Wednesday, 29 June 2011
(Movie Review) Transformers - Dark of the Moon
Disappointment. That bitter taste in the mouth at experiencing something so much worse than you had hoped for. As the latest Transformers movie trundled into its closing fifteen minute, that's all I could really feel - proper head in your hands disappointment.
Dazzling special effects and an eye-watering budget, all these fell by the wayside when faced up to the facts that as much as I wanted it to be, this is simply not a good movie. In a year when we've had such brilliance as X Men: First Class, the level of big Hollywood blockbusters has been set so high that simply chucking a load of explosions and cool robots at the audience isn't enough.
Pretty much every bit of dialogue in the film is cringe-inducing, packed full of cliches and guff about 'All I ever wanted to do was save Cybertron...' - it sounds more like the stuff of kids' playground antics than the script of a big bucks sci-fi film.
The jokes are poor and feel incredibly forced, characters talk over each-other in what feels like a desperate attempt to pump some sense of emotion in, and the dialogue at its worst moments feels like a first-draft run-through rather than a finished product.
Yes, this was never going to be a stellar bit of film-making, and my expectations weren't exactly high after being equally let down by the previous two films in the series - but I didn't expect such a disappointment three times running. Dark of the Moon is by no means awful, but I haven't watched a film that was such a chore to get through as this for a long time.
All things considered, the big female star Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is surprisingly alright, in an exceedingly hot sort of way. She pouts a lot and speaks in an incongrously posh British accent, but manages to be much better than Megan Fox ever was - though that's not exactly a hard thing to do.
Her malevolent boss, played by Patrick Dempsey, is rather good too - but aside from this, none of the cast - leading man Shia LaBeouf included - particularly stand out at all. They become merely enablers to push the movie on to the next big effects sequence. And it's here where the film falls down so far - you can't construct a film just from bangs and battles, recent flop Skyline was proof of that.
I didn't feel like I cared for any of the characters, worsened by the fact the cast was so ridiculously large and unweildy - interchangeable soldier and government types being wheeled in and out at the drop of a hat.
The only two times I felt genuinely wowed by the film was the opening introductory material - where historical footage of the Apollo 11 mission is spliced in - and the dramatic motorway battle/chase sequence. These two moments felt like the kind of movie I wanted to see, they were big, dramatic, stirring. Worth the price of the ticket? Perhaps, but any good they did for the film felt erased by having to wade through the prodigious bulk of everything else.
More an excersise in commercialism than film (there are some absolutely hilarious product placements - so brazen and in your face you'll laugh), Dark of the Moon comes as a real shame - because at its heart still lies the design classic that are the Transformers themselves. You just wish they had been put to better use.