Friday, 1 July 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Dir. Michael Bay

Collectively the two previous live-action ‘Transformers’ instalments have grossed over $1.5 billion dollars worldwide between themselves in a little more than two years, so it was always inevitable that Bay and Paramount would re-team for a third film to round out the robotic trilogy. However, just like its previous cinematic instalment, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ is a poorly crafted, overlong, robot-infested-mess which is populated continuously with cheaply written dialogue and over-the-top acting.

In 1961, John F Kennedy tells the American public that they will endeavour to put a man on the moon before the end of the century, but what the American public isn’t told is that the space-race has been commissioned to reach a Cybertronian craft that has become stranded on the dark side of the moon. However, nothing is never simple as it seems, as Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is once again drawn away from his post-graduate job-hunting and attractive British girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) and is placed slap-bang in the middle of the reoccurring war between the Autobot protagonists, commanded by Optimus Prime, who must once again stop the villainous Megatron and his Decepticon partners from destroying planet Earth.

At two-and-a-half hours in length, ‘Dark of the Moon’ is just a long, tedious film to watch, which is primarily down to the films incredibly disjointed plot. For the first two acts of the film, Bay continuously jumps between the romantic-comedy and action-adventure sub-genres, before deciding to simply settle on an all-out extended action sequence, which then culminates in a third act which contains nothing more than exploding robots and extended scenic destruction. In between the constant on-screen destruction important plot-points are information is seemingly thrown at the audience hoping to create anything that can be seemingly considered a workable and engaging plot. Despite having a potentially workable premise in using the moon landing of 1969 to establish a link between the extra-terrestrial robots and humanity, it is instead reworked into a complex plot involving years of conspiracies that are never fully explored nor investigated.

Alongside the disorganized plot, Bay once again attempts to place considerable emphasis upon the actions and choices of humanity, rather than the Transformers themselves. For example, in during the beginning of the final climatic fight sequence, Sam is about to save his girlfriend himself from a dangerous, metal-laden fortress, however as Epps (Tyrese Gibson) is unable to follow due to the impending doom that lies ahead he instead offers the pesky young adult a hand-gun, just in-case he encounters any large and sophisticated robotic killing machines. This is the conclusion of a sequence which shows all the former soldiers coming together out of retirement to help Sam and the human race, before they decide that the situation is ultimately too dangerous for them. All the while the Autobots are eventually introduced back into the situation with yet another preposterous explanation that just further cements films lack of structure. This focus upon humanity isn’t helped either by the stale acting and cheesy script which despite newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley attempting to work beyond stereotype she is unable to do, as the script clearly has her labelled as nothing more than ‘Sam’s attractive love-interest’.

Once again Michael Bay has attempted to circumvent the simple rules of filmmaking by filling his third Transformers film up to the brim with energetic action-sequences and detailed computer generated imagery hoping to cover the fact that it contains a convoluted and difficult plot, sub-par acting and terrible dialogue. ‘Dark of the Moon’ would work perfectly if the final climatic fight sequence was released as a stand-alone short film examining the effects of modern-day technology on film-making, but as a two-and-a-half-hour feature film, the third film in the Transformers franchise misses the boat (once again) completely.