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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (DVD)

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Genre: Children's DVDs - Fantasy / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Michael Bay / Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Hugo Weaving, John Malkovich, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley ... / DVD released 2011-11-28 at Paramount Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    8 Reviews
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      08.02.2012 09:34
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      No matter how big the explosions are, Bay's latest is a lame, disappointing entry

      Here is an ugly film about ugly robots doing ugly things with the help of ugly computer graphics coated by ugly 3D, backed by some ugly, loud, crashing soundtrack. We also have some useless humans running about doing less than nothing carrying some big guns, yelling things, working as a team, looking important when actually they have such a small part to play that whenever we cut to any of their scenes, we get bored. Humans have never been more pathetic than in Michael Bay's self-indulgent third outing with his gigantic robots who like to turn into various expensive looking slick cars. With the critical failure of his last "Transformers" project, a film even his leading man, Shia LaBeouf, wasn't particularly proud of, Bay attempts to step up the game, adding more plot strands, and more characters played by famous names.

      But the problem is, even as Bay integrates real-life footage of John F. Kennedy as he serves his times as President whilst America launches its first rocket to the moon, the plot remains pretty bland, and the painfully long, drawn-out running time does nothing to serve its deceptively simple, repetitive plot. The humans went to the moon, because some alien robotic life-form crashed onto it. The Americans took home some of the robot's powerful tools, which the bad, ugly robots want for their evil, ugly things. The good, and yes, still ugly, robots led by the always loyal Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) try to stop the bad guys. It's all very simple, neat and perfect for some simple, mindless entertainment. But Bay chooses to complicate things, over-loading the film's exhausting running time of two and a half hours with betrayals, more sub-plots than its simple characters can ever dream of handling, inane dialogue and pointless mysteries.

      Humans have the most interesting lines to say, mostly because the robots are so busy killing each other they don't get a whole lot of time dedicated to comprehensible dialogue, but it doesn't matter, and as the film progresses, we cease to care. Why? Because humans have been reduced to nothing but props here. Even back in the first film, there were relationships built, there was interaction, but now, none of that exists anymore, even when Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is given a hot new girlfriend to save the world with. He's saved the world twice, and yet he's out of a job because... you know, it's a touch economy. He finally lands a job under a crazy boss (John Malkovich, who does have some brief scenes of comedy to shine in), news his girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) is ecstatic to hear. She works for a rich arrogant guy obsessed with cars (Patrick Dempsey) who does become an important player later on.

      Nothing of consequence ever builds up between Sam and Carly. Whether it's because of LaBeouf's frankly irritating, no longer boyishly appealing attitude, or Huntington-Whitely's obvious lack of interest/passion in her co-star, or the absurd script's clunky dialogue, there is nothing more embarrassing than what we've got here today. Megan Fox was fired from the franchise after some unwise words declared in public towards Michael Bay. But if this series wants to last with any sort of dignity left, it would be a wise decision to bring back Fox. She not only had the looks, but also the sizzling, likable chemistry with LaBeouf. Huntington-Whitely has the looks, but not the acting chops required to speak her lines without sounding like an uninterested posh English schoolgirl despite being mixed up in an apocalyptic battle with robots.

      That's not all - we've got Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) who has the unmatchable skill of always being one step too late behind the bad guys. There's the Director of National Intelligence (Frances McDormand), who despite the occasional off-beat humour due to her up-tight, no-nonsense, professional attitude, is of no necessity whatsoever. The obligatory cameo appearances of Sam's inappropriate parents (Kevin Dunn, Julie White) are squeezed in into the already compact narrative, which gives the chance for Bay to relish in some misguided comic relief attempt coming from Sam's mother who decides to ask her son about the size of his genitals. Funny, this is not.

      And oh what a mess and tedious affair that final battle turns out to be. First starting off with a laughably preposterous sequence of human soldiers literally flying out of a crashing plane, managing to guide their way around the tall buildings of Chicago with the help of their tacky, flappy wings, the final sequence here is a new low for Bay and his logic of more money+ more explosions = a gripping action scene. So many buildings fall down, so many cars are destroyed, even some precious humans die too, but the problem is there is absolute zero tension maintained in the midst of all of this. The Decepticons (i.e. the bad guys), trump around the city, looking malicious, threatening that they will destroy Earth with their new-found powers. This carries some weight when first yelled out, but loses any credibility when repeated every five minutes. We wonder what takes these hi-tech robots so long to prepare the damn killing machine that they're so proud of. All the while the good guys are getting closer and although we know what the ending is going to be, it's not fun at all when it becomes this obvious and slow-paced.

      This does not even qualify as mindless entertainment. Sure there are some impressive special effects, the robot transformations continue to amaze, and the variety of robots on display here is no doubt an awe-inspiring sight. But this is simply not enough - not by a long shot. It starts off promisingly - with Bay seemingly adding more focus on trying to tell his story first rather than destroying things from start to finish, and if it's any consolation, this installment is slightly better than the absolute chaos that was the second film. But with a convoluted plot and lifeless, meaningless individuals who never quite click together, this feels like a colossal waste of everyone's time, talent, and money. As is often the case with a Michael Bay film, there is too much lavish technology going on for us to truly connect with the finished product as a whole. Intentional laughs do arise: mostly from Huntington-Whitely's worthless close-ups that just prove how misjudged Bay was in hiring this young actress apparently in the audition room itself because he was so "impressed." But when a film runs for this long, the director is really trying our patience as the material starts running thin very quickly.

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      • More +
        08.12.2011 11:33
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        Robots hitting robots

        Star - Shia LeBouf
        Cert - PG 13
        Run-Time -154 minutes
        Genre - Action/Sci-Fi
        Country - USA
        -------------------

        The tongue-in-cheek Final Destination horror films are released every three years so the audience forget about the early twist that is so critical to the enjoyment and continuation of the franchise. That, therefore, is where the Transformers franchise went badly wrong, the second film rushed out after the excellent and spellbinding iridescent special-effects original did so well and so people comparing the two and so no longer wowed by those special-effects. That first Transformers film was a game changer for multiplexes as far as digital effects go and looked fantastic, the acting and plot quickly irrelevant. You can only imagine how good it looked on a 42 inch TV in BlueRay, the brash Michael Bay what BlueRay was invented for.

        As with pretty much all big budget sequels the director did what he was told by the studio and repeated what was good in the first film to make sure it, and they, made big bucks second time around, it's only purpose. But that three year gap from film two may have helped Dark of the Moon (presumably Pink Floyd wanted nothing to do with this) because those robots still look amazing clumping each other and I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. I was fully expecting to dislike it as I did film two.

        Michael Bay is as non-ambiguous as you can get as a director and only does big and flashy, again box-ticking all the action movie clichés here, a super pretty girl exploiting every camera angle and feeding every teenage boy fantasy, the obnoxious hero eating up the scenery. I think the most disappointing aspect of the franchise so far has been the way Shia Lebouf's character has become so irritating, like Michael J Fox on steroids. Megan Fox, of course, dropped out of film three as she had spectacular fallout with Michael Bay, calling him Hitler on set and Napoleon off it!" It was Bay who made Fox, giving her a small part in his film Bad Boys 2, and supposedly told her to 'wash his Ferrari wearing a bikini' to audition for Transformers. I want to be Michael Bay!

        ---The Cast---

        Shia LaBeouf ... Sam Witwicky
        Josh Duhamel ... Lennox
        John Turturro ... Simmons
        Tyrese Gibson ... Epps
        Rosie Huntington-Whiteley ... Carly Spencer
        Patrick Dempsey ... Dylan
        John Malkovich ... Bruce Brazos
        Frances McDormand ... Mearing
        Kevin Dunn ... Ron Witwicky
        Julie White ... Judy Witwicky


        ---The Plot---

        We begin by hijacking the Apollo Eleven Moon landing, the mission now not about the first man to walk on the moon but a top secret mission for the astronauts to investigate a strange metallic object detected on the lunar surface by NASA telescopes, discovered five years before 1969, hence the Apollo program haste to get there in front of the Russians. The objects that Buzz Aldrin and co recover when they splash down in the Pacific are locked away deep in the NASA bunkers on a need to know basis and everyone sworn to secrecy on what's up there and now down here, the secret kept by all to this day.

        We then flash forward to the now, our hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBouf) seeking employment in the big city after saving the world twice over with the help of the Autobots, the good and colorful robots from film one and two, the later now working for the government to help US foreign policy to keep the world safe (and, presumably, to steal foreign oil) and based in a secret facility and so separated from Sam. But the kid is doing ok and living with his superhot girlfriend Carly (Rosie-Huntington Whitely replacing the very sexy Megan Fox role) and recently getting a job for a big company in the city for an obnoxious boss (John Malkovich being a complete ham), be it only a low level entry mailroom position. But it's a start, as his proud visiting parents reassure him.

        Reduced from that world saving to handing out calendars and paper clips he is soon jealous of his girlfriend hanging out with her handsome and rich car dealer boss Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey), who lends her the use of a $200,000 Mercedes as a perk to secure her PR services. But that's the least of Sam's problems as the 35 people who knew about the real reason for the Apollo mission are being bumped off one-by-one and the Decepticons - the arch enemy of the Autobot's - are beginning to show up on Earth again, a big incident at Chernobyl involving a super destructive one causing major havoc, suggesting something big is brewing. Both Autobot's and Decepticons can disguise themselves as any machine and why they have been able to live on earth unseen.

        It turns out that on the Moon is a spaceship, the ark, carrying a sleeping Sentinel Prime, the once superior good robot and boss to Optimus Prime, NASA's plan to retrieve Sentinel Prime back to earth. But the Decepticons have already been there and some pieces are missing from the ship, technology that will restart the war between the Autobot's and Decepticons, earth the chosen battlefield once again. But this time the odds are heavily stacked in favor of the Decepticons and it looks like the Autobot's and US military will be overrun and maybe Sam will get to save the earth for a third time, a hell of a way to impress your bird.


        ---The Result---

        I have to say I enjoyed this and the franchise back on track although its very long. Yes it is just robots smashing the crap out of each other but they look fabulous. You just can't see the joins. I must admit nobody sweats quite like Megan Fox Michael Bay is just the master of the popcorn action movie. Like The Pirates of the Caribbean, the first film was an unexpected hit and then it was downhill from there and so nice it's back to something decent here to set up the fourth film. For its $200 million budget it did spectacular business and has earned $1.2 billion back, the second highest earner behind Harry Potter this year, and that just the world-wide multiplex release. The DVD releases could even push it past Titanic's final gross, Cameron and Bay the masters of the action universe now.

        As expected the critics panned it on the main movie websites and in the printed press, but rather telling that on those same websites the public gave it the benefit of the doubt, which they didn't do with the second Transformers film. The best quote on where the franchise is going has to be from Richard Corliss of the New Yorker:

        " For good or ill, Bay is the soul of a new machine, the CEO of Hollywood's military-entertainment complex".

        I think the general punters did go for it this time around as they loved the first film and want it to work. I really don't think its continuation is all about merchandising either. I'm that sure it will be back as I have added Witwicky to my computers thesaurus for two years time. What I would say is the human element of the film is all but irrelevant now and the romance between Sam and the pretty girl completely pointless. British lingerie model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was dreadful and as dumb as the movie. But sometimes dumb girls are good fun as they let you play with them and don't ask too many questions.

        = = = = = = = = = =
        ACTION *****
        PLOT***
        ACTING**
        EXCITEMENT***
        VALUE***
        = = = = = = = = = =



        -----Ratings-----

        Imdb.com - scores it 6.4/10.0 (104,124 votes)
        Metacritic.com - 42% critic's approval rating (users 59% approval rating)
        Rottentomatos.com - 35% critic's approval rating (users 67% approval rating)

        -----Critics----

        CCN.COM -"It's a lousy movie, but at least it's a lousy movie with a serviceable story, killer CGI and an action climax that goes on forever (at least an hour)"

        SFX Magazine -" This is Michael Bay back on form... although, alas, that's a phrase destined to make more sensitive cinephiles gag".

        The Times -" Once the film stops trying to endear you to Shia's employment and girlfriend problems, the meaningless destruction and mayhem does have a measure of entertainment value".

        The Mercury -" Seeing the new Transformers movie was a little like agreeing to go on one more date with someone who has hurt your feelings twice already".
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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          22.11.2011 17:19
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          Does EVERYTHING you expect of it and nothing more

          "Transformers, Dark of the Moon" is a 2011 science fiction action movie and the third in the massively popular "Transformers" movie franchise and is based upon the 80's comic's / toy line.
          Directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel , John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Kevin Dunn , Julie White, John Malkovich ,Frances McDormand.

          ---------------------------------------

          The Plot:

          The movie opens with a sequence explaining the war on Cybertron and a lone spacecraft named the "Ark" carrying an Autobot named Sentinel Prime ( Leonard Nimoy ) who has with him a technology to end the war, however the Ark crash lands on the Moon, something picked up by a very early NASA organisation in 1961, we cut to the very first moon landing in 1969 and see that when the landing party is cut off as they cross into the "Dark of the Moon" its actually so they can explore the crashed spacecraft.

          We cut to the present where the Autobots are working with the US government to prevent conflict around the world, on one such trip to the abandoned Chernobyl plant the Autobots led by Optimus Prime ( Peter Cullen ) discover a fuel cell from the Ark, however they are attacked by the decepticon Shockwave who manages to escape.

          At the same time we see Sam Witwicky ( Shia Lebouf ) who has now graduated college and is living in Washington DC with his new girlfriend Carly ( Rosie Huntington Whitely ), he doesn't work but is pursuing employment and she works for an organisation led by the charismatic but mysterious Dylan Gould ( Patrick Dempsey )

          Very soon Sam becomes involved with the Autobots again and the Autobots find themselves warring the with the Decepticons, however this time something much bigger is at stake and allies become enemies and earth is subjected to one final battle between good and evil.

          ------------------------------------------------------

          So of course i'm going to preface this review by saying I was a HUGE Transformers fan growing up and when the first movie came out a few years ago I loved the re-invention of the franchise, now I understand the sequel wasn't well received but I still enjoyed it as I went in expecting loud bangs, cheesy dialogue and lots of robot on robot action, and thats exactly what I got.

          And so movie onto Dark of the Moon ( Stupid title by the way ), if you're expecting Schindlers list then you're being silly, this is more of the same as the first two movies, with dare I say it, the volume turned up even higher, we open with a nice backstory of the original landing of the Ark back in the 60's, interspersing real footage with footage re-created to look aged but to fit into the movies storyline, then we transition to the modern day and the Autobots have become something of an elite anti-terrorist branch of the US Army, as plausible as you could get for a movie about robots !!

          The acting is of course cheesy in places, Shia Lebouf might be one of the most annoying people in hollywood today and I don't like the way he portrays Sam as bumbling one moment and heroic the next, but it seems to work so i'll leave it alone, my favourite character of the movie is Patrick Dempsey's character who you know from the start is up to no good, but hides it well and has believable motives.

          Special effects are the order of the day here and they don't disappoint, lots of explosions and cool fight sequences between the Autobots and being a fan of Michael Bay'esque big destruction sequences I loved the attack and occupation of Chicago and loved the massive array of robots and destruction !!

          One criticism I have of the movie and the one reason why i'm not going to give it 5 stars is the running time, I understand there is a lot of story to tell but 2 hours and 34 minutes is a bit excessive, I honestly think they could have easily trimmed out about 20 to 30 minutes and not hurt the story at all.

          But overall I loved it, yes i'm biased because I loved Transformers as a kid, but also I just sometimes want to switch my brain off and watch some mindless action, something that Dark of the Moon does very well, if you're the kind of person who would gravitate towards Tuesdays with Morrie, or the Waitress ( Both good movies i'm sure !! ) then maybe you should be somewhere else while this is playing in the living room, however if you're an action junkie and in the mood for some mindless storytelling then this is the right choice for you i'm sure, just make sure you have the right amount of time set aside !!!

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          03.09.2011 09:49
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          Another Bayformers: lots of action and childish jokes. Not the transformers you grew up with, but ok

          Dark of the Moon is the third live action Transformers movie directed by the biggest fan of explosions to walk the earth Michael Bay. When reading the title I cannot help but feel that the word "side" is missing, possibly due to fears of a Pink Floyd related lawsuit. When growing up I was obsessed with the generation one Transformer toys, cartoon series and to a lesser extent Marvel comic. Years later the live action movies have been made and I don't know what to make of them. I had a bad feeling that my beloved Transformers would be butchered, like many other things from my childhood that have been remade, but I must admit to liking the first film.

          I never saw the sequel though as I was scared off by scathing reviews that warned of racist bots and Devastator bollocks. Bay has even conceded that the second film did not turn out well, blaming the writer's strike that was plaguing Hollywood at the time. With no Megan Fox to ogle (fired for comparing the director to Hitler) and after reading mixed reviews I was thinking of giving Dark of the Moon a miss too. One of my buddies was however going to the cinema to see it so I bit the bullet and joined him for the screening. After all is said and done let us see what I made of it.

          STORY

          After the events of the first two films the heroic Autobots have joined the employ of the U.S government assisting them with combating terrorist threats abroad. Why a race of alien machines would agree to become grunts for the States, who aren't exactly a beacon of justice, is beyond me but whatever. Sam Witwicky misses his pals from Cybertron who he has lost touch with. He spends his days moping at how crappy his life is. He has just finished school and cannot find a job so he spends his days in a flashy pad that his new sexy girlfriend gladly pays for. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to be honest. If he thinks his life is so bad I will gladly trade places with him.

          Sam does eventually get a job after many interview rejections. You would think companies would be falling over themselves to hire a graduate whose honours include a medal from the president for the saving the world, but I guess the economic situation is tough for everybody. At work Sam bumps into a co-worker who warns him of a new Decepticon plot to take over the world. After reuniting with his robotic pals Sam warns them of a plan to transport the destroyed Transformer home world of Cybertron into earth's orbit with the aims of rebuilding it using human slave labour. Not the brightest idea ever it must be said. We humans are not the greatest when it comes to building things. Hiring a decent plumber seems to be an impossible task and don't get me started on the construction farce during the Delhi Commonwealth games.

          The Decepticons eventually reveal their hand by taking over Chicago setting up the film's action packed finale. The Autobots head into the invaded city to stop their rivals from completing the transportation of Cybertron using technology acquired from a crashed spaceship on the dark (side) of the moon. Meanwhile Sam and a group of ex-soldiers sneak into Chicago to save his girlfriend who has been captured by treacherous humans who have sided with the bad guys. The battle runs for almost an hour so make sure to invest in some extra large popcorn because it is a long ride before the dust settles to reveal who the victor is and what fate is to befall our planet.

          CHARACTERS

          Even though the film is titled Transformers it is human Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf) who is the main character. For the most part he is a likeable guy although his whining can get on your nerves as does his habit of yelling "OPTIMUS!" at the top of his lungs during action scenes. His new love interest Carly Spencer is more than an adequate replacement for his last fling. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who played the role doesn't have any acting experience, but I found the model turned actress to be better than Megan Fox in terms of looks and delivering lines. Feminists are advised to stay well clear of this film as Bay has no shame in objectifying her with the camera angles used when she was on screen.

          Moving onto the Transformers themselves Peter Cullen continued to do a brilliant job voicing Optimus Prime. His distinctive calm voice cements him in place as the wise Autobot leader. It's easy to see (or rather hear) why he has been recast for the part ever since the original cartoon. Although the Transformers films have been awash with forgettable robots, Optimus manages to stand out thanks to Cullen's work. Bumblebee is also popular with viewers, thanks to his friendship with Sam, but after three movies they still haven't bothered to fix his malfunctioning voice box so he continues to communicate via radio sound bites.

          Other big names that lend their vocal talents are Leonard "Spock" Nimoy who plays the part of Sentinel Prime, the former leader of the Autobots who years ago crash landed on the moon. He's no stranger to the Transformers franchise having played the role of Galvatron in the eighties animated movie. Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith in the Matrix) is the badly damaged Decepticon leader Megatron. He's alright, but like in the other films he is underused. It's a complaint that can be levied at most of the bad guys. Popular characters like Starscream, Shockwave and Soundwave get a scene to shine and then vanish for the rest of the film much to the disappointment of fans who are only watching due to their love of original cartoon show.

          OVERALL

          After watching the movie I can see why it has gotten such a mixed reception. For me I found it to be alright. There are things that Dark of the Moon does well and other things that don't work. The biggest praise I can give the movie is that it is a visual spectacle. The special effects are incredible especially when you consider that they cost less to make than Cars 2 or Green Lantern which looked nowhere near as good. The battle between the robots are impressive as was the sequence near the end set in a collapsing building. In the first movie I found the Transformers hard to tell apart especially during close up grappling. This time round I was able to distinguish them better thanks to more unique character designs whose colour palette wasn't entirely dependent on silvery greys.

          What didn't work for me was the comedy. There were some chuckle worthy moments, but a lot of the jokes fell flat. Too much crude humour for my liking or silly characters like the diminutive Wheelie who I found to be annoying. I could forgive the jokes if they were targeted to youngsters, but after watching the film I am not entirely sure that kids are the demographic the makers were aiming for. Transformers might be a children's cartoon show, but the violence contained in the film along with the long running time isn't kid friendly. It's hard to picture a child sitting still for over two hours especially when something flashy isn't happening during the story building segments.

          This is Transformers three and it gets three stars from me (hey that rhymes.) I did consider giving it four stars at one point, but towards the end I started to lose interest. Finishing things with almost an hour worth of action may sound exciting, but trust me without a break it gets tiresome. You had a series of stunning sequences, but with no lull between the carnage to recover I found myself switching off after a while. This is apparently the final Transformers movie although I am not so sure given how well it has done at the box office. Perhaps if Bay takes a bow someone else can come in and do something more substantial with the licence.

          As a lifelong Transformers fan I wish they would focus more on the Transformers themselves in the movies. By all means have human characters, but don't make them hog the spotlight. Avatar proved that CGI characters can carry a movie, you don't have to solely depend on live action actors. Apart from Optimus Prime it is hard to feel anything for the other robots as they are devoid of personality. I want unique characters with their own back story not stereotypes such as hooligan like Autobots with British accents. How does an alien race happen to have accents from the British Isles is the first place? Thankfully they don't transform into chairs that get hurled at police after England loses an international.

          In summary, this isn't a bad film. If you are looking for mindless action you will leave satisfied. You would however think that something produced by the legendary Steven Spielberg would have aspirations to aim a little higher. In terms of quality this would rank as something closer to the Gobots as opposed to the beloved Transformers from my youth. If we get more Transformers films in the future I'll keep my fingers crossed for a reboot. Maybe then the series can "transform" into some more worthwhile. Alright faithful readers, that's enough typing, let us get out of here... transform and roll out.

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            03.08.2011 20:30
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            Charmless and Souless Threequel

            Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an unbelievable film that achieves the impossible: it makes all of Michael Bay's previous cinematic output seem more subtle, wittier and cleverer than the entire works of Shakespeare, Wilde and Dickens rolled into one. Yes, the undisputed King of Explosions and Helicopters has worked his "magic" once more, churning out a film which is even less subtle than the much-maligned Transformers 2.

            The plot of Dark of the Moon (I'm assured there is one) is stupid even by Michael Bay's standards. Apparently, the conspiracy theorists were half right. The moon landings of 1969 were staged to recover a piece of lost Autobot technology, kept hidden by NASA for over 40 years. Naturally, those stoopid astronauts messed it up and left half of the really good stuff up there, leading to a modern day race where the Autobots try to reach it before the evil Decepticons get their hands on it.

            On the plus side, Transformers 3 is a film which actually makes reasonable use of 3D. It has clearly been filmed with 3D in mind and, whilst you could watch it in 2D, that would simply make it even less enjoyable, which is in itself some sort of achievement. Every scene is set up in such a way that it makes use of 3D and it could be argued (as ever) that Bay overdoes it. Barely a moment goes by without something exploding and whizzing out at the screen towards you. As with many things, familiarity breeds contempt and the over-use of 3D soon becomes annoying, rather than impressive.

            From the very first minute, the film is too in-your-face to be terribly likeable. It feels more like an assault upon the senses than a pleasurable cinematic experience. It also shows a distinct lack of imagination, either recycling scenes or ideas from earlier films or relying on over-the-top set pieces to see it through. The ever-attention deficient Mister Bay is barely able to go two minutes without blowing something up or having a robot fight with another robot. Impressive though some of these actions sequences are (particularly in 3D), they are wildly overused. There are only so many times you can watch one lump of metal hit another lump of metal before it starts to get boring; a point Transformers 3 never quite seems to understand. Spectacular set-pieces are all well and good, but they need something to tie them together (other than just a bit of running around). To grossly misquote the Bible, man cannot live by explosions, massive robots and helicopters alone

            As a result of his refusal to use one set-piece where 7 can be crammed in, Dark of the Moon suffers from that long-standing Michael Bay ailment: "too-longitis." You will be yearning for the end credits at least an hour before they arrive. The only exception to this is 10 year old boys with ADHD, an attention span of less than 5 seconds and an IQ which is smaller than their shoe size who have spent all afternoon overdosing on sickly snacks full of E-numbers and artificial additives. They will love it and will probably emerge from the cinema proclaiming it to be "the best film ever made" and proceed to recreate the metallic mayhem on their poor younger siblings. Anyone who doesn't fit these criteria will come out slightly shell-shocked at the sudden realisation that they are each £10-15 worse off.

            Parents should actually think quite carefully before letting their little darlings in to see this. For a PG, I was surprised at the level of violence and how graphically it was portrayed. Robots get sliced in two, have their heads ripped off and their spinal columns torn from their still living bodies, all the while oozing red "oil" that is clearly meant to be blood. If this was being perpetrated on people, it would have an 18 Certificate slapped all over it. Just because the violence is being committed on robots doesn't necessarily make it any less explicit and the potential for upset kids is massive.

            Transformers 3 has lost much of the charm that allowed the first film to get away with Bay's brand of over-the-top craziness. The humour feels forced and unfunny, the special effects no longer thrill or amaze and the script feels lame and belaboured. This simply exposes the weak characters which were always there, but who were previously able to hide behind the fun action. John Turturro's twitchy (ex) Agent Simmons added some much needed tongue-in-cheek humour to the earlier films and whilst there's still an element of that here, there's a definite sense of déjà vu. Similarly Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBoeuf) has always been a loser, but a likeable one. Transformers 3 turns him into an annoying, whiny little oik who you wouldn't be sorry to see crushed by a falling Decepticon.

            Replacing Megan Fox (conveniently explained away in a single line) is Rosie Huntington-Whitely, whose sole role in the film is to look pretty and vacant... or pretty vacant. Megan Fox might not be the greatest actress in the world, but next to dear old plummy-voiced Rosie, she's a positive Oscar-guzzler. Rosie Huntington-Whitely is to acting what the Faroe Islands are to international football.

            Indeed, only John Malkovich (sporting a terrific pair of gnashers) comes close to capturing the sense of glee and slight tongue-in-cheek humour that made the original fun, although his cameo role is sadly all too limited. Even Sam's parents (a comedy highlight of the first film) are tiresome and unfunny here.

            There's also more than a faint whiff of Lethal Weapon Syndrome to it. Remember the later Lethal Weapon films that tried to ensure that all the favourite characters returned for each new sequel? Well, Transformers 3 does the same. Pretty much everyone left alive from the earlier films also appear here. Clearly, they all have fantastic agents who negotiated three-film deals snagging them a lasting place in the franchise. This essentially means that all of the characters get lost in the mayhem surrounding them because none are properly developed. Even the purported heroes (Sam and Optimus Prime) get significantly less screen time and character development (if that's possible) than previously.

            Transformers: Dark of the Moon has a running time of 157 minutes. This is approximately 156 minutes too long.

            Basic Information
            -----------------------
            Transformers: Dark of the Moon
            2011
            Director: Michael Bay
            Running time: approx. 157 minutes
            Certificate: PG

            © Copyright SWSt 2011

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              03.08.2011 19:39
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              a long but exciting film

              **Film Only Review Originally Posted On Ciao in July 2011 - it is reported that the dvd/blu ray will be released in November**

              Transformers was originally based on a comic book and developed into animation, games and most recently, a trilogy of films. In 2007, the first film was released aptly named "Transformers" followed by "Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen in 2009. Transformers tells the story of 2 groups of robots from the planet Cybertron. They are known as Autobots and Decepticons. They arrived on earth following their planet being destroyed during a war and are now enemies. The Autobots have been trying to locate the Decepticons to ensure no harm comes to the humans on earth.

              ~Dark Of The Moon~

              Dark of the Moon is the 3rd Transformers filmed and was released June 2011 in UK Cinemas. It is direct by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Speilberg. It has a running time of 157mins and the DVD release day is still to be announced. The film can be viewed in 2D or 3D (with special 3D glasses). The Dark of the Moon game is available for Xbox 360 and other games consoles. It is rated 12 with adult supervision required.

              ~Plot~

              Dark of the Moon carries on from Revenge of the Fallen. It starts off with a space mission in 1961 which sets the tone for the film, showing various footage of an aircraft crashing on the moon as it attempts to escape from Cybertron. Back in the current day, we meet Sam (LaBeouf) from the first two films. He has saved the world before with the help of the Autobots and after discovering there is an aircraft still on the moon with potential secrets onboard, they need to join together and stop the planned destruction.

              The film progresses til we meet Sentinel Prime..a former leader who has been "dead" on the aircraft since its crash in 1961. He joins forces with the Autobots known as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and a few others. The scenery changes throughout the film as we experience Washington DC, Chernobyl and finally Chicago for the ultimate showdown. Who can be trusted..who will survive and how will the film end?

              ~Cast~

              Dark of the Moon sees a few actors returning from the previous films with a few new additions thrown in. The robots are of course voiced adding a new dimension to the film. The main characters are :

              Shia LaBeouf - Sam Witwicky
              Rosie Huntington-Whitely - Carly Spencer
              Patrick Dempsey - Dylan
              Hugo Weaving - Megatron voice
              Peter Cullen - Optimus Prime voice

              The cast list is endless and includes an appearance from the real Buzz Aldrin.

              ~My Opinion~

              When my fiancé offered to take me to the cinema at the weekend, I had my sights set on a bit of Jack Sparrow but he had other ideas. We are big fans of the Transformers franchise so I was more than happy to go see the 3rd instalment at our local cinema. My sister had been to see the 3D version the week before and fully recommended it. By the time we arrived, we would have had a long wait for 3D so decided to go see the 2D version.

              I don't think its essential to see the first 2 films before this one as you really do get a brief update at the beginning of Dark of the Moon. We have both films on DVD so knew what to expect but were totally blown away by the 3rd instalment. Chilled with popcorn and juice, I was immediately engrossed in the film from the first scene. The soundtrack offers tracks from Linkin Park and artists such as Paramore though what I notice most was the dramatic orchestra type opening which reminded me so much of Hans Zimmer and his offering to The Di Vinci Code..very powerful indeed.

              ~The Trilogy Continues~

              Transformers never gets boring and each film has strived to be different. Seeing this on the big screen is amazing as the attention to detail in the film is precise and spectacular from characters to the buildings and backgrounds. At some points, I wished we had waited for 3D as despite the amazing effects courtesy of 2D, I could tell which scenes would have been highly entertaining in 3D! The characters were all true to life except Sam's girlfriend Carly..she may have been sultry and sexy but performance wise, she wasn't a patch on Megan Fox. She was a bit unnatural to me and I felt she was out of place.

              Shia LaBeouf gave an amazing performance and whilst hilarious at some points, adapted to being serious and emotional when needed and was completely at ease in his role as Sam. I appreciated the various location changes and intense music which accompanied them. I became very engrossed in the film to the point I barely picked up my popcorn (what a waste of money lol!). The Autobots and Decepticons gave brilliant performances although I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Bumblebee as he is my favourite!

              ~Engaging Story~

              There is random action throughout the film. The robots come disguised as various vehicles and pursued in a car chase early on which was very intense and gripping. The story calms down a bit near the middle but never lost my attention even when there wasn't a lot happening. This is down to the characters in my opinion as they are so well portrayed and keep you entertained throughout the film. When changing from vehicles to robots, it is a very natural looking transition and the sound effects added to this.

              I don't want to give too much away about the story as you really need to see it for yourself. If you have seen the other 2 films, you will pick up on the story quite quickly but the ending is a total surprise and the build up keeps you hooked as there is so much action towards the end of the film. I had mixed emotions about this film which rarely happens. It was weird to be honest as I managed to laugh out loud, be a little scared and also nearly cried in the space of an hour or so.

              The special effects in Dark of the Moon are top notch and really make the film what it is. From cars changing to robots, people being thrown from cars in slow motion and buildings falling down, it is very gripping and nothing looks set up. It all flows perfectly. A few examples of this include the characters sliding down the outside of a collapsing building and also soldiers basically flying around the city dodging every building. Of course this is unlikely to happen in real life as I've not seen any car/robots running around but you never know!

              ~Favourite Characters~

              Bumblebee is adorable as the slightly ditzy Autobot and relates well to Sam as they struck up a friendship in the previous films. I found Patrick Dempsey's performance as Dylan a tad boring and feel he could have been played by someone fiercer. The funniest performances were by 2 small Autobots namely Wheelie and Brains. They act and talk silly and add a hilarious attitude throughout the film. Optimus Prime also needs a mention as his fine, independent self.

              ~Transform An Age~

              There were many children at our showing some of which were around 5or6 and accompanied by their parents. To be honest, despite being based on an animated show, I wouldn't recommend this to children and find a 15 rating would be more suitable. There were mild sexual scenes involving nudity, occasional swearing and heavy violence scenes..not to mention dead bodies being shown and I could see a few children being potentially freaked out about this film.

              ~Recommendation and Conclusion~

              This certainly isn't a short film although I was gripped the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed it, as did my fiancé. It is highly entertaining and full of action, suspense and visually stunning scenes and background. My favourite part of the film was the end as it surprised me and made the film even more interesting as it came to a close. Overall I would recommend going to see this at the cinema to experience the full effects. We are likely to purchase it on DVD when it is released to complete our collection.

              Excellent acting throughout, fab storyline and special effects though I think Transformers has run its course as the ending provided a suitable conclusion to the trilogy and I don't think it could be outdone by another release.

              Highly recommended, thanks for reading!

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                02.08.2011 21:21
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                Robot smash

                *Film only review*

                Plot:

                The third movie in the Transformers franchise sees the Autobots and the Decepticons continue their war. Former leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), is discovered on the moon while Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is struggling to adapt to life as a normal citizen.

                Directed by Michael Bay (Armageddon, Pearl Harbour) and written by Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Ring)

                Review:

                Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a classic Michael Bay movie, a load of fighting/explosions/noise/lame dialogue and not a whole lot else. I quite enjoyed the first Transformers movie by Bay, the second film was poor, this sequel is better but not by much. There are only so many times you can make the same movie.

                The plot of Dark of the Moon is OK, plot twists are telegraphed so there aren't many surprises involved. Making the space race about robots will no doubt annoy some; personally I thought it gave the plot some context and a little depth. The relationship between Witwicky and Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) was hardly enthralling, watching LaBeouf play the jealous boyfriend doesn't endear him to the audience. I do think younger children will struggle to follow the plot, in the first half of the movie there is a lot of talking and little action. There is also quite a lot of swearing, mild words yes but I can see a lot of parents giving their children lectures on language after watching this movie.

                One of the main problems I have with all the Transformers movies is that I struggle to remember which bot is which, all the Decepticons look the same. I remember all the bots being brightly coloured in the cartoon series, so you could remember who was who. In the movies the Decepticons are nearly all brown/grey/black making it hard to distinguish between the bots. A lot of the fights between robots just come across like a big mess on the screen. I did like the animation of Sentinel Prime however; the animators gave the robot Leonard Nimoy's features which was a nice touch.

                I think focusing the story more on the transformers than on Sam Witwicky would help give the bots
                personality and character so that you could know who was who. I know that would increase the amount of CGI even more but I pay to see robots not humans with robots in the background. The effects are very good, the best bits are shown in the trailer (as always) i.e. the collapsing skyscraper scene. The 3D is great and is one of the few movies where it does make a difference and isn't merely a cash in.

                LaBeouf does a lot of screaming and whining as Sam Witwicky, he's definitely more annoying than in the previous Transformers movies. Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley makes her acting debut as Witwicky's girlfriend, she's not brilliant but neither was Megan Fox. Her beauty is commented on pretty much every scene she is in the first half of the movie, just so you remember why she was cast in the role.

                Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson return as generic military men, their appearances are very small, verging on cameos. John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk and Ken Jeong play eccentric, irritating characters-younger viewers may love them but they were a bit too much for me. Disappointed with Malkovich's character as he is such a strong actor.

                Overall, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an OK action movie, I would have preferred it if it had been half an hour shorter. The beginning of the movie drags and then the action keeps going and going, sometimes less is more. Michael Bay is never really happy until he's blown everything up in a movie. Go see it if you like explosions and fighting, if you don't like action movies, don't bother-this movie won't change your mind.

                Cast:

                Shia LaBeouf - Sam Witwicky
                Rosie Huntington-Whiteley - Carly Spencer
                Patrick Dempsey - Dylan
                Frances McDormand - Mearing
                John Malkovich - Bruce Brazos
                John Turturro - Simmons
                Josh Duhamel - Lennox
                Tyrese Gibson - Epps
                Alan Tudyk - Dutch
                Ken Jeong - Jerry Wang
                Peter Cullen - Optimus Prime (voice)
                Hugo Weaving - Megatron (voice)
                Leonard Nimoy - Sentinel Prime (voice)

                Runtime: 157 mins

                Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating

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                  19.07.2011 12:50
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                  The dependable Michael Bay does it again

                  It's 1969, and man has landed on the moon. Unbeknownst to the public, this is part of a secret mission by the American government for astronauts to inspect a crashed alien spacecraft located on the 'dark side' of the moon.

                  Cut to the present day, and the human-friendly, Optimus Prime-led Autobots - an alien race that can 'transform' into any form of technology - are on the hunt for any evil Decepticons hiding out on Earth. But when legendary Autobot Sentinel Prime comes to Earth, it kick-starts a destructive war between the Autobots and Decepticons that throws longtime Autobot compatriot Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his girlfriend Carly's (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) lives into chaos. Them and everyone else on the planet.

                  It's too easy to make fun of a Transformers movie, which is why it's so enjoyable to write a review of one. It's true that critically evaluating a bad movie is much easier than evaluating a good one. Being able to unleash all your pent-up bile in one go prompts creativity - apparently - so secretly critics love terrible movies. Many critics' reviews of the film that preceded Dark of the Moon (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, also directed by Michael Bay) are probably considered some of the best work of their career. It might have made one or two of them. I imagine a few of them will have another field day on this one.

                  I'll get the positives out of the way first. Yes, the special effects are outstanding as ever and Michael Bay can always be trusted to make his pictures look slick (but can someone please spare me of having to watch any more movies in 3D? I'm sick of this headache), filmed as they are in some kind of perpetual sunset. The Transformer designs and the movies' set-pieces are the realisation of a child's playtime fantasy and the opening sequence of an alternate history (I presume it never really happened anyway) - where the 1960s space race gets underway in order to investigate a crashed Transformer craft on the moon - aint half bad. It feels pacy yet uncomplicated and ever-so slightly sophisticated, sensations you will not experience again for the rest of the film.

                  For as soon as we arrive in the present day and Bay's cameraman begins trying to perv at Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's derrière, any sophistication is dispensed with, and you will not understand what in the hell is going on in the 'plot' from this moment on. I didn't get it anyway.

                  One thing I am certain of is that Michael Bay simply loves his stereotypes. Whether it's the black ex-soldiers that are based on the director's ideas about "the ghetto" or the Autobots seemingly styled on gruff, beer-swilling Brits (an Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman walk into a Transformers movie...), one could easily be offended if you took any of this movie seriously enough. And that's what we're encouraged to do by the defenders of the film, isn't it; to sit back, watch the film and suspend our disbelief? Well you won't believe the kind of dialogue screenwriter Ehren Kruger has got these pig-headed characters spouting.
                  And so brings me to my fundamental criticism of the Transformers movie franchise.

                  Obviously, the point of the Transformers movies is so we can watch a bunch of robots get all up in each other's grill. They argue and they scrap, they're impressively lent some gravitas in the voicing department by Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime and newcomer Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime. They are the reason for the film. They receive scant assistance from their Earthly allies. Their name is in the title. The film is only interesting when they are on screen.

                  Which is why I question the need for the human protagonists at all. The main cast member, Shia LaBeouf, is now the most astonishingly irritating man in Hollywood and lost his spark long ago. In the first Transformers movie, LaBeouf's nerdy loser vying for the affections of an unattainable girl at least encouraged some empathy and there was some mild comedy from the likes of the late Bernie Mac and Kevin Dunn as Sam's father. Now Sam is some gloating rich kid with a girlfriend us commoners will probably only ever see in FHM, there is not a single moment of sympathy for the humans and the only comedy comes from John Malkovich being John Malkovich. And even he isn't in it very long.

                  And it doesn't stop at LaBeouf; instead of a core number of human characters, there's a whole ensemble of them. It's like Michael Bay was trying to make a version of The Wire with robots, which I don't think even David Simon could pull off. And so Ken Jeong is Sam's annoying co-worker (no really, he is annoying), Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson return as macho soldiers and so-bland-he-could-turn-invisible Patrick Dempsey is Carly's boss.

                  Of course there's Carly herself, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, replacing Megan Fox as Sam's girlfriend. Whiteley is nowhere as bad as you've heard, but nor is she that great either. She's not Meryl Streep, but neither is she Sofia Coppolla in The Godfather 3 - like Paddy Considine's Le Donk, she just exists. And she at least doesn't look as though she's carrying a blade, so she has one up on the threatening-looking Fox. Similarly, cult hero John Turturro, plus new cast members Alan Tudyk, Oscar-winner Frances McDormand and Oscar nominee Malkovich all give the same "here comes my paycheque" performance. Why? Because this is not a Mike Leigh film. Are the critics really expecting anyone to turn their best work in here?

                  So it's up to the Transformers themselves to make any kind of impact on the audience. I did genuinely feel something when one goodie Transformer was executed by another baddie Transformer, which is more than I can say for when any of the ant-like humans fell to their death out of a multi-storey building or got reduced to ash by Decepticon gunfire. When a CGI robot being 'killed' draws more emotion from an audience than when a human - mere cannon fodder in this script - dies, I not only despair for the filmmakers but return to my question of why the Transformers movies didn't just cut to the chase and leave the sketchily-drawn humans out of the storyline altogether. After all, don't these movies exist just for us to see big machines beat each other up?

                  Transformers: Dark of the Moon goes on approximately one hour too long and I think I can pin all those tedious minutes on whenever those pesky humans appeared on screen and Ehren Kruger had to write some dialogue like this was an actual film. It's not as though he's a professional screenwriter or anything.

                  So the movie is dull and often awful whenever real people are onscreen. So the storyline is convoluted hogwash and the cardboard characters are forgettable and occasionally - worryingly - racist. Don't get me wrong, this is not as bad as Revenge of the Fallen, but then not many things in this world are. And hey, Michael Bay isn't the worst director in Hollywood - at least his films are prettier than Roland Emmerich's.

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