Wednesday, 29 June 2011

173: Review - Transformers: Dark of the Moon

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Transformers Dark of the Moon poster

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (3D) - Spoiler-free.
28 June 2011. Location: Cinema

Pre-amble: There was a reassuring number of men in their 20's and 30's at tonight's preview showing of Transformers. Given that I didn't hear any grumbling before, throughout or after the film, I think they were there for the right reason: to enjoy watching 40ft high robots knocking the shit out of each other.

I'm sure a lot of reviews are going to slate this film for the very reasons I love it. If you're wanting anything other than a Michael Bay film, don't watch it. If you're wanting anything other than a live-action cartoon which is essentially a 2h34m advert for toys, don't watch it. If you haven't thoroughly enjoyed the previous two movies based on a cartoon from the 1980's, but you're the kind of smart-arsed pedantic arsehole that will go and see it anyway, then complain about the lack of higher-message… DON'T WATCH IT.

I trust you know where I'm coming from. By the third installment in this series, you should know exactly what you're going to get, and it delivers in spades (although this is perhaps the film's Achilles Heel).

The Plot: The dark side of our moon is home to a crashed starship; the humans' first contact with the mechanical race known as the Transformers. On board this ship is the technology to create a teleportation device, which has the potential to allow the robots to travel back to their ravaged homeworld, or bring the inhabitants of Cybertron to us. Also on board the ship is the only being who knows how to operate this equipment, and the race is on to make sure the teleporter is used for good…

The Good: Almost everything. A funny script, featuring plenty of laugh-out-loud moments without cheapening the action. Jaw-dropping visuals (even the 3D is effective, which is becoming a rarity these days) and animation we've come to expect, paired with fantastic voice-work for the robots to create actual characters. Even new kid on the block Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley is a workable replacement for Megan Fox; although she hardly steals the show, that's more down to the creators of the film than her performance - and Ms Fox's contribution to the proceedings was debatable at best. Also on great form are John Malkovich and the ever-magnificent Ken Jeong, both bringing an intense humour. Also worth mentioning; established characters on both sides die in this movie. I know nothing's certain in this universe, but when you see the head come off and the eye-lights go out? Yeah.

Best robots? SHOCKWAVE! We've got Shockwave! [/geekout] We also get what almost amounts to character development for Megatron, and it's good, great to see the Autobots finally saying enough is enough and kicking-off.

The Bad: Michael Bay's usual culprits are here; crammed exposition, lens-flare, slo-mo explosions, lingering shots of the pretty lady etc, but given the circumstances, I'll classify those as comforting. It wouldn't be Transformers without them. There are also a couple of '…that wouldn't happen' moments, but then I remembered I was watching a film featuring 40ft high robots knocking the shit out of each other…
The only real issue I had was that the pace seems to slow to a crawl at the beginning of the Battle for Chicago. I mean, really slow. I know the audience needs a breather, but they're ready for the climactic endpiece at that point, and when that does arrive, it's still 40 minutes long. Keep the adrenaline up, cut the chaff. I don't mind a movie being two and a half hours, but it's a little uneven as it stands. Still, plenty of time for you to nip to the toilet, as you'll have finished that massive Coke by then.

The Ugly: Still no Dinobots. Still no return of Jazz as a Porsche 911. Come on, Bay, it's almost as if you haven't been reading my e-mails...

All in all: Flipping awesome. I don't care what the other critics will say, just enjoy this for what it is. A magnificent roller-coaster that you're not meant to examine too closely. This film will give you what you expect. You've only got to decide if you want to pay money for that. For me? Shit, yeah.

The Last Word: There's nothing at the end of the credits. I waited around so you don't have to ;D


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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