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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Shia LaBeouf
Frances McDormand
John Turturro
Tyrese Gibson
Josh Duhamel
John Malkovich
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Patrick Dempsey
Ken Jeong
Alan Tudyk.
Directors
Michael Bay.
Screenwriters
Running Time
154 minutes

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon
You know how it was all going to be different this time?


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Plot
Mankind’s war against the Decepticons takes an interesting turn with the discovery of Sentinel Prime (Nimoy), Optimus Prime’s predecessor as leader of the Autobots, who has been in hibernation on the Moon since the 1960s. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) has a new girlfriend, can’t get a job and is itching to save the world again.


Review
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
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After he’s cleared of sexual harassment at the end of the classic Simpsons episode, Homer Badman, Homer J. Simpson turns to his wife, and gleefully announces, “Marge, my friend, I haven’t learned a thing.”

Michael Bay is Homer Simpson. Not superficially, of course – he has a gorgeous head of lovely, flowing hair, and he’s not yellow. But when it comes to avoiding the same mistakes that beset 2009’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen for this third (and final?) instalment of his toy-based blockbuster trilogy, he hasn’t learned a thing.

OK, admittedly the alarmingly racist robots, Skids and Mudflap, are gone, and there are no disconcerting close-ups of giant robot balls. But that still doesn’t prevent what remains from being, well, giant robot balls.

Exposition scenes are still choppy as hell, the writing is lazy, the plot turns brazen and in bad taste (Chernobyl was caused by Decepticons) the film is overloaded with a cavalcade of superfluous supporting players (look! It’s Josh Duhamel as Captain Wotsit! Huzzah! Here comes Tyrese Gibson as Thingummy!), and there’s an oafish insistence on cheap-seats comedy relief that leaves actors like John Malkovich (as Sam’s scary new boss), Alan Tudyk (as John Turturro’s fey personal assistant) and Ken Jeong (running through his tired old schtick one more time) desperately mugging. It does lead, though, to the year’s most welcome death scene.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Dark Of The Moon is better than Revenge Of The Fallen. But not by much.

That upturn is testament to its last 45 minutes, in which Bay drops the Homer impression and does his best stab at Michael Bay. For, when all’s said and done, not many directors can handle large-scale action like he can, and the climactic Bayhem, in which the Decepticons occupy Chicago and transform (ten points!) it into a smoking ruin, is stunning. Price-of-admission-alone stunning, as teams of winged base-jumpers dive out of planes and plummet past skyscrapers; those same buildings lurch to 90-degrees in a series of vertiginous shots that will have you clutching your chair (the 3D, probably the best deployment of the form since Avatar, helps here); and giant robots, of course, kick the living oil out of each other.

For a movie squarely aimed at teens, it’s extraordinarily violent. Humans are reduced to smoking skeletons by alien attacks, but the likes of Optimus Prime (when he’s not giving sanctimonious speeches, Jerry Springer-style) and Megatron (almost completely wasted) save the toughest treatment for themselves. Heads are lopped off, spinal columns are ripped out, and several are executed with shotgun blasts to the head, gangland-style, in a manner that suggests that this is the final instalment, at least for a while. If this action were human-on-human, we’d have the next Human Centipede 2 on our hands. Best not show this to your Roomba, though – it’ll be traumatized.

The first Transformers has its flaws, but it did have its charms. LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky was an intriguing hero, like Woody Allen was parachuted into an action flick. Dark Of The Moon is mostly charmless, however – for the first (surprisingly action-lite, slow-moving) hour, Sam is a moaning, presumptuous brat whose relationship with his new girlfriend (Huntington-Whiteley) is so shabbily-defined that it’s hard to sympathise with him. A boy getting his first car is relatable; a young man throwing a tantrum because his impossibly hot girlfriend has a hotter boss is not.

As for Huntington-Whiteley, the much-trumpeted replacement for Megan Fox (dismissed with an amusing, “She was a bitch. We didn’t like her.”), Bay introduces her with a self-parodying shot of her barely-clad bottom and it’s all downhill from there. You’ll believe a robot can fly, but you won’t believe a Huntington-Whiteley can talk.


Verdict
An improvement on Transformers 2, but then what isn’t? To paraphrase the Bard, it’s a tale, full of sound and fury and extremely stupid dialogue and nonsensical plotting and preposterous stunts and robots punching each other’s heads off, signifying nothing. Needless to say, it’s going to be huge.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Empire Star Rating

i have to admit...

that i quite enjoyed it. Since there isn't a two-and-a-half-star option, i'm going to be generous. The last hour is pretty great fun. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 14:03, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Tranformers Dark of Moon

Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon - bad, very bad; near verging on atrocious incompetence of everyone involved. The frigging robots were better actors than the humans!! Can someone tell Shia LaBeouf that screaming does not constitute as acting, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was pathetic - a worm has more charisma and wtf was John Malkovich thinking?! Michael Bay - watched one of your films once...biggest waste of my time! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ref at 11:51, 20 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Theres a lot of fucking brilliant stuff in this film, but again is weighed down sorely by the same shit in TF2. I could easily watch this again though as with the rest of the films simply because of the awesome shit that appeared on screen. It is a real shame though the films were let down by an atrocious sense of humor, ranging from the fat black guy in TF1, to the high mum in TF2 and Ken Jeong or whatever in this one. I dont think this guy has ever been funny, even in the Hangover he was t... More

Posted by kumar at 18:42, 28 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

L: thetruth And made,what close to a billion dollars? It wouldnt be my cup of mocha,but a lot of people liked it. t's worth noting that a lot of people going to watch it doesn't necessarily mean a lot of people liked it. ... More

Posted by superdan at 12:21, 28 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

Surely this could have gone on for longer and had more shots of that birds legs ... More

Posted by kargon at 11:51, 28 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

I guess the first film is still the best compared to others. However, I would not mind watching this one because I am a big fan of Transformers since young. :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thomasmenefee at 04:40, 28 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

L: Rgirvan44 L: thetruth Why did you bring this up?? ust curious. Interesting to note that the thread died pretty much after the first week of release. Usually these ones go on for a month or so. But not here. but it still got a 20 plus page thread. And made,what close to a billion dollars? It wouldnt be my cup of mocha,but a lot of people liked it. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 23:47, 27 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

L: thetruth Why did you bring this up?? ust curious. Interesting to note that the thread died pretty much after the first week of release. Usually these ones go on for a month or so. But not here. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 23:39, 27 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

Why did you bring this up?? ... More

Posted by thetruth at 23:34, 27 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

I've done a pretty good job of wiping it from my brain like shit from my arsehole. ... More

Posted by superdan at 20:47, 27 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

What film? ... More

Posted by bobatim at 20:37, 27 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

Does anybody even remember that this film was out? ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 19:55, 27 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

MIndless "entertainment".Characters and plot non existant.Dialogue awful. On the plus side,you see what Bay can do well in some very good action scenes.Problem is there´s too many. It feels like my eyes were put in a food blender and my brain in a microwave after this.And the length! 2 and half stars. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 09:31, 08 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers Dark Of The Moon: Review

I agree with the the Empire review. The movie is better than Revenge of the Fallen but not better than the first. The problem with the movie is that it is unnecessarily long. It take so long for the film to get started. Most of the plot doesn't make sense but it has some great action and explosions. ... More

Posted by tformsopti8 at 06:51, 08 August 2011 | Report This Post


Time to throw in the towel

Not quite as offensive to my brain as the second one, the feeling I had during most of this, especially the first half, was boredom.   The second half setpiece was much too long like its counterpart in the second one, but there was odd moment of spectacular action that was slightly memorable.   The special effects were great...the score was decent, thought I noticed a little couple of hans zimmer inception similar cues in the there...ummm, ehhhhh...trying to think of anything ... More

Posted by MartinBlank76 at 08:49, 21 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

FINALLY got a chance to see this and thought it was really awesome personally...After the cool start with the manipulation of historical events it really fucking drags in the middle though with characters I've already forgotton (apart from Malkovich, you never forgot Malkovich) but the action more than makes up for all of that shit. Would have been a much stronger film had it just focused on NEST and the Autobot alliance though. At least the comic relief was kept to a minimum this and no g... More

Posted by Scott_ at 18:06, 20 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

Don't know if this has been posted yet, but it sums up everythnig nicely!   www.toplessrobot.com/2011/06/topless_robots_transformer s_3_faq.php ... More

Posted by blackduck at 13:10, 18 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

thx its always nice to know that people care... ... More

Posted by chri819 at 03:46, 18 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

L: chri819 OK first things first... This film is a big improvment on Transformers 2 so i dont fully understand how you can give it 2 stars while number 2 got 3 stars... WTF This film is a typical crowd pleaser; hated by critics but somehow loved by viewers. These unlogical films get the big bucks at the box office but aren't apparently that great but this one was ok. And just remember is said that this film was OK not good or bad just OK. But as most films it has its good points an... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 18:11, 17 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

I finally got around to seeing this today.  It’s a spectacular summer blockbuster with great special effects.  BUT and it’s a big but (no not butt, Megan Fox isn’t in it) there’s hardly any story (as usual) and what there is, is nonsensical.  Sam would never get a girlfriend that hot (why not give him the girl next door type?) the woman in this looks like a model because she is a model.  It’s loud, extremely loud, like the others - the CRASH, WHAM, BANG gets annoying a... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 19:03, 16 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

Empire, you gave Transformers: Dark of the Moon 2 stars but say it's better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo which you gave 3 stars each to. So why is Attack of the Clones 5 stars and this only 2... WTF ... More

Posted by vad3r at 13:40, 15 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Umm What?

L: chri819 OK first things first... This film is a big improvment on Transformers 2 so i dont fully understand how you can give it 2 stars while number 2 got 3 stars... WTF ow you are totally right I have never thought about this before why has no one raised this? ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 11:41, 15 July 2011 | Report This Post


Umm What?

OK first things first... This film is a big improvment on Transformers 2 so i dont fully understand how you can give it 2 stars while number 2 got 3 stars... WTF This film is a typical crowd pleaser; hated by critics but somehow loved by viewers. These unlogical films get the big bucks at the box office but aren't apparently that great but this one was ok. And just remember is said that this film was OK not good or bad just OK. But as most films it has its good points and its bad ones to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chri819 at 08:45, 15 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

He shall be on the clock tower within a year. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 18:35, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

L: Rgirvan44 God, this film. A week later and happily most of it has left my memory.  sp; Repressed you mean, to burst out in a welter of rage and tears at a later date. ... More

Posted by superdan at 16:17, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


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