Original review featured on The Doha Film Institute website.
The threequel (the third instalment in a series/trilogy) in the Transformers franchise, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ hit cinemas in Doha last night! Following ‘Transformers’ in 2007 and ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ in 2009, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ finds Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) just graduated from university and under pressure from his parents to find a job. He is taking his frustrations out on his girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), but it looks like things are about to take a turn for the worse when past mysterious events threaten to bring war to earth, and the transformers alone won’t be able to save us…
‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ takes us back in time to 1961, when a spacecraft known as The Ark landed on the dark side of the moon. It carried the Pillars: technology that could save the Cybertronians once and for all. On earth, the crash of The Ark is detected by NASA, and US President John F. Kennedy authorises the mission to send a man to the moon. In 1969, Apollo 11 finally lands on the surface of the moon, and men are sent to collect samples from The Ark.
Years later, the Autobots have formed a military alliance with the United States of America. During a mission in Chernobyl at the request of the Ukrainian government, Optimus Prime discovers a fuel cell from The Ark that the Soviet Union attempted to use as a power source, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster. Optimus is devastated at the news that humans lied to the Autobots and launches his own mission to retrieve the Pillars, which hold technology with the means to establish a mobile spacebridge between two points, and the ability to transport matter through. Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand), the Secretary of Defence, is worried about this revelation, as she feels that the Pillars could be used to bring an invading army to earth.
It seems that we are having a sci-fi summer this year! Technology is ruling the theatres in Doha, with recent releases such as ‘Super 8’ and ‘Green Lantern’, and now ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ – yet another sci-fi film with Steven Spielberg attached as a producer. As much as I am excited about it, I have to admit that I am slightly disappointed in what the future of sci-fi may become. It seems we are dragged along with the promise of magnificent ideas that are focused on the greatest of effects, but which leave behind a real human experience. In a way, the balance is absent.
The visual effects are stunning: again, there is an amazing intro into space, an accepted interpretation of history and a little bit of Kennedy. I am more inclined towards the robotic persona, and honestly I’ve had it with human beings superiority over all other species: let the robots be, I say! We’ve created these characters, we love them, and we need to keep them closer to us.
Transformers, in all their characteristics, are visually and emotionally engaging. I only wish there had been more of them, and slightly less of the fight scenes. 157 minutes of constant speedy cuts and fast editing can be tiring. For me, the truth is that half of it was lost in the endless battles, waiting for an action climax that was more exhausting than pleasurable. It’s like a big salad filled with excellent elements, but without the right topping.
Even though ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ was released in 3D, the three dimensional scenes were not what I’d expect. But, seeing a full house on a late night says a lot about the passion we humans have for these transformers, and while it may seem like I’m being slightly harsh on the film, I have to admit that, at the end of the day, I did enjoy it. I’m sure you will too, so make sure you catch it this weekend!