Right after Transformers: Dark of the Moon gets through pretentiously rewriting history – apparently the space race of the 60s was brought about because a Transformer spaceship crashed on the moon – the first image we see is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Meghan Fox’s replacement) tanned butt cheek hanging out of her tight fitting panties. As if to remind us that, yes, Michael Bay did indeed direct this movie. Don’t worry, because if you end up forgetting that fact later on there is another ridiculous shot where Bay actually tries to visually compare Rosie’s curves with that of an antique car. Or another, where explosions light up the background as Rosie stares slightly off camera, lips pouted, robots flipping end over end behind her in slow motion. All of this so you can remember that this is a Bay movie.
Poor Buzz Aldrin. What he’s subjected to in this movie seems inexcusable. A national hero. Someone who was involved in one of mankind’s greatest achievements, and he’s trotted out in front of the camera by Bay in order to explain that the moon landing was all a giant cover-up. The real reason they were there was to find a spaceship that had crash landed, which had come all the way from Cybertron. Trying to figure out why seasoned actors like John Malkovich, Frances McDermond, and Alan Tudyk are in this is equally frustrating.
Dark of the Moon is a hulking, clunky mess. There’s nothing new here. Some people may say, “You just have to turn off your mind when you go and see it.” I say to those people, “What’s the point then?” Action movies are fun when they’ve got something inventive to show. Dark of the Moon is the same incoherent whirring metal-on-metal action that we saw in the first two Transformers movies. It’s almost like the action scenes from those movies were cut-and-pasted into this one. Optimus Prime skates down a street dismantling Decepticons. Explosions flare, robotic body parts fly, and there’s no reason to care. First of all, it’s nearly impossible to tell who is who. Secondly, this is regurgitated action from the other movies. Lastly, there’s no reason for us to care what happens to anyone (or machine) in this movie. They’re all pretty contemptible people (and machines).
Somewhere along the line Bay promised that this movie wouldn’t contain the same stupid humor that was in the second movie. He lied. It may not have an image of gigantic robo-balls hanging from a Transformer, but it has other gags that are just as nauseating. Sam Witwicky’s parents are up to their old tricks again. In the second movie his mom ate pot brownies, here she tries to give him awkward sex advice. The second movie featured two of the most racist characters (robots) to have ever appeared on screen, this movie just switches them out with stereotypical Scottish accented robots. Which makes perfect sense, right?
Dark of the Moon seems to have no linear timeline. We jump around for a grueling 2 hours from scene to scene without any explanation as to why we’re here now. Characters disappear for large amounts of the movie, only to reappear at crucial moments without any explanation of how they got there. Bay’s musical choices are painfully obvious ones. He’s one step away from choosing REM’s song “It’s the End of the World” when the Decepticons begin tearing apart Chicago.
Dark of the Moon isn’t bigger, louder, or funnier than its predecessors, but it sure is dumber. It’s a mean-spirited, nihilistic piece of Hollywood garbage. It’s a junk yard full of heaps of talking metal that were once considered childhood toys. That memory is gone now. Replaced with sour reminiscing of Bay’s vision of Transformers. A vision that has turned them into incomprehensible piles of whirling metal parts clanging together without any real rhyme or reason.