Transformers 3: Third time's a chump

30 Jun , 2011,
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Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Poster Art

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t expecting  Transformers: Dark of the Moon to transform the franchise into anything more than spectacle, and I was proven right. T3 was pretty much the same movie as its predecessor, Revenge of the Fallen, from 2 years ago – loud, explosive, filled with shaky camera angles, canted frames and flying scrap metal bits, strung together without so much as a semblance of plot.

This big budget blockbuster plays like a music video (it’s not so much a movie) and serves up, in typical Michael Bay fashion, plenty of eye candy and little in the way of exposition.

Of course, that’s not to say that it’s a bad production. It’s actually pretty decent, if collateral damage, machismo and excessive visual effects is your kinda thing. If you’re looking for structured narrative, thought provoking dialogue, and some degree of cerebral simulation though, that’s gonna be a little on the skimpy side.

In a nutshell, T3 picks up where T2 left off.

Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebouf) is still a loser (but he’s got a medal from the President of the United States. Go figure.), still a mommy’s boy, and somehow still the protagonist.

He’s got a new girl though, and this hottie (played by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) has been keeping Little Sammy entertained while Bumblebee and the Autobots are out doing covert robot stuff with the U.S. Army.

The inciting incident comes in the form of a not-so-subtle discovery. The Autobots chance upon information about an ancient Cybertronian ship that crash-landed on the dark side of the moon decades back. This ship, called the Ark, carried a potent device, and the ‘bots quickly set out to retrieve its contents before they could fall into the wrong hands.

Where does Sam, who’s got trouble landing a real job and QQing about his smarter-than-thou girlfriend in the first half of the movie factor into this, you might ask? Well, it soon becomes apparent that he’s being targeted by evil Decepticons, and without giving too much of the insubstantial story away, he gets dragged into the mess and has to save the world (he’s the boy of destiny after all) all over again.

As usual, Shia’s one-dimensional character is dwarfed by the supporting cast. And that’s saying something, since the characters are all walking tropes and cliches anyway. Look out for John Turturro’s Agent Simmons, which returns in decidedly flamboyant fashion, and Frances McDormand’s Intelligence Director Charlotte Mearing, who was the consummate bureaucrat.

From a visual perspective, T3’s got all the hallmarks of a $195 million production. There’s oodles of special effects oozing in every scene. In 3D, the CG is nauseatingly gorgeous. Expect glass and explosions to rain down on you from every other angle (since this is a Michael Bay film), and for the action sequences to jump (also because this is a Michael Bay film). Admittedly, I can’t say I was unimpressed with the character design for Shockwave or the tentacled monstrosity he rode in on, and my inner child actually embraced the explosions with a modicum of glee.

In conclusion, T3’s pretty standard fare where Hollywood blockbusters this century are concerned. Lots of explosions, lots of action, and hardly anything to take away after the fact (well, a couple, but I won’t spoil it for you).

It’s a passable film if you don’t care at all about story, and just want some instant gratification. Otherwise, well, there’s better things out there.