Movie Review: Transformers 3 is soulless and infantile

Jun 30, 2011

Pic: Transfer3

<< A still from Transformers 3

Film: Transformers 3 (3D) (U/A)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Frances McDormand, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Dempsey, Hugo Weaving, Peter Cullen
Director: Michael Bay
Rating: *1/2

The Autobots, a race of advanced Robot-like beings led by the valiant Optimus Prime, (voice of Cullen) learn of the US government's secret retrieval of a spacecraft from their planet from the moon -- the actual motive behind the US-Russia space race.

The ship, now in ruins, bears devices that can revive the stranded Autobots’ lost homeworld -- Cybertron and Optimus Prime learns that the vessel was piloted by his long-lost mentor, Sentinel Prime, (Nimoy) who can now be resurrected.

Meanwhile former high school outcast and two-time world saviour Sam Witwicky (LeBeouf), now unemployed in spite of receiving a medal from US President, manages to land another knock-out girlfriend Carly Spencer (Huntington-Whiteley) and joins forces with shady formergovernment operative Seymour Simmons (Turturro) once again to counter a mysterious trap being laid out by the malignant Decepticons, the age-old foes to the Autobots, led by Megatron (Weaving).

Yes, the latest installment of Transformers is still centered on annoying, useless human beings and, yes, the juvenile humour is still arbitrarily injected into most of the “dialogue”.With the action not exactly all over the place like the high-octane Revenge of the Fallen, it’s the focus on “story” in the first half of the film that proves to be a major failing, with the plain unintriguing goings-on doing nothing but highlighting the weak writing. And then there’s the second half, which features unprecedented action, endless machine–induced destruction and earth-shattering explosions on an apocalyptic scale (in 3D!) that dwarfs other such sequences concocted by Michael Bay.

LaBeouf doesn’t take charge as a leading man while his merry band of “enlightened”, sentient mechanical beings, while being cool to look at, are at the best of times mere robots, lacking genuine humour, warmth and personality. Turturro and McDormand fare reasonably better as the sneaky/weird Simmons and the uptight secretary of defence Charlotte Mearing respectively. Huntington-Whiteley, in looking good and providing a basis for the mandatory love angle, is released from a potential existential crisis like so many of Bay's drop-dead gorgeous leading ladies before her.

The only viewing pleasure that can be salvaged from the hulking behemoth that is Transformers: Dark of the Moon is from the reasonably well-done special effects and the insanely overblown action sequences but that sort of excess, without a palatable story, grows lightspeed.