After the messy, incoherent tragedy of Transformers 2, the third in the series, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, is a welcome reprieve, which not only helps you forget its predecessor, but also gives the series what is has long been missing — some heart .
Dark of the Moon picks up with human protagonist Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) struggling to come to terms with a normal existence. No job, apparently no friends and no direction, Sam spends a lot of his time bitching about how he doesn't matter anymore. Apparently he doesn't appreciate being shacked up with hot new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitely, replacing Megan Fox as the eye candy), who is not only out of his league, but is also subsidising him.
The Transformers, meanwhile, are working with the world’s governments to maintain peace on their adopted planet, but a new threat is imminent, and it doesn’t take long for all hell to break loose.
Unlike the first two films, Dark of the Moon, doesn't muddy the waters too much with an assortment of robots and sticks with the core characters. Regular cast members return intermittingly throughout the film with varying degrees of success. John Turturro, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson all reprise their roles with some success, but the inclusion of Sam’s parents is forced, uncomfortable and pretty pointless.
The addition of Patrick Dempsey is a welcome one with the Grey's Anatomy star playing against type and revelling as the self-absorbed millionaire boss of Sam's girlfriend.
Huntington-Whitely is consigned to screaming, running and pouting — often all at the same time — and Bay never expects her to actually add anything beyond that. It’s a bit of a farce and goes a long way in backing up Fox's criticism of the director.
But despite Bay continuing to repeat the same mistakes of the first two films, the third in the series steps up in the action and by focusing a bit more on the relationships between the characters, Dark of the Moon is a lot more absorbing.
Sure, they are just robots, and CGI ones at that, but this time around you care, and that's probably because you can actually tell them apart…
Dark of the Moon is still heavily reliant on manic action, huge explosions and tons of CGI, but then if that is not what you're looking for, then you probably shouldn't be watching a movie based on a line of toys and 80s cartoons.
It is what it is, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing.