Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel
The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.
Its special effects -- and 3D shots -- are undeniably impressive, but they aren't enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script.
  • Paramount Studios Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 29 Jun 2011 Released:
  • 30 Sep 2011 DVD Release:
  • $352.4M Box office:

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Trailer:

Ugh...2/10
// Minor spoilers and bad guy ultimate plot revealed in last paragraph, but it's so stupid you want to know it. Long and rant filled review.

Let's start with 10 stars.

Rosie and Shia wouldn't know how to fake chemistry if someone wrapped a lead pipe in the periodic table and beat them upside their botoxed faces for an hour. The romance part is so awful, so cheesy in this movie, it takes down a star right off the bat. I will also mention the "romance" between Optimus Prime and America - the "one and only real and holy country in the world". *puke*

9 / 10.

Rosie has to be mentioned again as a standalone entry. I can imagine how the casting went.. Bay walks into modeling agency, closes his eyes and says "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you're the clone that comes along!", thereby picking out the 403rd pair of tits in the lineup. A horrible actress, pretentious character and a so obnoxiously unnecessary role the movie would have been two stars better if she were not there at all. Also, lips are not supposed to look like that. If I was Shia, I'd worry "Are you sure your lips don't hurt? Can we kiss? Won't a stitch break or something?"

7 / 10.

At one point, a guy "hacks" a bridge. He logs into the "bridge control" , and lowers it. Hollywood, bridges do not have an open internet connection with a designated port for "Bridge Control API", otherwise every hacker would be lowering and raising bridges everywhere.

6 / 10.

Since the black guy stereotypes in Transformers2 got some bad rep, Bay went the other way this time - Irish and Scottish. Yes, there is a green robot with an Irish accent, and a red robot with a huge belly and a beard, with a Scottish accent. How did that happen? Did they scan an Ire/Scot when they landed instead of a car? If so, weren't they supposed to turn into the robot-terminator-chick type from Transformers 2?

5 / 10.

Physics. Oh god, the physics. Dear Michael Bay, please realize the following: a) Moon sand is a highly corrosive and metal-unfriendly substance. Any kind of moving metalpart coming in that much contact with it would self destruct by the time it made 3 steps. b) One plane was enough to collapse a Twin Tower into dust. A seventy million billion ton robot shooting and crashing into a building will not make it "tilt slightly" and when that building falls, it will not get stuck between two others like a bridge, ever, regardless what it's made of, especially if that same robot is still crawling through it and destroying chunks. c) When stuff explodes near people, people tend to be stunned, burned and / or get shrapnel shot into their spines. They do not sit idly by and contemplate the situation. So if a grenade explodes in an office cubicle next to the one where the protagonist is standing, he will most probably DIE. d) You cannot grab a SHARP, MAD, DANGEROUS robot by the neck and keep it in control. You will LOSE YOUR FINGERS. e) Do you have any idea how much extra it costs to send an extra kilogram into space in a shuttle? Now imagine how much fuel and money you would need to send 10 million-ton robots into space with a regular human space shuttle launcher. f) When people fly through glass, they ALWAYS get cut. When they fly through 10 panes of glass, they DIE. When they fly through 20, they DON'T, because they got impaled on the 12th or 13th.

4/10

Stealing characters from other franchises just for the kick of it is not cool. You have a predator robot, a robot that is "Q from James Bond", etc. What...?

3 / 10.

Plot: If I was an evil genius and built a war-turning technology, I definitely would not build it so that it has exactly one weak point that, if struck, undoes absolutely everything it ever did, and I would definitely not leave it exposed. The bad guys' ultimate plan was to teleport their PLANET to Earth's atmosphere in order to rebuild it. This raises several issues: 1) You would have approximately 10 minutes to live, before Earth and Cybertron collided due to gravity. Those 10 minutes would be filled with an apocalypse due to uncontrollable floods caused by tides. 2) If you want 6 billion people for the sole purpose of slave labor, you should think about point 1). Also, it is stupid to believe 6 billion people could rebuild a robotic planet sooner or better than 1000 decepticons - you not only have to accommodate and feed the people, but also modify the planet's surface for them to be able to move on it. 3) There is a part where Megatron is chillaxing in an alley after a big fight, and the flat-lipped wonder of a model-clone that is Carly comes up to him spewing some bullshit about the other bad guy getting ready to betray him. Now, even if she made a point, I would still CRUSH that human insect. A meaningless pretentious bitch telling me what to think? I'm a god damn eleventy billion ton robot, you skank! *crush* The other critically stupid thing is the fact that Megatron then prevents the other bad guy from killing Optimus. If you have two enemies who are fighting, it is generally not a good idea to prevent them from killing each other! And while we're here, the decepticons could have won if the bad guy had just used one of the 994208 chances to kill Optimus he's had up until this point.

This brings the movie down to 1/10, but I'll give it a star for excellent special effects. 2/10.
Amazing visual spectacle but tedious and full of clichés4/10
This film is certainly an outstanding visual spectacle that boasts some of the most impressive, fluid and stunning cgi sequences I've ever seen. The photography is fantastic and the 3d technology is used effectively to create stunning, visually amazing scenes. However, that is the only aspect of the film that I believe deserves merit at all.

Despite the continuous action, destruction and battles, I found this film to be extremely boring, and the final battle, which claimed the last hour of the film was far too long and drawn out and it greatly prevented me from appreciating the visual spectacle that is the final battle as it's so long it becomes tedious and I couldn't wait for it to end.

The extensive use of cgi action scenes was what ruined the film for me, and although I never fully agree with the typical view that modern films have too much cgi and effects and not enough good story, this film certainly presented a convincing case that the above statement is true. As there is so much shooting, exploding and fighting in this film there is relatively little time for dialogue, which was largely, poorly written, and full of cliches.

Finally, I didn't rate the casting of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or her performance. She has clearly been chosen for the role for her good looks and her great sex appeal although I think she shines brighter as an underwear model than blockbuster film actress. Also, It seems unbelievable to me that Shia LaBeouf's character, although not a bad looking guy, has been in relationships with 2 characters played by women who have both topped the annual FHM 100 sexiest women in the world poll. Rosie has clearly been cast to attract more male viewers, bring sex appeal that the film didn't really need and throughout struck me as being far out of Shia's league.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Some Things Never Change3/10
I'm going to commit what to many will seem like film geek treason, I will now connect Michael Bay and Terrence Malick into one theory of filmmaking.

Yep, deal with it.

Malick and Bay share one important thing and that is a completely unabashed tunnelvision for the type of film they want, damn the naysayers, critics and crowds. They both make movies mainly for themselves and in truth, there is nothing wrong with that. As an audience member you need to know going in exactly what you are going to get. It is the only way to really enjoy anything that falls from the cameras of these two (and some other notables). With that said, let's dive headlong into the metallic masterpiece of summertime popcorn, Transformers!

Transformers: Dark of the Moon continues the story of Sam Witwicky and his Autobot friends. While Sam struggles to gain a purpose in life outside of Decepticon attacks, the Autobots are off helping the government on secret missions. Then everything is torn apart by the discovery of the original Autobot escape ship, known as The Ark, and the captain of that ship, Sentinel Prime. He alone holds the key to technology that could either help reshape the Transformers home world or completely destroy ours. The Decepticons, completely aware of this discovery, make an immediate power play and the war is back, bigger than ever.

Kids buying the Transformer toys today only want one thing, huge robots in spectacular 3D slow motion destroying each other and every building in sight. From this narrow viewpoint, Bay delivers in bulk. The highway fight sequence brought back memories of other high-speed terror scenes like in Matrix Reloaded and The Island (maybe a little too reminiscent of that last one according to some eagle eyed movie nerds). Since Bay actually filmed these scenes in the latest and greatest 3D technology, it was admittedly pretty amazing to watch. In other scenes, some of the CGI was so intensely crisp that it actually started popping too far from the live footage, making it stand out, which ruins a little of the illusion.

So the special effects is where it was at. Big robots, big explosions, big buildings falling down. Those were the high points.

The low points were pretty much everything else.

Standing in the center of all the toys-on-roids insanity is Shia LaBeouf, who in my opinion is a really good actor banking inside really bad movies. I can't fault him for taking parts in some of the biggest franchises in movie history (Transformers and Indiana Jones) because the exposure and paycheck are nearly impossible to pass up, but in terms of showing his skills as an actor, those hefty titles have done him nothing but a painful disservice. He made his big splash on the scene in the Disney TV show Even Stevens and then on the big screen in the Rear Window update, Disturbia. Many people also don't remember one of my personal favorite performances in the Project Greenlight-sponsored film, The Battle of Shaker Heights. Shia has the chops, but gets surrounded by weak emotional performances, both from CGI and real people. In this outing, Megan Fox's eye candy character was replaced by Victoria Secret's model (and current Jason Statham girlfriend), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Whiteley was an improvement in sense of acting ability, but the part was written levels below what Fox was given. The original love interest had layers, depth and some edge, while Whiteley was given virtually no background, no emotional outlet and nothing to do but stand there and be hot. Sure, the 12-year old in the audience doesn't want or need more, but to them I say, "Go grab a Victoria Secret's catalog from your parent's bathroom and stay out of my movie."

Beyond the magical pair of leads, Bay brings back the regular tough guys, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson, to keep on keeping on. They both do fine jobs and don't try to make this more than it is. Coming in for the first time in the franchise is Frances McDormand, an Academy Award winner to class up the joint. While she was amusing and brought a little more skill to the screen, her part was borderline over-the-top, even in a movie with three story tall robots, because she had to balance out John Tuturro who drifts somewhere off to Hunter S. Thompson land. As if they weren't enough, Bay decides to bring in an unusual amount of big name cameos, including John Malkovich (who does a decent job in his few scenes) and Ken Jeong (who seems to be acting in a completely different movie, possibly thinks he's filming Hangover 3). I saved the best for last though, my personal favorite and the only person I was actually thrilled to see appear on screen, Alan Tudyk (who plays Tuturo's assistant/bodyguard). Tudyk is a cult TV and film legend to his legions of fans spanning from the days of Firefly, Dollhouse and other projects not created by Joss Wheedon. Tudyk was the one person I actually cheered form when he magically appeared on screen.

I could go into a section now where I talk about the story, the plot lines, the connective tissue of the writing, but in reality, Bay didn't really care and neither do the younger members of the crowd, so let's just skip it.

The End of the Page recommendation: Transformers: Dark of the Moon starts slow, goes out with a bang and delivers surface entertainment for the middle school crowd.
A Big Improvement from Revenge of the Fallen7/10
As a huge fan of the Transformers animated series, I like the first Transformers film. The visuals were spectacular and so were the fighting scenes When I saw Transformers 2, which is a HUGE mess of a film, I was really angry. I vowed never to see a Transformers film ever again. But when the trailer of Transformers 3 came out, I actually got a little interested. I mean the special effects were pretty much great as usual. But this time, it seemed they took off the annoying little robots and that annoying mother and replaced them with good old fashioned action.

When I went to an advanced screening yesterday, I still came in with relatively low expectations. I have to say, that Transformers 3 is an overall improvement from its predecessor, Transformers 2. The film was pretty much at level with the first film, though. The action scenes were highly extravagant and at times, pretty epic. The movie had a lot less lame scenes, which is always a plus. The acting was okay. Megan Fox's replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was okay, but she's certainly not a good actress, but a mediocre one, actually I liked her more than Megan Fox. I liked how the movie used the Apollo landing as a part of its story, like in Forrest Gump. However there were so many characters that were extremely thinly written. John Turturro's character was definitely not needed and some of the dialogue was incoherent and very messy, at times. The movie is also way too long, at 157 minutes, wow. I thought the last scene with Megatron was completely rushed and so was the ending. Although the last hour of the film is pretty epic at times, so I was fulfilled with the visual effects.

Overall I rate Transformers 3, an 7/10. Don't go in expecting a Best Picture winner/nominee. With the right amount of expectations, you will probably be fulfilled. A definite improvement over Revenge of the Fallen, which doesn't say much. But at the end, the great special effects and extremely extravagant action scenes more than make up its flaws. I'd recommend this film if you like the franchise.
I have seen the future of horror, and his name is Michael Bay1/10
He has now made two blockbuster movies which make no sense no matter how many ways you try to put them together, and people don't seem to care. The critics have brutally trashed both this movie and "The Fallen" movie, yet audiences love both films although they seem to have been put together by a group of 2nd graders who playing out randomly strung together old cartoon episodes with their toys.

I am an old school fan who liked the first two movies, but "Dark of the Moon" makes "Fallen" look like Shakespeare. It's incredible how many people are saying that this movie is better than "Fallen". With all its faults, at least "Fallen" had humor, some incredible action sequences and effects, and an interesting, if incomplete, script. This movie has none of these things. This is a very long and boring movie that wastes the talents of good actors. The attempts at humor are painful to watch. The three Transformers movies cannot be connected now no matter how hard you try. To make another sequel would be ludicrous, but seeing how much money this drivel is making already, I bet they have already taken the five minutes needed to write the next one. The original writers were smart to bail out of this train wreck after Bay made them write "Fallen" in a couple of days and went on to butcher the little that they had time to write. This time there was no writers' strike, so I expected better--like explanations and connections across all three films. You'll get none of that here, just more incomprehensible nonsense that ignores the other films. You don't know what's going on half the time, and the final battle has no pacing, motivation, or orientation--it just drags on and on and on---like that 20 minute desert sequence in "The Fallen" multiplied by 10.

What happened to the Cube's knowledge in Sam's brain? Why was Sentinel Prime's ship shot down by the people that were working with him? How was Megatron going to rendezvous with him if they ended up finding earth in different time periods? Why did Megatron go after the cube if the original plan seemed to be to enslave earth and transport Cybertron there using the space bridge? How did Sentinel's ship crash on earth's moon if it was shot down over Cybertron? Why didn't Megatron go after the Space Bridge parts when he awoke in the first movie? Why didn't he after he awoke in the second movie? Why didn't they use the shard in the second movie to activate Sentinel on the moon instead of Megatron? How did Sentinel, the Cube, and the Sun Harvester all end up on earth? Why are the Transformers not even bothering to project human images in their car modes anymore? Why does Prime carry The Matrix of Leadership (a key to activate the Sun Harvester) inside of him and use it to energize Autobots which it is not meant to do? When, why, and how did an entire army of generic Decepticons hide inside of the moon? Why do the Transformers transform? These are just a few of about a hundred questions that this movie brings up. I suspect that not even Michael Bay knows the answers, and he doesn't care. it's insulting.

There are some good ideas, but it's all put together very badly, and not much is explained. Watching this movie gave me the feeling that Bay and the actors are here to wrap this up and are not interested in this material. The studios will be pressuring him to make #4, so he can get some 3rd graders together to write a script again---yet another group of Autobots has been buried in a volcano for 4 million years! They can transform to dinosaurs-- no explanation is necessary. Out of all of the planets in the infinite universe, their ship crashed on earth because...well because the script says so. They were looking for the cube, no-- the Harvester, no-- the space bridge, no wait...they were looking for the ancestor of Michael Bay. If Bay is never born, these movies would never exist and we can reboot.