title**) next to it.
Still you know the teens will go see it like idiot moths drawn to an unending franchise of repetitive, designed by committee flames and it’ll make a cajillion zillion at the box office. Expect the fourth movie in 2014, hopefully titled Transformers 4: End of the Road.

Things I know about Rosie Huntington – Whiteley (Minutes after leering at her in Transformers or MALT)

  • She will be replaced in the next Transformers movie probably by a sexy unclothed mannequin.
  • She is now dating Billy Zane/Owen Wilson/Louie Spence
  • She has been voted ‘Most Painfully British Accent in a Movie Ever’, by me.

Sum up:    Like its leads, it’s pretty but lacking in any real emotion, and that’s how it makes you feel in the end, a bit like a robot.

RATING: 3 pointless fluffy rabbits out of 10

 

WEIRD CAMEO OF THE WEEK:  Buzz Aldrin, yes the actual astronaut fella!!

*whilst holding a knife and a whimpering puppy

**‘Dark of The Moon’? Even the title doesn’t make any sense?
Here’s an interesting article discussing it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/jul/04/transformers-dark-moon

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