Looking back at TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Tom Pheby revisits the third big screen Transformers movie, 2011s Dark of the Moon.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon followed the mega disappointing Revenge of the Fallen. It's almost as if Michael Bay had the critics remarks ringing in one ear and his paymasters at the studio whispering P45 in the other. As a result this outing seems to bafflingly make a bit more sense, but not by much. Bay tries manfully to resist the temptation of unleashing explosions from the outset as he attempts to build a story without demolishing anything. But it's soon business as usual. The effects are of the highest standard with bigger and noisier explosions, and guns, lots of guns. Shooting guns, people flying through the air with guns, robots with guns, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a deleted scene featuring Nuns with guns - which is a great title for a movie (Michael Mann take note).

Dark of the Moon is a story of dark secrets, deception and self preservation. We go back to the Kennedy administration in an attempt to explain the frantic space race between the USA and Russia. It's not for pride or jingoism, no, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon to find an Alien ship that had crashed there called The Ark, not the one with the bearded guy and two animals of every description though. This Ark carried the massive, lumbering robots from their home planet to our part of the solar system. No wonder everyone and their Mothers are holding gun's. You can almost sense a redneck about to say "You're not from around these parts are ya!". So the highly evolved Autobots took to hiding on the dark side of the Moon (Pink Floyd - copyright issue?) allowing them to fight for their freedom away from the gaze of the much nastier Decepticons.

It came as no surprise when Shia LaBeouf decided to announce that this was his last film in the series, perhaps sensing that if he didn't jump he might well be pushed. There were times in the last flick where he looked as if he was fed up to the back teeth and wanted to stomp on the head of his agent for agreeing to do more than the first one. But I do wonder about his character, Sam Witwicky. One moment he's a lazy bum, then a lazy university bum and now he's a bum in the post room. Yet still he manages to get the girls (it's so annoying). Gone is his former squeeze Mikaela, as Megan Fox was thrown into the river of talentless but attractive women that tend to take up unnecessary screen time. But hold on, there's a new one in the form of Carly played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Although she was never going to be a character that spouts equations or splits the atom with her mascara, she's fantastically less annoying than her predecessor.

Although it's packed with jaw dropping effects that come along like a fleet of buses, Dark of the Moon lacks a hefty dollop of wit. You get to the stage where most of the cast are playing second fiddle to the robotic counter parts, the humans merely provide emotional connections and narrative. It's not an unlikable film, but boy you start drifting off after awhile because it's impossibly long. Two and a half hours is long enough to grow cabbages in a Sainsbury's carrier bag. From seeds!

On a positive note, this third chapter is infinitely better than Revenge of the Fallen, but after viewing Dark of the Moon it's evident that if there was to be another installment then the Transformers franchise would need a new direction, new cast and even a new director. Along comes Age of Extinction, and as Meatloaf once said, two out of three ain't bad!

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