“We’re seeing Transformers tomorrow, and you have no say in the matter.” Now, there’s no denying it – I am a bit of a geek. I am essentially a lesser version of Hermione Granger: I must always be right; I possibly have more books than friends; my hair is a nightmare; but I sadly come without cool bonus features such as magic or a Burberry campaign. However, despite having no shame in building a ‘nerdiness’ analogy around a Harry Potter character, I am pretty much as enthusiastic about the Transformers franchise as I am about missing the Topshop Summer Sale. Admittedly, I had only seen the last half hour of the first film, but this was enough to ingrain my dislike of all things ‘bot’. Under normal circumstances I would have acquiesced to Boyfriend’s demand only after he supplied me with diamonds, or (perhaps more realistically) Dominos pizza.
But fate had smiled on Boyfriend’s bank balance, as Dark of the Moon replaced Megan Fox with Victoria’s Secret angel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. And before we ask ourselves whether Pink Floyd blocked them from naming the third Transformers installment after their album, or whether the Transformers team just wanted to imply some kind of evil bum, it must be noted that Rosie, like Hermione, is magic and had a Burberry campaign. And Rosie’s transfiguration skills top Hermione’s by far: she doesn’t even need a wand to turn straight men into drooling idiots and straight women into gay women. (This year she was voted number one in Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 list, as well as number one in FHM’s World’s Sexiest Woman poll.) So we can only hope that the title is a hint: this film was designed to be the new Wizard of Oz; to be watched alongside Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – on mute.
Visually, the film is just about bearable. Along with Rosie and that sexy lioness thing she has going on and the amazing special effects needed to create the majority of the robotic-alien cast, there are so many explosions that, well, it’s a Michael Bay film. If only I had become temporarily deaf for 154 minutes. With hearing regretfully intact, it was clear that the script writers cared little for intelligence, emotion, or e = mc². Whereas I normally hate spoilers in reviews, this simply cannot go unsaid: the crux of the plot is that the former leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime, “the Einstein of his race”, has turned evil and – with a spectacular flourish of unoriginality – attempts to harvest humankind as slaves. It is obvious even to a Transformers virgin that Shia LaBeouf and his animated pals are going to stop him. But Sentinel is “the Einstein of his race”. He even looks like Einstein (or a bizarre mix between Einstein and Captain Jack Sparrow, robotised). And if he is supposed to be Einstein, then presumably he should be clever. He would not attempt something stupid. And if he did attempt something stupid he would not fail (note: the atomic bomb).
After Sentinel ‘Einstein’ Prime drags you down to the depths of your cinema seat and sucks out your will to live, the further petty crimes of Dark of the Moon wash over you gently. The Autobots and Decepticons can only speak in clichés. Shia’s character’s need to save the world every five minutes is painful. Rosie’s character has no function other than to look either pretty, or pretty stupid. Mortality becomes a pantomime act (he’s dead: “ohhhhh no he isn’t”) so that when characters do kick their respective human or robot buckets it is difficult to care. And the film drags on for so long that you start to feel that time has slowed down. (“Am I really drowning?” I wondered, “Or is it just all this slowmo?”)
To summarise, Dark of the Moon is terrible. I mean, really terrible. I walked into the cinema only hoping for hot cars, hot girl, and hot explosions, but I left shivering with anger, with bloodshot eyes and pale skin, doing my best impression of Voldemort. If I could say one thing to the Transformers team it would be, thank you. Thank you for making such a poor example of an action film. Thank you for making Harry Potter look so good.