Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, John Turturro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk and Tyrese Gibson.
Voice Cast: Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving and Leonard Nimoy
Running Time: 154 minutes
Let’s call a spade a spade. Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen was a bad movie. In fact, it was a terrible movie. In fact, it was a tedious, bloated and CGI-laden orgy. After a moderately fun and charming first instalment, Michael Bay, the king of excess, decided to go big for the sequel. And when Bay goes big, shit gets real, fast.
Revenge Of The Fallen was a chore to watch, so much being thrown at you that you felt like you’d just viewed Cloverfield repeatedly on a transatlantic flight in constant turbulence. There was so much wrong with it; slightly racist stereotype robots, the apparent lack of anything approaching a rational thought in the script, Megan Fox and a pair of robonuts that even Joel Schumacher – he of the vulcanised rubber bat nipples – would shudder at. Openly admitting he made a bad movie – we’re still waiting on that Pearl Harbor apology, Bay has aimed to make things right with the final installment in the Hasbro-toy-sponsored franchise. And he does, sort of.
Taking us deeper into the history between the Autobots and Decepticons, Transformers opens with former Autobot leader Sentinel Prime attempting to escape with a weapon capable of ending their war before crash landing on the moon.
In present day, Dark Of The Moon focuses on the final battle between the Autobots and Decepticons to obtain what was at that crash site to end their battle once and for all. In the middle of it again are the highly neurotic Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) and his new girlfriend Carly (Huntington-Whiteley) along with series regulars Epps (Gibson), Simmons (Turturro) and Lennox (Duhamel).
Dark Of The Moon is easily the best of the series. It seems lessons were learned and wrongs have been righted. For starters, there’s a coherent script. Much like X-Men: First Class skewed the narrative of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it utilises an excellent alternate history of the 1969 moon landing in its opening sequence. From there, the film moves along a tidy pace, only giving brief appearance to some minor characters who clogged up previous films.
Being a Michael Bay film, you’ll be expecting shiny sun drenched scenes, American flags in slow motion and explosions, big fuck off explosions. They’re all here with the Bayhem factor fully cranked to eleven. The final 40 minutes spent annihilating Chicago is easily some of the best CG driven action put on celluloid and the 3D effects look genuinely good and not lazily tacked on in post production.
Not to start a love in here, there are flaws, flaws that hurt this picture very badly. I said lessons were learned from the last outing but one glaring thing still persisted. Length. Clocking in at over the two and a half hour mark, Dark Of The Moon is a lot to take in. 30 minutes on the cutting room floor and Bay might have nailed one of the most enjoyably mindless blockbusters in recent memory. First place to start chopping, all scenes with Rosie Huntington-Whitely, wage budget could have easily been saved by replacing her with a floating pair of CG breasts and lips.
It’s easy to rag on Michael Bay, he brings it on himself with his sometimes gung ho, flag waving, jingoistic overkill. To his credit, he does have it in him to create a solid popcorn chomping spectacle and has done that with Dark Of The Moon. With the final chapter in this saga written, maybe he can finally answer the big question. When is he gonna drop Bad Boys 3 on us?