“Transformers 3 – Dark of the Moon” has terrific action sequences and excellent 3D. Yet it fails to satisfy the viewer because it forgets to engage your emotions.
You do feel for the two teeny transformers, as if they are loveable kids. And any unabashed Trekkie will love Leonard Nimoy’s voicing of Septimus Prime and the glorious Star Trek scenes. But the people? Heck, they could all die horribly and you wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Without spoiling the plot – or plotlet – Michael Bay goes big on the stunts and light on the folks.
Things that explode and crash are usually quite enough for me, in a movie. And Hasbro’s Transformer toys were my favourites of my brother’s playthings. The idea that a tiny car could turn into a robot was wonderful and I spent hours pretending to help put these away, while zooming them around the playroom. Guilty pleasures that conjure up great affection? I think so.
The first movie was delightful, marrying action to plot and offering great fun. The second movie was lousy, but had superb special effects. The absence of Megan Fox in 3 is no big deal, but Rosie Huntington-Whiteley can’t act at all. She is a very pretty woman who looks good in and out of clothes. That’s it, really.
It starts out being a really good film. The iconic scenes of landing on the moon, John Kennedy and the space race will have the older viewer paying attention and fully engaged. If you were alive, you know exactly where you were when Neil Armstrong spoke to you from the moon.
And the battle of man versus machine is a familiar one from lots of sci fi books and movies. It’s never stale and makes us think about what it is to be human.
Except, here, it really doesn’t make you think or feel at all, once it gets going. It’s just too long, too all over the place and too dull. I looked at my watch five times and came close to falling asleep, before another action sequence got me awake, properly, again.
My companion is a discerning film buff who knows as much about film as anyone, including me. He said “it was what I expected it to be” but added that it won’t be troubling his list of the best films of 2011. Me too.
Buzz Aldrin is in it! Frances McDormand is in a completely different film, acting her heart out and making the best of dire lines. Shia Labeouf reprises his action hero role and John Turturro and John Malkovich stand out among the supporting cast.
Greenwich Picturehouse is a new venue, for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the wider screen and comfy and reclining seats. It’s a terrific place to see a movie and everything shown here is thoughtfully chosen, with “Transformers” being an oddity here. The bar is delightful and looks out on a high street that offers rather more than Stratford, in terms of books, records and individually chosen items.
The smallish audience all seemed to enjoy it.
The music is superb, in that “Miami Vice” way of being part of the action. And there are nice nods to “Inception” and to how buildings are shown, since the horrors of 9/11 brought us new new visual memories of what happens when high rise buildings are attacked.
But Bay and Steven Spieiberg have done much better in the past and will do much more interesting work in future. Heck, there are film factories in Japan churning out better movies than this. I didn’t hate it and I will watch the next Transformers movie with hope and expectation. But I won’t buy the DVD, although I might watch it if it’s shown on TV. The stunts are best seen on a big screen and are wonderful.