If the first Transformers movie made me think of a trash compactor and the sequel reminded me of a dismantled dishwasher, what mechanical contraption did this third film bring to mind? Let’s go with a chainsaw.
One of the evil robots this time around wields a skyscraper-long chain of spinning metal teeth that grinds up everything in its path. It’s the perfect visual metaphor for an enterprise that isn’t a movie as much as a chopped-up collection of random, Hasbro-inspired images that have been chewed up, spit out and dropped on the screen in random order. It’s like watching a chainsaw tear apart a toy box.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is ineptly made even in comparison to the first two films. Scenes end abruptly or are interrupted by completely different plot threads. Characters disappear for 20 minutes or more and then needlessly return in the midst of unrelated sequences. Music is pasted in at awkward moments. You wonder if the movie was even edited at all.
There are other affronts. Dark of the Moon is notably and pointlessly more violent than its predecessors. Humans are repeatedly vaporized by the villains in the endless battle scenes, while certain robots, for reasons unexplained, bleed when wounded. It’s all unnecessary for a toy-based series that’s largely consumed by tween boys.
Speaking of unnecessary, the franchise still insists on putting humans in its plot. In addition to the returning John Turturro, the series also brings on John Malkovich and Frances McDormand for what are meant to be ironic laughs. (After all, who would expect them in such a picture?) This trio of fine actors may think they’re winking while appearing in something so blatantly commercial, but the joke is on them. They’re the ones willfully starring in a piece of Hollywood crap.
Judging from the amount of angry screaming he does throughout the film, series star Shia LaBeouf must be wishing that the franchise would come to an end. LaBeouf seems strangely angry as Sam Witwicky, the teen who once again finds himself in the midst of a battle between alien robots.
This time around Sam has a new babe, played by newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She’s the focus of the film’s most embarrassing scene, set in a car museum, in which the camera pans up her body while someone describes the curves of a classic car nearby. I used to think that director Michael Bay only cared about two things: vehicles and women. Dark of the Moon suggests he can’t even distinguish between them.