Wednesday, 29 June 2011

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D [Review]

Opinion: C

Apart from its relentless pursuit of CGI and justified third dimension to ensure that it fulfills its action genre expectation with production value, the rest of it felt like they were produced without any value of responsibility. Either that or some of those people on the expensive payroll need to return to film school. Incoherent narrative structure and action sequences together with mindless dialogues and zero character development makes the latest Transformers franchise venture a 2.5 hours worth of pure pain. If you have life too easy for you, trying watching this to gain some sorrows to complete your life's pilgrimage.

Shia LeBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. When a mysterious event from Earth's past erupts into the present day it threatens to bring a war to Earth so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save us.

This opinion of the third film of the Transformers franchise will very likely not affect the box office figures, judging by how the local cinema operators hold sky high optimism by launching advance sale a month before. It's a film that is commercially independent of any credible reviews in gaining financial success.

That said, if you have the patience to hear a disgruntled film fan out, thank you for reading on.

Like many others, I was very much disappointed by the second film in the series and still crossed fingers in hope that the third will be a satisfying closure to the over-milked franchise.

I ended up walking out of the theatre in pain.

The robots didn't assault me of course, but the film did. Let's start with the narrative structure. While it seems to begin with an interesting history lesson for the audience with a mix of fictional and factional footage that hints at an alternate theory for the Apollo 11 expedition, it went downhill from there as the all too familiar sense of dread hits me like a brick wall to my face.

Nothing's changed since the first film.

Jumping along to present day as we begin with some sexy imagery of the new Transformers girl Carly, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (to assure us that there's still plenty of teenage sex appeal even after Megan Fox departs from this production), we realise that everything's just a plain excuse for exercising some child fantasy within Michael Bay's mind.

Abusive use of glossy CGI visuals, loud messy action, and uninspiring dialogues.

The above may very well summarise this film for most of you, there is no further production value that really value adds one's cinematic experience during the 150 minutes screen time of this time-wasting blockbuster. Less perhaps the aggressive use of the third dimension in this film that makes it one of the better 3D films out there recently.

Incoherent narration results in a dizzy mind-torturing first two acts that really felt like an eternity of pain, albeit with a couple of mini action sequences staged to make sure that nobody's interest and/or attention span is lost amidst. Dialogues were linear mindless one-liners and also oddly out of place (notice how some of the robots chew out weird phrases in between battles like "class is dismissed"), which translates into tasteless humour desperately created just because the filmmakers probably thought that humour is a remedy for bad cinema.

Action was horrible (although not as bad as those before in the first installment) and poorly directed, and so was acting. There's a lot of cast talent wastage here (Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich and many more total the list of untapped resources), so if there's no good acting in this film it doesn't necessarily relate to the competency of the actors. Just poor scripting and directorial abilities. 

As I've mentioned earlier that action was bad,  about an hour or so is solely dedicated to the third act of mayhem to my demise. This is very likely due to poor editing, where there is no sense of logical flow between one cut or shot to the other (it's just their choice of image sequence, there's nothing wrong technically). Bad editing also plagued the entire film, before I forget to accredit that to the woeful transcript. Makes me wonder if they should hire Megan Fox to perform editing on a freelance basis instead, since an amateur could probably do it better.

Despite all the non-impressive sentiments, there's a couple of satisfying scenes that are worthy of a mention. The paragliding across skyscrapers-filled Chicago city and the terrifying total destruction of a high-rise office into half by a hideous looking Decepticon. The original score by Steve Jablonsky was the only element that infused emotions into this film, as nobody really cares about any of the good guys (or robots) perishing. Very often, we didn't know that a protagonist robot sacrificed until an appropriate music blasted in the background to cue that.

No substantial affection is invested towards the human characters as well.

So is it worth watching this in 3D? Sure, if none of the film cons discussed turns you off.

I exited the screening feeling like it was a 150 minutes of total mayhem to my physiological state. Another one (or two) more of such screenings (the last bad taste was Jonah Hex) will likely turn me away from film and dissolve my passion for it.

But you've probably bought an advance sale ticket already prior to reading this.


*UPDATE: I've also just watched it in the IMAX 3D format and I have to say that it's the best experience one can get from the supposedly final film of the Transformers franchise (Shia LeBeouf has expressed recently that he will not be reprising his role in any sequel, if any). From the opening space chase scene the large screen engulfs your senses into believing that you're taking up a first person vantage point and it adds on positively to one's movie experience. Not to forget the incredible sound that comes with the IMAX 3D screening. In appreciation of such as well as other minute factors, I've decided to adjust my opinion from a D+ to a C.

Also, check out our Transformers: Dark of the Moon - The Album feature here!


  1. D+??? C'mon, it looks so much fun. I though you'd be more generous on this one, J-Son. Anyway, I'm still thrilled to see it. I just love big, dumb, loud, CGI-driven blockbusters :)

  2. LOL I am going to see this purely because I love those Autobots and because they spent all last year blowing up my hometown Chicago. They even filmed some of it a few minutes from my house. From the trailer I see my old work building gets blown up. I hated that place LMAO! So from a purely childish POV I think I'm going to love this. I've learned early on to tune out Shia the Beef. He sucks as an actor.

    Awesome, honest review as always. No wonder I love coming here. :)

  3. @Nebular Hey George, I know right? I'm surprised at myself being this harsh!

    You're right, I might have to change my expectations when I see a film like this. I'll be going for an IMAX 3D screening in about 3 hours time and I'll see if I change my mind then. Especially on entertainment/aesthetic values :) I'll check back on your review when you post it to compare up and reflect upon it with your second opinion.

    Thanks a lot George! :)

    @Melissa Seriously? Wow, TF3 will be so personal to you and I think you have to watch it. There's about an hour of cinematic destruction in Chicago and if you enjoy seeing that, you'd be in for a ride. (What a morbid thing to say, LOL!)

    That said, I really didn't expect anyone to be deterred from catching this. It's a film that sells itself (I've to say, it's one of the most anticipated this Summer) so I ready to compare up with what others feel after they watch it. Helps me see if I was too harsh on this. So I'll check your review for a second opinion when you post it, see if I gather anything new that I was blinded from.

    Thanks Melissa! As always :)

  4. Yeah..I expected more of Transformers 3. :O but all in all, it was still good. But it could have been much, much better. :)

  5. Hi JEMSEN! Have you caught it? Yeah, it could need some improvements but I think it's just me that I have such a negative sentiment against this film.

    Most people around me didn't feel that way but I respect their opinions as it's really a subjective matter of preference and appeal.

    Thanks for sharing yours! :)


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