Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas
Is it possible to spend tens of millions of dollars on a big, loud, splashy summertime movie full of action and special effects, and still have it turn out unbearably awful? The answer is a resounding yes! Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is everything you never want to see in a movie. Director Michael Bay continues his string of expensive, but bad, movies. He’s responsible for the first two Transformer films, Pearl Harbor, and Armageddon, among others. But the real question here is not why he keeps making them, but why do people keep buying tickets to see them.
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is in 3-D, a format that has been taking its fair share of lumps in the press lately. Both Bay and Paramount Pictures have been fighting back with statements about how the film was shot in 3-D, with careful attention to the photography, and urging theatres to use the maximum allowable light to ensure the brightest possible image on screen. As a fan of the 3-D process, I was hoping that all that might be true. Alas, the photography is nothing special, the 3-D is nothing special, and, at least in one screen at Newport on the Levee, the image was dark and murky, as it too often is for 3-D films.
The film itself is unbearably awful, lacking any charm, thrills, interesting characters or fun special effects. The nominal star is Shia LaBoeuf, a young actor of minimal talent who only comes across as annoying. In this latest installment of the Transformers saga, newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whitely who has even less acting ability plays his girlfriend. But even worse than that, it’s sad to see such terrific actors as John Turturro, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand in such a mess. Any of the three can often make a film terrific. But to say they are wasted here is understatement; it’s downright embarrassing.
In case you’re not aware of what these films are about, the Transformer series is based on a children’s toy that can be manipulated to assume many guises. Cinematically, they are robots from elsewhere which can become anything from a computer screen, to a car, to a spaceship. There are good robots and bad robots. It would seem that would be an opportunity for some spectacular special effects. Unfortunately, these constant transformations resemble more of an inverse demolition derby as hunks of metal twist and lurch to become something different.
Michael Bay is famous, or more likely, infamous, for the number of explosions he includes in every film he makes. The bad news is that the explosions are to cover up total lack of script, dialogue, or characterizations. Or talent.
So to sum up, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is a loud, incoherent, unbearable, two hour and thirty-seven minute mess that is not nearly as entertaining as the requisite onslaught of commercials that now precede films in plexes. And as if that isn’t bad enough, the experience required the loss of fourteen dollars… two for parking, and twelve for a matinee ticket to a 3-D movie. How could you better use fourteen dollars? You might run it through your home shredder. Or perhaps secure it to a rock to toss into the Ohio River. Either of those, for starters, would be a better use of your money than spending it on this truly horrible film. Of all the bad movies that have been unleashed on the public this year, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is the worst. And if you’re over twelve… in either age or I.Q… you’ll want to avoid this like the plague.
The PG-13 rated Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is currently showing almost everywhere.