An open mind is a wonderful thing, and I approach every film I see with one. Despite the narrative black hole that was Transformers Revenge of the Fallen there was something in the first film which gave me hope that a return to form was the only option open to Michael Bay and his enormous metal army, and it certainly couldn’t be worse than racist robots and roboballs, could it?
Transformers Dark of the Moon is a technical marvel and though the lauded 3D obviously doesn’t make it to DVD the incredible CG creations have never looked better on screen with whole cities crumbling and some excellent stunt work at play here, particularly in a set piece with a collapsing building. Likewise there’s a few new robots taking the field here as we find Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky down on his luck after saving the world, though he does have a stupidly attractive girlfriend and knows all the cool giant robots in town, but with comedy parents in town for a road trip and no luck finding a job we’re all set for Round Three of this planet wide boxing match.
When this one rolled out in cinemas the lines were already drawn and the critical backlash was countered before it appeared by the fanbase, a section of which championed the notion that as a Transformers film it isn’t meant for critics and is best enjoyed with the brain firmly switched off. This is an immensely stupid and troubling comment and its prevalence as a defence the wake of T DOTM finding its way into cinemas is an indication that the film rarely tries to deliver anything other than the usual maelstrom of metal fisticuffs.
It does start off well, and has a nice premise setting things in motion, with the Moon landing mission having a secret purpose. This opening scene is well directed and gives a glimmer of hope that we’ll have more to work with here than usual. Sadly it’s the only original piece in the film and very soon we are back on track with Bay’s patented rapid fire dialogue, complete with some outlandishly terribly comedy insertions which litter the film like an errant child who has had too much ice-cream and shouts childish jokes during a family dinner, and then comes all the all-too-familiar hitting. I know this film has its audience and I’m very happy they enjoyed the film but there’s so little here to engage any emotion other than unrequited lust; it is as if Bay has some sort of contraption similar to Krank’s dream stealer in Jeunet & Caro’s The City of Lost Children and is drawing on the dullest of teenage wet dreams.
And John Malkovich does John Turturro’s Crazy Guy routine this time round so you get that thrown in for free.
I would wish that this was the final film in the series of Big Robots Hitting but I fear we’re due to see more from this sterile world, with Jason Statham’s name being bandied around for a new director to place in the middle of the next mess, and I can see it happening because, as my friend who watched it with me said, in Michael Bay’s world there are no fat ladies to sing.
There were no extras on the DVD I was sent and that’s just as well.