Transformers: Dark of the Moon

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2011, 12:00am

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand
Director: Michael Bay
Category: IIA

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a typical Michael Bay film: a blockbusting explosion fest that is incredibly loud and noisy. The movie is also painfully long: running to more than 2 1/2 hours, it makes you wonder what takes these warring robots so long to tear each other apart.

The answer will chill you to the bone: Bay, as if to hit back at criticism that his movies crush the intellect with special effects, decides to touch on human interest - love, self-belief and so on - in between action. The result is like a handyman doing ballet - you rather wish he had stuck with his job.

The story picks up where it left off in the second instalment. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has a new girlfriend, Carly Spencer (played by Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). He is also entering young adulthood, graduating from college and looking for a job.

Yet after saving the world twice, Witwicky couldn't settle on anything less meaningful than preserving the human race. Thanks to the Decepticons, who come up with another evil ploy to take over our planet, the frustrated Gen-Yer has another opportunity to team up with the Autobots to bring peace to the world.

The story is schoolboy fantasy stuff, but in a 3-D extravaganza it's the action scenes that count. In this respect, Bay and his team have given their all. The special effects are technically superb and the action sequences are, at times, breathtaking. This time we can tell the warring robots apart.

Yet the big problem is that the robots remain soulless. Even Optimus Prime, the hero of the series, remains very much a cardboard character. Therefore as the final epic battle drags on and on what you feel is fatigue rather than excitement.

It is difficult to comment on the actors because there's very little for them to do apart from screaming and running. LaBeouf is noisy and annoying as always; and if Megan Fox can't act, then Huntington-Whiteley is worse. The most memorable performances come from Oscar winner Frances McDormand and veteran actor John Turturro. Both manage to light up the movie with some fleeting comical moments.

Strictly, Dark of the Moon is not a film. It is an expensive PR event, a big marketing machine for Hasbro. Welcome to the world of consumerist filmmaking.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is screening now