An alien MacGuffin is once again employed to somehow motivate the Autobots upon their endless war against the ravaging Decepticons. Even with the entire might of the United States Armed Forces and Homeland Security on the side of the Autobots, it is up to young Sam (Shia LaBeouf, who is systematically desecrating my childhood) to help his transforming friends reach the moon spacecraft first. Apparently, this means he must do a whole lot of yelling.
Ridiculous supporting characters played by graceful and worthy actors (Frances McDormand and John Malkovich!) are wheeled onto the set only to be yanked away from the story entirely, suggesting that their inclusions are overly whimsical and completely irrelevant. Kevin Dunn and Julie White reprise their unrealistic roles as Sam’s parents, Ron and Judy, for no reason whatsoever in regards to the overall story structure.
And Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is probably already running back to the catwalk due to early criticisms about her newly developed “acting” abilities. Yes, her portrayal of Sam’s new girlfriend Carly is laughable and absurd. But to single her out for this apocalyptic mess would be like trying to blame Watergate solely on H. R. Haldeman. Let’s get back to the Richard Nixon responsible for this travesty.
Through the years, Bay has apparently learned nothing about the importance of skillful editing or fundamental choreography of action. Watching one of his action sequences is like listening to a six-year-old make up a story as he goes along. None of the action reflects the slightest interest or focus on strategy.
There are enough missiles fired and bullets shot into the air to make Afghanistan look like a playground. Explosions, gunshots, more clips of Shia yelling, someone goes flying through the air, a robot beheads another robot, was it a good robot or a bad robot? Doesn’t matter, because we’re on to the next explosion. More gunshots. More shots of Shia yelling. Now he’s yelling while flying through the air. More explosions. And how is it possible for rocks to burst into flame like that?
Bay and his obedient team of production yes-men appear to have put a ton of effort towards making these battle sequences appear dramatic and realistic. But despite their best efforts, these scenes are exhausting instead of interesting. No matter how many buildings are destroyed or bodies are blown into the atmosphere, there is no emphatic impact felt by the audience members, who are mercilessly held hostage to watch this entire debacle at a punishing 153 minutes.
The first two installments of this doomed series were at least tolerable due to the fact that we got to watch Megan Fox handle the hideous dialogue and improbable storyline with her trademark seduction. His failure to acknowledge his female star’s power and importance in this over hyped franchise is still yet greater evidence of Michael Bay’s inability to competently undertake the role of a film director.
According to LaBeouf, his former co-star compared the trendy mullet-headed director to Hitler because she “never got comfortable” with Bay’s style of filming “women in a way that appeals to 16-year-old sexuality.” LaBeouf also said, “When Mike would ask her to do specific things, there was no time for fluffy talk. We’re on the run. And the one thing Mike lacks is tact.”
Well, you’re wrong a couple of times there, Shia. There is plenty of fluffy talk. It’s all over the script. Maybe you couldn’t hear it over the horrendously cheesy music on the soundtrack (at times, the movie feels like an afterschool episode of “Dawson’s Creek”). And Michael Bay does not lack one thing; they are several. The ability to direct his young actors to portray believable characters with developing story arcs is only one of them.