Transformers: Dark of the Moon review

The Game

‘More than meets the eye’ is not a term I would use for this part-transforming summer blockbuster, where half of it explodes on-screen like Michael Bay and the other half goes down like a Go-Bot.

The Transformers movie tie-in series of games has been mediocre at best, and the third iteration is no different. Fuelled by the characters of the famous cartoon and film series, it’s the strength of this fandom that saves the game. The movie tie-in story and overall gameplay is lacklustre at best.

Storywise the game begins before the film’s action, with the Autobots attempting to sabotage the Decepticons with a virus and the latter retaliating by attacking human cities. Travelling across the world throughout various levels the player is given a number of objectives which don’t really connect to the film or have lasting effect on the story. Switching from the Autobot storyline to their foes should add some variety but fails.

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The controls feel smooth but are hampered by a terrible camera, and for a game which has a heavy focus on action – to mirror the explosive Michael Bay films – the stealth missions feel out of place and tedious. The voice acting is spot-on which is to be expected thanks to most of the film’s cast lending their talents, which includes some of the voice cast of the original cartoon series returning alongside some talented voice actors with years of experience. That said, I must state that Nolan North also provides vocal duties to this game; he’s the Samuel Jackson of video gaming only not as cool.

There’s really not much more that can be said about this game. It’s not very memorable and if you’ve played the first two in the series then you can rest easy knowing that you’re not missing out.

More than meets the ey- what the hell is that?!

The Film

Thank the Allspark! Having played the game before the movie I found myself worried that I’d not be entertained. I was so wrong… wrong in all three dimensions. After Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with its poorly judged comedic moments and swiss-cheese story Bay and his team of writers have managed to transform this film into something less comedic not to mention less focused on Megan Fox.

It begins with Optimus and the Autobots working with the US military to fight global threats by attempting to hunt down any trace of Cybertronian technology which would relate to Decepticon activity. This leads to a secretive operation in Chernobyl where the US military finds a piece of Cybertronian tech that – after a small Decepticon attack – the Autobots reveal to be part of a gateway system developed by the Autobots during the war for Cybertron (great game, by the way). This gateway technology was taken away by Sentinel Prime in a ship which was lost, only later revealed to have crashed on Earth’s moon and been discovered during the space race.

Angered by the American government withholding this secret of the moon, the Autobots travel to the lunar surface to explore the crashed ship – dubbed The Ark – where they find several more examples of the tech known as pillars along with the lost Autobot leader, Sentinel Prime. Upon returning to Earth Optimus revives Sentinel Prime with the Matrix of Leadership, followed by a far-fetched explanation as to how Cybertronian physics work compared to ‘our’ physics [Ed: I really shouldn’t be surprised that these films could be any more ludicrous]. After some stunning car chases and “Bay-splosions” we learn that Sentinel Prime has aligned himself with the Decepticons in order to rebuild Cybertron in a not-so-elaborate conspiracy with some treacherous humans.

Megatron and Sentinel Prime use the gateway technology to bring forth an army of Decepticons which briefly attack Washington – before the film cuts to the next scene leaving the audience to wonder where those Decepticons went after attacking the capitol of the USA. Flexing their robotic muscles, Megatron and Sentinel Prime demand that the Autobots leave Earth else more humans will die, forcing the American government to exile the Autobots aboard a rocketship. Moments after launch the rocket explodes, leading all to assume that the Autobots within were destroyed.

Optimus in his Prime.

Over in Chicago, Sam Witwicky is attempting to save his (new) girlfriend from a human conspirator and simultaneously throw a wrench into the Decepticons’ plans. And suddenly the Autobots return, with zero build up to this dramatic reveal, and team up with the remaining US military forces to stop the Decepticons’ plans of bringing Cybertron to Earth, constructed by an army of human slaves. There are no gravitational consequences to this, of course. After some slightly suspenseful moments and more action sequences the heroes win to little surprise and Optimus delivers an inspirational speech to warm our hearts before the credits roll.

Without a doubt the CG Transformers are the stars of the film which is why I mentioned the human characters as little as possible; honorable mentions to John Malkovich, however. The 3D truly adds extra depth to the film and brings the action sequences to an entirely different level of entertainment. This is the best 3D I’ve seen in a film since James Cameron’s Avatar.

My previously outlined theory continues to triumph with another good movie and bad game, much like Thor. The story is flawed and the dialogue is boring but the visuals make it worth a watch, unlike its video game counterpart which has neither the touch or the power.






11 responses to “Transformers: Dark of the Moon review”

  1. GordoP Avatar

    Good movie?

    1. Simon_Walker Avatar


  2. badgercommander Avatar

    What? With a plot line as nonsensical and stupid as that but with added Baysplosions and 3-D, I would fucking watch it in a heart beat. Mind you, I haven't watched the first two films.

    What the hell is John Malkovich in this film?

    My only criticism of the piece is that the game review needed to be longer!

    1. Kevin Avatar

      The game needed to be longer :( lol.

    2. GordoP Avatar

      John Malkovich was really the only redeeming aspect of the whole thing! The story was a whole load of nonsense!

      1. badgercommander Avatar

        @ Kevin – *badun-tish*
        @ Gordo – It is a Michael Bay Transformers film so it doesn't surprise me that everything is nonsense. However, after RED and now this, I want to see Malkovich stopn collecting pay cheques.

        1. ShaunCG Avatar

          You're still wrong about RED, but for the record in Dark of the Moon Malkovich goes through an inexplicable transformation from a cartoonishly intimidating boss who won't take no for an answer into a giggling retard lying on the floor pointing at a giant robot and all but touching himself.

          He does get chucked into a desk but I'm not sure how that resulted in his mental age retreating to that of a curious seven year old. Possibly this was a subquest subplot that ended up on the cutting room floor.

          My favourite bits of Dark of the Moon were one from Frances McDormand, who said of the Wreckers (gun-toting engineer-bot types) "We don't let them off the base much. They're assholes", and the bit where she or someone else described the Autobots as having the mindset of teenagers, which I thought was a fantastic analogy for the oeuvre of Michael Bay. The more carnage a character can cause, the more like an angry, horny and self-righteous teenage boy they are. It all fits!

          1. badgercommander Avatar

            Frances Mcdormand is in this film too! Oh dear.

            As for being 'Wrong' about RED. The only person who comes out of that not appearing utterly bland is the woman off of Weeds and even then she does a little too much overacting. Bruce Willis is utterly one note playing a muted version of the already muted John Mclane from Die Hard 4.0 (known as Live Free or Die Hard in North America). Morgan Freeman is basically Morgan Freeman again, unfortunately his character needs someone not being Morgan Freeman to play his part. John Malkovich is suitably crazy and has some good lines but otherwise he is in danger of becoming type cast as the 'crazy'. Helen Mirren is good but her part seems to oscilate way too much, one minute she is making jokes that are complete against the tone of the scene the next she is getting shot (and I swear it was some kind producer /screen test poll that changed her ending as it is utterly unconvincing and incoherent). Worst is that Brian Cox should not have played the Russian. I am tired of them getting English actors to play Russians too. We have enough good Russian actors already.

            RED wasn't just a bad film, it was a disappointing film with a cast as good as it was, it felt like everyone (except for possible Mirren and Louis Parker) were dialing in their performances. Oh yeah and it has fucking Karl Urban in it and I hate Karl Urban, that googly-eyed motherfucker.

          2. ShaunCG Avatar

            Given that RED is half a pastiche and half a parody of OTT 80s action flicks, it seems perfectly fitting to me that every actor plays a pastiche of their past roles. (Although I'm not sure that fits with Mirren as I don't recall seeing her in action films before. Of course, I am terrible at remembering actors and faces and names.) Before that occurred to me I too was thinking "man, this guy is pretending to be Russian again?!"

          3. badgercommander Avatar

            Was it though? I don't recall that ever being properly emphasised. Instead I had some very bland acting, some uninspiring set pieces and some so-so laughs.

            The 'new' film that Mirren is in looks much more interesting:

          4. ShaunCG Avatar

            I don't think it's necessary for something to be emphasised for it to submit to interpretation, though by the same token not everyone will read a film in a similar way. Evidently I enjoyed the action and humour rather more than you did, and that engaged me enough that I found myself thinking around ways to interact with the film on other levels. :)

            The Debt does sound potentially interesting, yeah.