film review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon


Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Optimus PrimeI am a fan of the Transformers films. I even liked the second one. Yes, it’s true, and I know I’ve lost some of you already… but you know what? I just like seeing giant robots beating each other up on a huge screen. So sue me.

Ok. Possibly, I may have given Revenge of the Fallen too high a score… but oh well, I can’t back away from it now. I have revised my rating expectations in the last while but I’d still give it like a 7.

Anyway, there’s a lot of people who’ll see “Michael Bay” on the poster and that’ll make up their minds about the film for them. The fact is, I couldn’t give a damn about Michael Bay. I’ve only seen 4 of his movies and 3 of those were the Transformers films. The other was Armageddon, which I love, quite simply because it’s the most cheesy film I’ve ever seen in my whole life. It’s amazing the level it takes it to. As far as I’m concerned, that’s something to be admired.

Oh wait, this isn’t meant to be a rambling conversation with myself about nothing in particular. This is meant to be a review. So I’d better do that. Ok. Right…

The fact is that, even though I love giant robots. And even though I enjoyed this movie. I found it much harder to forgive the blatant transgressions in this film than the other two. The flaws in this run deeper than in the other two… in my opinion.

I kinda don’t want to start off on a rant so I’m gonna go with some nice things first.

The things I liked about Dark of the Moon were the things I liked about the other two films. I think the effects and the action in these films fan-tastic. I’m not VFX artist. I don’t know jack about these things. All I know is that these films make me believe that they really had giant robots* skating down highways and destroying buildings. I can enjoy a film on that level alone. I don’t really need more than that.

I also think it has decent pacing. Decent, not great. It’d be better paced if they cut out half an hour, but I didn’t think it was boring at any point. They whizzed along from one thing to the next pretty quickly. I was relatively interested in what was going on but mainly I wanted to see giant robots fighting and they did plenty of that.

One could argue that the plot was overly convoluted. I wouldn’t. There were a lot of people and giant robots taking about “Cybertron” and “Pillars” and a “Space Bridge“… but you don’t have to listen. Basically the bad guys want to do some bad stuff and the good guys want to stop them. Beyond that, the plot is irrelevant. I mean it’s there and I’m sure someone spent a good lot of time thinking it through. The details are kinda complicated, in some way, I suppose, but… who cares?

And, I still liked the old characters. I think Shia LaBeouf is perfectly believable as Sam Witwicky, the brave, yet weedy, hero. I find his parents and John Tuturro’s Simmons good comic relief. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson are still convincing soldier types. Some of the new folks were good as well – Ken Jeong, John Malkovich and Alan Tudyk all turn up and steal scenes all over the place. But… there is another new character… and this is where we come to the bad part of the film.

And now I’m not feeling like a rant, but anyway…

I place all the problems with this film squarely on the shoulders of the people who decided to get rid of Megan Fox and hire a model as the female lead. I’m sure she’s probably a nice person, and I’m not saying that Fox is the greatest actress around. But I always got the impression that Ms. Fox had a brain in her head. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley does not that give off that impression. Which is not to say that I assume she doesn’t. She could be a Rhodes scholar for all I know ^.

All I can say about her is that I hope she is well paid… She seems to have the acting ability of a broomstick and I doubt she will have a long career in the field. I mean she has one scene in the film where she has to do anything of note and it was awful – even I couldn’t pretend I didn’t hear that mindless babble…

… but also, I hope she was well paid because it looked to me like she was horribly exploited in the film. Megan Fox, I believe, knew what she was doing when she leaned over that car engine. I’m not sure that Huntington-Whiteley realised when they filmed that upskirt shot. Or at least, I’m not sure that she realised it would be used. Now I know they hired her because she’s an underwear model but part of me imagines that, per hour, she makes more money at that than being made to look a fool in a Hollywood blockbuster.

It really is my biggest problem with the film. I just don’t see why they decided to go down that route. It’s demeaning and it brings down the tone of the film. Plus, I’m sure there’s plenty of good-lookin’ actresses out there who could look just as hot as Huntington-Whiteley but also actually have the ability to act… Thus, the role wouldn’t have had to be relegated to… well, underwear model. Obviously whoever got rid of Megan Fox didn’t feel that necessary though.

While that mis-step was, to me, almost impossible to ignore, I don’t feel too bad for young Rosie. Not so much that I’m going to say it’s a bad film because of it. There were lots of things about it that I enjoyed and this particular transgression from decency, while shocking, was just about of the right side of forgiveable. And I’m sure there’s actresses who’ve had to do a lot more to get a whole lot less. It may not be a long career but I imagine Rosie will come out of it alright.

So I guess that’s all there is to say. If you like (allegedly) hot women, fast cars, loud explosions and giant robots. This is the film for you. I thought it was good fun. Get some popcorn and check your brain at the door.

Oh! I forgot to mention the 3D. I’d heard along the way that they had especially brightened the 3D versions of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It shows. I have long complained about how dark 3D films are. T:DotM does not suffer from this at all. Which is nice.


* let’s see how many times I can put in “giant robots”.
^ she’s not.
Hey, guess what! It turns out it not that hard to not call it Dark Side of the Moon


  1. comment-avatar
    Matt HunterJuly 14, 2011 - 8:00 pm

    You’re all over it, Nic. I think the fact that Shia and Megan had some private involvement off screen came through in the first 2 – and there just was not any chemistry with the new chick. Maybe if they’d locked them in a pheromone lab for the weekend it would have improved things.

  2. comment-avatar
    MunirJuly 15, 2011 - 7:30 am

    Quote: “. I’ve only seen 4 of his movies and 3 of those were the Transformers films. The other was Armageddon”

    You’ve never seen The Rock with Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery? That movie is definitely your cup of tea for turn-off-brain-and-enjoy-the-ride. It’s the only one of his movies I can stand and hate that it breaks my argument that EVERY Michael Bay movie sucks. He didn’t with that movie. It took what made 80s action movies stupid fun and gave it a makeover for the 21st century.

    Quote: “I think Shia LaBeouf is perfectly believe as Sam Witwicky,”

    HAHAHHAAHA. I think your Singlish just betrayed you. I wanna go make an image meme with that now.

  3. comment-avatar
    Nicola-tJuly 15, 2011 - 9:49 am

    Matt – You could be right there!

    Munir – Haha, thanks for the heads-up, changed it now. And nope, never seen The Rock but I’ve heard it’s good fun and it sounds like my kinda thing alright. Must get to watching it some time.

Leave your comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top