TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
The war between the races of robotic aliens (the Autobots and the Decepticons) continues with the fate of the Earth and the human race at stake. Autobots leader Megatron (voice of Hugo Weaving) is sent to investigate a crashed spacecraft on the moon but finds he has been manipulated by the Decepticons. Fresh out of college, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is offered a job by Bruce Brazos (John Malkovich) although Sam wants a job where he really matters. He quickly becomes involved with the Autobots, together with his gorgeous new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) whose luxury car-loving boss Dylan (Patrick Dempsey) has his own dubious agenda. Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) from the elite Government squad NEST meanwhile, are quickly on the case as havoc reigns.
Review by Louise Keller:
In sheer scale you've got to give it credit, this third film in the Transformers franchise is quite a spectacle. Like its two predecessors, it is overlong and loud, filled with mega-stunts, gob-smacking special effects, a healthy sprinkling of humour, exotic locations, a grandiose music score and plenty of excess.
With director Michael Bay's unsubtle stamp splattered all over it, teenage boys and their elder brothers will be in techno heaven, although you need vertigo drops for the hand-held camera work and a degree in transformology to keep track of the detail of the highly complex plot. The dialogue is sometimes hard to understand too.
I mentally dipped in and out becoming more and more desensitized as cars flipped like coins, buildings toppled and everything in the path of the gigantic metal transformers were demolished in a tornado of special effects, stunts and clash of metal. I felt a bit numb by the end, slightly brain-dead by the onslaught.
The story is a reworking of the formula with the same elements and a variation on the plot. Once again it's a battle between good and evil with key themes of loyalty and betrayal. There's a courageous and tenacious hero (LaBeouf), a curvaceous blonde with pouting lips and legs that stretch forever (Huntington-Whiteley) plus the formidable transformers themselves that change their form, tower above everything and bring chaos and destruction. An engaging mix of characters (some new; some old) bring humour and humanity to the proceedings.
The war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, the two races of robotic aliens, is still ongoing with the fate of the Earth and the human race at stake. Now there is a new threat, after the Director of National Intelligence (McDormand) discovers a carefully kept secret about a spacecraft that crashed on the moon years ago. Autobots leader Optimus Prime(voice of Peter Cullen) investigates but after reviving The Sentinel (voice of Leonard Nimoy), finds he has been manipulated and evil plans are taking hold.
Fresh out of college and looking for a job, Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) yearns for the days gone by when he had a key role to play with his Autobots friends. John Malkovich is hilarious as the colour-obsessed Bruze Brazos, who offers Sam a job as a messenger, although Sam is far more interested in finding a role where he really matters.
It's good to see John Turturro back as Simmons, although he has few scenes, as does Ken Jeong, whose secretive Jerry Wang hides his manifesto in his pants - and gets caught.
Needless to say, Sam gets involved as events evolve between the Autobots and the Decepticons, as well as his blonde bombshell gf, whose luxury car-loving boss Dylan (Dempsey) has his own dubious agenda. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson as the operatives from the elite Government squad NEST who are quickly on the case, are a welcome presence.
The film's highlight is an extraordinary sequence in which a glass skyscraper bends, like a pliable piece of cardboard while a massive snake-like transformer writhes and bores its way methodically in and out of the building. As the evil transformer bursts its terrifying form through the shattered glass, the characters inside the crippled building cling on for dear life.
Apart from the major action sequences in which the sky explodes and havoc is created generating luscious eye candy for the male target market, the Transformer franchise has always managed to exude some heart and here it delivers again. Although it would be fair to say that it is the visual effects that are the storm that carries this fantasy of excess.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (M)
CAST: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Alan Tudyk, Frances McDormand, John Turturro
VOICES: Hugo Weaving, Leonard Nimoy, Frank Welker
PRODUCER: Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
SCRIPT: Ehren Kruger
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Amir M. Mokri
EDITOR: Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Joel Negron
MUSIC: Steve Jablonski
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nigel Phelps
RUNNING TIME: 154 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 29, 2011
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.