Couch Critic: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

July 8, 2011 Film Reviews

1 out of 5 stars

In Brief

Burdened by an incoherent script and fatiguing action, Dark Of The Moon rapes the senses for an obnoxious 154 minutes.

In Long

There isn’t much about Dark Of The Moon that makes sense. And even though it should, I’m not sure it’s trying to. As with nearly all Michael Bay movies it’s a case of sensation over sensibility, style over substance. There are points in the story where you will ask yourself, “Wait. How did they get there?” and “Where did that come from?”

While the plot itself is routinely straightforward — good robots and humans fight together against bad robots (and humans) who want to seize Earth and enslave humanity — sadly the pieces that connect this plot are buried in the urban rubble of Chicago. Many of the developments are never explained nor made to appear the least bit sensible (ie. a planet made of metal is teleported to occupy the same space as Earth and no gravitational problems arise? hmm.)

One could argue that we’re not supposed to think this hard or this logically about Dark Of The Moon, but that’s just not true. Summer blockbusters can be both intelligent and entertaining. Michael Bay’s problem is that he clearly doesn’t respect his audience. No one wants to endure an insipid two and a half hours and not have at least a little frontal lobe activity to show for it. Transformers 3 should come with a warning: “Intelligent film-goers be damned. Lobotomies performed at the door.”

Specifically, the third section of the movie leaves you feeling exhausted and depleted. It’s as if the sensory overload of the 45-minute epic battle of metal is sucking the life right out of you. As the Emperor of Explosions, Bay’s work here is exasperating instead of exciting and implodes without having much meaningful impact.

What worked so well for the first film of the franchise is the character relationships that are central to origin stories of the fantasy genre. In the original Transformers, Sam Witwicky learns the complex and often comical affair of having a car that is also a yellow robot. There is a sense of discovery at the new dynamic a machine race brings to an otherwise familiar suburbia. In the subsequent sequels, character and relational development is all but removed from the picture and replaced with a bloated use of CGI; Computer graphics which are the calling card of the Transformer franchise and are admittedly so believable that it appears the actors are working with actual mechanical sentient beings.

By way of analogy, watching Dark Of The Moon is like listening to thrash metal at volume 11. There are no dynamics nor subtleties, and the overstimulating onslaught of destruction evinces one big noisy mess. But look on the bright side. At least we were listening through 195 million dollar headphones.

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