Transformers: Dark of the Moon IMAX 3D movie review

IF YOU like an action film where you can leave your brain at the door then read on. If you prefer your action more intellectual, then go rent/buy Inception.

It’s common knowledge that director Michael Bay doesn’t do smart films. In fact, he doesn’t even do movies with character development or any emotional centre.

But he is outstanding when it comes to blowing stuff up, and he does this aplenty with his third instalment of the Transformers franchise – Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

But getting to the good stuff is laborious and, at times, painful. What he does manage to do though is perfect a human-looking Transformer, in the guise of model-come-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

It’s hard to imagine how an ‘actress’ can make the axed Transformers star Megan Fox resemble something borderline decent, but Whiteley does it.

There’s only one reason man-child Bay enlisted her. And it’s all revealed in her first shot on screen – camera panning up naked legs as she climbs stairs before resting on the pert cheeks of her gluteus-maximus. Yep, she’s just there to titillate and utter insincere lines during moments of danger.

In Dark of the Moon, it’s discovered that 35 people knew of the existence of the giant robots after an Autobot ship crash-landed on the Moon pre-1969.

When Neil Armstrong and his crew travelled to the moon, they were actually sent there to find said ship. Already, history is being ripped asunder, but it’s all in the name of entertainment – and the scenes on the Moon look gorgeous.

Fast-forward to the present day and a military job in Chernobyl that uncovers more Decepticons. You got it; another Earth-based battle is set to commence.

After an impressive opening on the Moon, the following hour drags as Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) hunts for a job and his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) bitches about him not paying his fair share of the rent.

Introduced to the Transformers universe are two brilliant actors in John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. Of the two, McDormand comes out the other end with her dignity intact.

Malkovich’s turn as Sam’s new boss, Bruce, is a waste of his undoubted talent. Turning such a star into what can only be described as a ‘bit-part’ is criminal.

There’s also a small appearance by Ken Jeong as conspiracy theorist Jerry Wang. He just rehashes his character from The Hangover. Thankfully, things don’t end well for him.

After all this set-up – and there is a lot of it – the good stuff kicks off. And this is where the film, and Bay, comes into a league of its own. If you’re familiar with Bayhem, then you know what to expect.

An impressive chase on a motorway leaves you slack jawed, especially one slo-mo sequence involving Bumblebee and Sam.

When this epic war goes to Chicago, the action on screen (in IMAX 3D) is a sight to behold.

To start with, the scenes involving soldiers ‘flying’ into the city amidst all the destruction wearing wingsuits is breathtaking.

Watching a skyscraper being sliced in half as the stars slide down the side of the building is jaw-dropping. This kind of action and devastation is what 3D should be used for.

NOTE: Can directors please ditch the ill-conceived idea that post-production 3D is a viable option? It doesn’t work. Either do the effects properly or don’t do them at all.

So, given the grand running time of 157 minutes, what can be said of what happens on screen?

There’s the good: Stunning action sequences, more detail in battles and a lack of Sam’s painfully unfunny parents (they appear for just 10 minutes at most).

There’s the bad: The running time does drag during the middle section, the use of racially-stereotypical robots as a form of humour (one sounds like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers), Sam screaming constantly and the pointless use of Malkovich.

Then, there’s the ugly: Huntington-Whiteley’s attempt at acting. She is bad. No, she’s awful.

But for a Michael Bay film, which are always action-focused, it’s right on the money. It just takes its time getting there.

So, if you can switch off the brain for over two hours, ignore the naysayers and the lengthy running time and let the action wash over you, it may be an experience you enjoy.

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