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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
Click poster to enlarge
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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
Browse more images »
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

RE: 2 stars?

God, this film. A week later and happily most of it has left my memory.  ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 15:37, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

All I want to know is how did Empire justify a second star for this atrocity? ... More

Posted by The Hooded Man at 15:13, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

Aye, the Bumblebee bit was quite shockingly pointless. Anyone else find they just can't stop thinking about how terrible this was? I don't think I've been this disturbed since the first time I saw Salo. And I'm someone who loved the first film and even enjoyed the second one. It says something when even the mind-blowing effects/3D, possibly the best I've ever seen in a cinema, still aren't enough to make up for the utter shitness of ingle sceneing humans. The bits when the robots are convers... More

Posted by horribleives at 14:17, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

L: horribleives Where did John Malkovich go? Not that he was good or anything - he, Frances McDormand and John Tutturro should hang their heads in shame for enabling such an affront to cinema decency - but did anyone else think it was a bit weird that he just vanished halfway through? sp; Yeah, he turns up a Sam's girlfriend's flat, picks a fight with Bumblebee for some inexplicable reason and that's it, out of the film. His whole 'character' was completely stupid and pointless (l... More

Posted by superdan at 12:56, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

I was a huge fan of the cartoon. I thought the first one was pretty good. I walked out of the second one. The third movie started out strong. The first 15 minutes were intriguing. The rest of the movie not so. This is a really long movie. The movie just keeps going and you just want it to end. ... More

Posted by hairdbeezt8 at 05:50, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 2 stars?

Where did John Malkovich go? Not that he was good or anything - he, Frances McDormand and John Tutturro should hang their heads in shame for enabling such an affront to cinema decency - but did anyone else think it was a bit weird that he just vanished halfway through? ... More

Posted by horribleives at 03:17, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

L: horribleives I wasn't keen on all the cold-blooded killings and gangland-style executions dished out by the Autobots. Or the fact that at the beginning they were ly going round murdering people for the governmeneteither of those bothered me as much as some of them having spiky hair and fucking beards. Yeah but they were killing people for the US government so thats ok.....exept for the times they snuck out just to do it for the laugh ... More

Posted by blackduck at 13:37, 12 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

I wasn't keen on all the cold-blooded killings and gangland-style executions dished out by the Autobots. Or the fact that at the beginning they were basically going round murdering people for the governmenet. But neither of those bothered me as much as some of them having spiky hair and fucking beards. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 12:42, 12 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

ORIGINAL: jcthefirst p breath. And slightly earlier, Megatron (who for some reason decides that wearing a head scarf is enough to warrant the Transfomers mantra of 'robots in disguise') sp; Actually LOLd at that bit.   And when he was in the camp he was basically doing the robot equivelent of feeding the pidgeons. He was a bit of a broken tragic figure , which makes what Prime did at the end even more dickish. ... More

Posted by blackduck at 12:24, 12 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

Having really enjoyed the first movie, tolderated the over long second, I was hoping this third (final?) installment would bring back some of the things I thought worked from previous films and ignored all the crap that didn't. In some ways it really does, but for the most part it misses the mark widely. I thought the 3D was excellent, by far the best 3D I've seen in a film so far, and if other directors start to use 3D in this way, I'll give it the chance. However, judging by the 3D in ... More

Posted by porntrooper at 16:01, 11 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

My review, from my blog. Apologies if it reads like a rant and becomes non-sensical.   p breath. The supposedly final part of the Transformers trilogy is here. And it’s exactly what you’d expect. This is not a good thing. I could just review it as the leave your brain at the door kind of movie it is, and as that kind of movie it’s great. The action is fantastic, there’s a lot of it, and it has MASSIVE TRANFORMING ROBOTS FIGHTING FFS!!!!!!!!!! But I’ll choose to be critical... More

Posted by jcthefirst at 14:18, 11 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

I've just remembered, did anyone else think it was weird when Sam (or rather, Shia's obvious stunt double) suddenly became like some champion free-runner during the end battle? ... More

Posted by superdan at 14:16, 11 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

SPOILERS   Right start with the positive. The 3D is excellent, best I've seen since Avatar, Bay really seems to know how to get the best out of it. The battle at the end is surprisingly enjoyable once you ignore the plot. The Megan Fox replacement has amazing lips. Better than the second one   Aaaand the bad.. Sam is a whiney git, could care less about his job hunt The Transformers barely have any screen time , Deciptacons hardly in it at all. Plot makes no sen... More

Posted by blackduck at 14:06, 11 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers : Dark of The Moon

"You're just Sentinel's bitch" - this is where I felt nauseous. ... More

Posted by CORLEONE at 14:52, 10 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers : Dark of The Moon

L: MonsterCat L: Tech_Noir Saw it in IMAX 3D... Potential wasted. ote] How so? Perhaps because the dude had the "potential" to do something worthwhile with 2 1/2 hours of his time? ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:54, 10 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers : Dark of The Moon

SPOILERS I liked the idea of Decepticons working with humans under the radar, that could have been expanded more. The film also needed more of a climax, Prime and Megatron should have a longer more intense final stand off. Megatron's death was too abrupt. ... More

Posted by Tech_Noir at 12:13, 10 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Transformers : Dark of The Moon

L: Tech_Noir Saw it in IMAX 3D... Potential wasted. ote] How so? ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 21:04, 09 July 2011 | Report This Post


Transformers : Dark of The Moon

Saw it in IMAX 3D... Potential wasted. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tech_Noir at 20:59, 09 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Damn product placements

Great start, Great last half an hour or so. Middle: blergh! Messy, messy, messy. Plot goes no-where. Main criticisms: Rosie Huntington-Whitely: sucked the life out of every scene she was in, although I'm sure all of you know this. Script recycling: probably the biggest offender. Compare this checklist between RoTF and DoTM 1: Have a prologue featuring Optimus narrating about a lost part from Cybertron (ahem, plot device) that was lost/found.. Check. 2: Action scene showing the ... More

Posted by TheFuzz_1989 at 13:46, 09 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

L: shool L: Pigeon Army L: massacretheatre During the decline of the Roman Empire, the games put on at the Colosseum became increasingly absurd. They begun filling the arena with water, ships, wilder animals, more exuberant battles etc, and why? Because when any kind of entity is on the verge of collapse, they become more ridiculous and out of whack than ever. Michael Bay's "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” (do Pink Floyd have copyright over the word "side”?) is important fo... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 20:28, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

L: Pigeon Army L: massacretheatre During the decline of the Roman Empire, the games put on at the Colosseum became increasingly absurd. They begun filling the arena with water, ships, wilder animals, more exuberant battles etc, and why? Because when any kind of entity is on the verge of collapse, they become more ridiculous and out of whack than ever. Michael Bay's "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” (do Pink Floyd have copyright over the word "side”?) is important for a singular reaso... More

Posted by shool at 16:29, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Was this a review by a professional film critic???

L: jimmius The film is simply fun to watch. And I think that's what these kind of films is all about. If you go in and expect to see something that will touch your heart or make your mind a knot with its script then yes you are going to be disappointed. Its an action blockbuster and nothing more but it's a GREAT one. sagree. I expected a Transformers movie. Instead I had to sit through an hour and a half of Sam's First Job.   script is just fine. It gives a different perspect... More

Posted by superdan at 12:21, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Was this a review by a professional film critic???

L: jimmius The film is simply fun to watch. And I think that's what these kind of films is all about. If you go in and expect to see something that will touch your heart or make your mind a knot with its script then yes you are going to be disappointed. Its an action blockbuster and nothing more but it's a GREAT one. Another one to the "collection." ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 11:53, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

me guy called John Shammas. That's right, the internet is on to you.. Ooh, maybe Mark Kermode has an (evil?) clone! ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 10:08, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Your star ratings are screwed

I think its a good film :) ... More

Posted by Holly_2208 at 09:53, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


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