Since the last war with the Decepticons, the Autobots have been living on Earth peacefully and helping the humans with their conflict problems. When the Autobots hear about a Cybertronian spacecraft that was found on the moon by humans, they race to get hold of it. The Autobots and humans must ensure its cargo does not get into the hands of the Decepticons…
Transformers: Dark of the Moon suffers from the same ailments as its predecessor, Revenge of the Fallen. It may look and sound great, but there is very little substance to the film beyond this. The narrative leaves a lot to be desired. Although the initial premise sounds quite adequate for a second sequel, its execution lets the movie down.
Lessons were not learnt from the last film. The pacing in Dark of the Moon is off; too much time is spent building up to the ending action. As a result, the ending is anticlimactic. It feels protracted; there are too many lulls before the big fight. Any momentum that had been building is offset but a lack of strong direction. The film goes on for far too long. There are plenty of scenes that could have been trimmed significantly, or even omitted altogether.
Screenwriter Ehren Kruger’s dialogue is terrible at times, especially from the machines. There is humour to be found in the film, particularly around the central character of Sam. However, the film relies on crude national stereotypes in its depictions of the Autobots and Decepticons. The cartoon series has much greater character development than this film. Elsewhere, the lack of attention to detail is just as palpable. New characters are introduced, yet some of them just disappear before the final third of the film.
The effects are superb, and the entire film has a glossy sheen. Dark of the Moon is also one of the rare cases where it is worth seeing a live-action movie in 3D. The sound is bombastic, pulsating through the action sequences. However, Steve Jablonsky’s score is sometimes reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight soundtrack. This is compounded by a set piece where the action and location are strikingly similar to one in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film.
Performances vary throughout the film. Shia LaBeouf is amusing as ever as Sam. John Malkovich is good, but underused in his role. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, however, is atrocious. Although the role of Carly requires her to do little but look attractive and be rescued, she is incredibly inauthentic.
So much energy was expended in the special effects for Dark of the Moon, and it really shows in the end product. It is a pity not even a small percentage of this effort was put into the screenplay.