Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register Now to see X-MEN First Class!
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
More posters to select

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

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Looking For Light: Jane Brown
3 Star Empire Rating
Informant, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Exhibition
4 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Magic Magic
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
5 Star Empire Rating

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


submit to reddit


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

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

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

RE: my transformers 3 review

L: Invader_Ace It's some guy called John Shammas. That's right,  the internet is on to you.. think Dr K might have something to say about the copyright notice at the bottom of "John's" review. ... More

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


RE: my transformers 3 review

It's some guy called John Shammas.   That's right,  the internet is on to you.. ... More

Posted by Invader_Ace at 09:36, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

L: darth silas 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 rea... More

Posted by UTB at 07:45, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

If that is Kermode and not just someone shamelessly stealing from him, I'm disappointed that the phrase "Cluster-fruitcake" didn't make it to the print review.  ... More

Posted by rawlinson at 06:03, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

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 reason: it symbolizes th... More

Posted by Pigeon Army at 05:18, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Empire misses the point again.......

L: Your Funny Uncle Yet it makes millions so he must be doing something right.... ubstitute "he" for "the Special Effects department" and you're about there.... EDIT : If that truly is the good doctor (the review certainly is) additional comments are MORE than welcome! ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 02:20, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

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 reason: it symbolizes... More

Posted by Spaldron at 01:28, 08 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

L: darth silas 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 ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 19:39, 07 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: my transformers 3 review

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 reason: it symbolizes th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 19:37, 07 July 2011 | Report This Post


my transformers 3 review

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 reason: it symbolizes the progressive inevitabili... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by massacretheatre at 19:13, 07 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not even worth the £1.50 admission for 3D

L: Darth Marenghi L: Emyr Thy King yone get the impression that he seems pleased/relieved that Michael Bay is leaving the franchise? ell, who wouldn't be? Tyrese wouldn't be the first actor who disliked working with Bay. ote] If Bay didn't direct 4 Tyrese probably wouldn't be in it. I wouldn't think Spielberg would keep the pointless characters. ... More

Posted by target at 18:47, 07 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Underrated

L: neopol This is the third and final installment of the iconoclastic Transformers franchise. Say what?! I suppose Optimus Prime is arguably iconic, and there are a lot of clashes in the films..as well as a strong, fantastical sci-fi element...did you mean : iconoclasfhfantastic? ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 17:38, 07 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Better

L: AntGC What people need to understand is that the story line will never be "Ridley Scott" standard because its based on a childs cartoon for gods sake!!. yeah, but even the cartoons had a plot! and the original film from the 80's was awesome (and went a lot further and darker in some places than the series did)... Bay just treats the audience like they don't need a story/plot at all. ho hum ... More

Posted by mystra at 11:18, 07 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not even worth the £1.50 admission for 3D

Just got back from seeing this. I haven't written a review, I simply feel too worn out. 2 and a half hours where very little happens in between the character introductions and a big battle at the end? .. think Empire have been kind... ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 20:00, 06 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not even worth the £1.50 admission for 3D

Interesting. I'm assuming (perhaps wrongly) that Spielberg didn't direct T1 himself because there wasn't much in the Transformers mythos that seemed like the stuff of an Oscar-winning director. I really liked The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but you could understand Spielberg thinking that franchise sequels (and no, I don't count Indy!) are beneath him. Logically the next Transformers flick should be a Batman Begins to T4's Batman & Robin, but I'm not sure if that would work with Optimus e... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 18:02, 06 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not even worth the £1.50 admission for 3D

L: Darth Marenghi L: Emyr Thy King Does anyone get the impression that he seems pleased/relieved that Michael Bay is leaving the franchise? ell, who wouldn't be? Tyrese wouldn't be the first actor who disliked working with Bay. ote] Well of course I'm sure many don't enjoy docking with the Bay. What I'm saying if more people express such thoughts, specifically ones that have worked on the film. We could see an interesting change in direction. ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 16:09, 06 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not even worth the £1.50 admission for 3D

L: Emyr Thy King yone get the impression that he seems pleased/relieved that Michael Bay is leaving the franchise? ell, who wouldn't be? Tyrese wouldn't be the first actor who disliked working with Bay. ... More

Posted by Darth Marenghi at 16:04, 06 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not even worth the £1.50 admission for 3D

Looks like the gunfight at the O.K Corral is over. found this interesting segment from an interview with Tyrese Gibson about the prospect of "sformers 4 "re no concepts, no direction, no nothing for Transfomers 4, because everyone has been so focused on Transformers: Dark of the Moon. But here is the safety net. Are you ready for this? Michael Bay decides to not come back for Transfomers 4. There is always Steven Spielberg! I am not saying that Steven Spielberg is for a fact going to d... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 12:25, 06 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: jaw drop

L: Spaldron L: shool If you can ask Spaldy to refrain from quoting a newbie poster with just an insult underneath then, that would be great. Sorry Spaldy, but those sorts of posts only antagonise. The rule of empire has always been attack the post and not the poster. Ta. TF! Alright pick on me again as usual and ignore the hundreds of other abusive and "downright insulting to the intelligence" posts I've seen here! Sorry but if a newbie or anyone else posts a dipshit stateme... More

Posted by shool at 21:11, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

L: sweetladybrick Chris Hewitt's review is a little bit cynical and elitist (especially in that rather sharp little summary, very snarky). Dark of the Moon is a massive improvement on Revenge of the Fallen- we spent that entire film waiting on a villain that got his arse handed to him the minute he actually set his foot on Earth. esn't have the charm of the first outingimple, Spielbergian innocence of a boy buying a car that turns out to be an alien (at this point it's essentially ET with... More

Posted by darth silas at 20:38, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: JAW DROP!

L: satchwannad What I deserve!!?? Hold on! what I deserve is basic human rights!, and that in life is all I deserve ,everything else is a bonus… what I deserve in a movie? I deserve my 10 euros worth of entertainment! which is exactly what I got., Mr bay is not trying to save the world! ehh???? maybe destroy it!!? No he is trying to make you smile by showing you things that even 5 years ago would be impossible. What I deserve?? Maybe as critics its time to judge movies ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 19:54, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: jaw drop

You aint seen noting yet BOY! ... More

Posted by satchwannad at 19:41, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


Prime Wouldn't do That!

Saw this yesterday, the action was great and the 3D was awesome, there was one part during the finale where a few specks of dust blew across my face! It struck me as quite odd that Bay is taking all the flack for these films when it is pretty much all the bits in his direct control that worked.  You might not like his style, personally I do, but you can't argue that he can't competently direct.  Shot composition is great, action choreography great.  A big improvement on the fir... More

Posted by Invader_Ace at 18:10, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: jaw drop

L: rawlinson L: matty_b L: elab49 L: matty_b Ah, you must be new to the reviews section of the forums. Just wait till Super 8 is released. /quote] Is this really going to be that controversial? I might take August off ote] I can't see it getting any less than four stars, possibly the full five, which will no doubt lead to endless posts of "EMPIRE GIVZ ALL THERE FRENDS FIVE STARZ!!!! YOU GUYS SUK!" 'm hoping the thread for the Straw Dogs remake w... More

Posted by Deviation at 17:09, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Eh?

L: Wild about Wilder Actually get a copy on a Friday off my mate as like the puzzles sectioning Talk & film charts & as it don't cost me anything i'm prfectly willing 2 accept it. Also will see T.D.O.M again in a couple of weeks to be sure of my judgement as have made mistakes before as in BatMan Begins didn't like it saw it again from a non fanboy perspective & enjoyed it a lot which may be my trouble with this? Yeah, I don't think Batman Begins appeal was primarily on fanboy l... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 16:31, 05 July 2011 | Report This Post


Previous pageMore user comments


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?
A bluffer’s guide to the planned spin-off from the Amazing Spider-films

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Hollywood's Biggest Names On Their Favourite Films
Stars and directors like Nolan, Whedon, Wright and Ford on the films that inspire them

The Remake Report: Hollywood's Do-Overs Coming Our Way
The redoes, remakes, reboots, reworkings and reimaginings headed our way…

The Nebraska Playlist
Alexander Payne programmes a movie marathon for us

John Michael McDonagh Talks Calvary
The director on his follow-up to The Guard

More Found Footage: Another 25 Trailers That Tease Missing Scenes
Further sequences that disappeared between promo and final cut

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)