Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

movie review

I was amused to read an interview with director Michael Bay last week in which he admitted that the second Transformers movie went off-track and assured fans that the third installment in the series was a return to form. Now that I’ve seen this 157-minute assault on the senses, I’m not sure if I agree: it’s like saying that the drilling you endured for your latest root canal wasn’t quite as painful as your last one.

The original Transformers wasn’t a great movie, but at least it started out as—

—fun, with Shia LaBeouf as a high-school student who discovers that his new yellow Camaro is actually an Autobot sent to earth to ward off evil Decepticons from their former planet.

In the new film, fun is not really part of the equation. It’s all deadly serious, an apocalyptic tale of war involving massive robots and human conspirators. Death and destruction are center stage in yet another Michael Bay call to arms, filled to the brim with military personnel barking orders at each other and going into attack mode. There are a few light moments here and there involving John Turturro’s screwy ex-CIA agent, LaBeouf’s well-meaning parents, and the series’ new babe, spunky, long-legged Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

But whatever fundamental story elements may exist at the core of Ehren Kruger’s screenplay, they are smothered by all the tumult and gobbledygook dialogue.

I almost never look at my watch during a movie, but I became so bored that I checked in at the two-hour mark, fearing that there was still more to come. Ironically, just around that time there is a massive action set-piece involving a damaged Chicago building that in any other context—in almost any other movie—would be a highpoint. Here it’s just another scene, very skillfully executed, in a monotonous parade of nonstop action.

I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon in IMAX 3-D and can report that the visual impact of this presentation is pretty potent. (In fact, the experience is exhausting.) I only wish what was happening onscreen wasn’t so dreary.


  1. Jack says:

    As someone who liked ALL 3 of the Transformers movies by Michael Bay, I found that there are worse reviewed movies from 2000-2011, here are some examples: Example 1: The Roommate (2011) and I Know Who Killed Me both movies which got worse reviews than DOTM was called not even 0000.0000000001% scary. At least some people who thought DOTM was not good explained that at least DOTM was more scary than The 2 movies I mentioned. Example 2: Freddy Got Fingered (2001) and Dirty Love (2005), they got worse reviews and were both called not funny.

  2. DodgerFan says:

    It’s priceless how the people here defending this film are trying to trash those are looking at it from an honest view. For those who just go to the movies to be entertained and have fun, the big problem was that this movie was absolutely neither. If you do take the Transformers series for what it is, you’ll see that at least the first one had a modicum (yes, that word is too much for some of you) of fun to it. Had this one advertised itself as being fun, maybe I would have accepted that. This one had some laughs in it, in that we’re laughing at how ridiculous it is.

  3. Dougj says:

    Long, but I was entertained, which is the one and only reason I go to a movie.

  4. Carl says:

    I just saw Revenge of the Fallen for the second time….. I now don’t want to see this one.

  5. Colin says:

    Nobody loved the transformers more than I did when I was a kid. I was in their target demographic when the cartoons first started out. And I ate it up. A couple of decades later, when the 1st movie was coming out, I went back and watched some of those old episodes. It didn’t take long to recognize what the cartoon actually was. A 19 minute-long commercial for the next toy. Almost every episode was about introducing a new character = a new toy. And after the new character had their moment in the sun, they’d fade into the background, to make room for more. Sometimes it made absolutely no sense at all, from a plot point of view. But that really didn’t matter. It was about pushing product. So anybody who hates on the movies for not living up to the standards set by the cartoon… they probably don’t remember the cartoon all that clearly. Take another look. You’ll see what I mean.

  6. Emily says:

    I’d just like to say that I walked into this movie for one reason: the autobots. Yes, the characters of Transformers are my childhood favorites. What’s strange about it is that I never saw myself as a ‘mecha’ fan (though it probably was just because of the horrible early 2000s CGI) but I find myself drawn to this franchise for the characters. So here I am, walking into the movie to watch my childhood characters come to life for the third time. I don’t care about the plot or the lack of a plot or the strange inconsistencies that play throughout the movie at all. In fact, I actually walked out of the movie halfway for a bathroom break with a headache from the 3D. I have watched the movies literally laughing at the fact that neither Megan Fox nor the new girl can ever seem to get any dirt on their face or their very skinny jeans, or Optimus Prime’s cheesy puns while battling, or the repetition of plot for all three movies (Prime always gets stuck or hindered in some way then gets saved/revived so he could defeat the enemy and end the movie with some random cheesy speech about humans and earth). Basically, the only thing I was there for was just to see Bumblebee and Optimus Prime in a realistic backdrop.

    What I’m trying to say is that it is true that Bay’s movies have a horrible plot filled with giant plotholes that a decepticon can fly through and an overly ‘patriotic’ point of view (earth is not just made up of the United States of America…), but some people who watch the movie are like me. We just want to see the autobots kick butt in real life. And that’s why no matter how bad the movies plots are, there are always going to be more Transformers movies.

    I do wish he could make a better plot, though.

  7. Danny says:

    Skip the first hour. Better than revenge (what isn’t!), bit still missed the point!!!!!!! Transformers …. Will we ever see a film based on them????

  8. Hardcore Nerd says:

    Micheal Bay is the Devil !!! Seriously stole the very soul of of something that had limitless possiblities . You killed jazz your a goof , you killed ironhide in a backtabb scene your a joke , you killed megatron in 20 seconds , made the ultimate villian a little bitch for 3 movies , I will never watch another movie with your name on it . plz god and studio execs find a director who actually cares about the film their making or at least one with talent .

  9. DB says:

    Just saw the movie and I walked out after sitting through one hour of this crappy, racist, sexist, mindless movie. It’s painfully obvious that Bey is not a Democrat or a person who does not mind displaying his dislike anything other than stereotypes and girls in short skirts. What a waste.

  10. David says:

    This movie sucked! There were a few hilarious parts (like John Turturro’s getting ready to come back, which was so pathetic it had us in stitches for 5 straight minutes), but the characters werent believable, the robots (both sides) were pretty much a collage of racial stereotypes, and there was way too much boring stuff for long stretches of time. Shia Lebeauf looked pathetic trying to be a tough guy, Rosie had a cute ass but nothing else, and I want my money back. Megan Fox wasnt any better. This series is over, and Michael Bay should try watching his own movies to see how predictably awful they are.

  11. Furinto says:

    To the people who are complaining that Leonard is too busy trying to find out the meaning of life instead of enjoying the movie: Did you even read the review? He didn’t say a single thing about the movie not being enlightening enough; he clearly said that it was not a fun experience. You can argue about how Leonard defines “fun” but you cannot say that he went into the movie expecting it to be deeper than it really was.

  12. OmegaTron says:

    Too many useless HUMAN characters – goofy humour and poor script! I thought It was Transformers!!!!

    Just because it’s large robots doesnt mean it has to be 2 hours of garbage because its entertainment! Look at Dark Knight for example. You got to know the Joker/Dent etc

    In Transformers you dont learn any of the characters, Im glad this franchise is over. If its ever re-booted PLEASE DO IT RIGHT…Go watch the 1986 movie and you’ll see what I mean!

    Decepticons Retreat

  13. Tory says:

    I have only seen the first one and while I did like a bit of it I was mostly disappointed. The creators of this film only like the concept of giant robots that can look like vehicles fighting in cities, causing mayhem. This is not an accurate portrayal of the cartoon or the comic. Sure the initial concept is cool and mindblowing to a kid but the actual characters are what held my and other kids attention, it was a combination and the characters are not portrayed right, except Optimus Prime. These robots oh the cartoons heroic, villainous and comedic personalities were complimented by bright colors, distinctive looks for each character and there was a sort of hope in it too. It is hard to explain and I know many people want to degrade 80s cartoons as things to just sell toys, but they weren’t. We could see that but we could also see through that. A good film series about these would be bright and colorful and would be about the character that are the robots, their troubles, they are stranded here, they are at war, they want to bring peace or they want to make war, they think they could be the better leader, they are double agents. I can not tell one robot from another here, I can’t even tell their faces are faces,

  14. FM says:

    157 minutes!

  15. Jim Reinecke says:

    So, Beck (at least you did manage to work the shift key in order to capitalize your name. . .Good job!): Exactly what school did you attend that doesn’t teach punctuation and capitalization? If this sort of arrested communicative development is characteristic of the target audience for Mr. Bay and his questionable product then you’re constructing a rather powerful argument against the further production of such junk. And, as for you, Nick, all I can say is “Don’t let me stop you!”

  16. Mark says:

    Easy paycheck aside, what the hell is the acting genius Frances McDormand doing in this no doubt visually arresting drivel? Hmm…I going to see it anyway, if only to see the few moments where I know she classes up the joint!

  17. Joseph Blackberry says:

    Transformers 3 was a really poor movie. Lots of booring stuff and no real sense. How is it that Sentinel Prime almost kill Prime and Megatron reduces Sentinel to ashes and Prime kill Sentinel and Megatron. Looks like the WWW Wrestling Champion Ship. Poor Movie. Shia looks like an old man. No young kid any more.. Poor special effects. The first and second movie had fans off there seats, but this one made me sleep 15 minutes after it started. Poor totoaly poor. Rating Minus zero

  18. ray0923 says:

    Listen to my advice and go see this movie.Y will not regret:
    1. Just watch spoilers for the storyline about the first one and a half hours;
    2.Skip the first one and a half hour and doing something useful like sleeping;(my point is that reading the story is way better than watching the rollercoastering story telling)
    3.Watch the technique feat during the last hour.

  19. Gee34 says:

    I loved Transformers as a kid. Still have a copy of the animated “Transformers The Movie” from the 80s. And these movies are still stupid. BTW, folks talking about nostalgia: what exactly are you nostalgic about? Optimus doesn’t look like Optimus, Bumblebee doesn’t at all resemble Bumblebee. I’m not sure why he couldn’t craft a storyline after the first movie that didn’t include that unbearable whiny Shia Lewhatever.

    Anyone who was into Transformers in the 80s must have grown up considerably by now. Wouldn’t a non-retarded storyline and narrative not be something you’d like in a series? Stop acting as though we should be grateful that Bay made a Transformers movie at all.

  20. Bocoe says:

    I saw the 2nd Transformers on television and I did not understand it one bit, I realize that I was not alone in this. I do know that T2 was a long drawn out movie. After reading this review, I know it could only be down hill after T2.

  21. beck says:

    Hey Marcus its called personal opinion and who gives you the right to dictate what other people like and i am willingly to bet you didnt like the other ones so why go to this one.

  22. Marcus says:




    I, Really Wanted to give this movie a chance,

    but after, the two-hour mark,

    I Was On My Way Home,

    Relived That My Pain Was Over,

    But, Saddened For The Mindless

    Torture That Was Raping

    And Assaulting The Audience

    Left Behind!








  23. Beck says:

    if you dont understand transformers or like the cartoons or anything about transformers just dont go watch it. you wont get it and i have never liked any movies that the critics say is the best movies so if you have never like transformers go spend your money on a different movie and let the ones that do like transformers enjoy these movies.

  24. Jimmy says:

    I have to say after watching this movie, I really expected more of the movie but was not the least bit surprised that I was disappointed. There are rarely few movies I watch and say I’m glad this thing is over. I thought the movie was WAY too long, and vastly INCOHERENT in all aspects plot, action, and I’m sure they could have come up with something better than Meagan Fox’s character just dumping him and that’s all the explaining you need, no I don’t think so after what you went through together in the first two movies. In saying all that I must admit the movie was at least entertaining and that’s all you can really ask from a movie.

  25. hoodhermit says:

    Leonard or not, the message is clear. Why over extend a movie, over do the explosions, undermine the heart, the script and the humor?
    Mr. Bay has not found the way of turning a big budget into a good entertaining picture. Strike 3!
    All the loud bombast does not compensate for entertainment and moviegoer involvement. Didn’t Steven sit through these movies before they were released? He should be the editor for god’s sake. Lesson not learned from the last one. I also fell asleep in this one. My 11 year old son came out dizzy and deaf but thought it was cool.
    Like with all Bay’s films, it could have been better if half were left on the cutting floor.

  26. Mark Whelan says:

    Leonard doesn’t understand Transformers and he never will. That’s fine, this movie isn’t for him. I had a great time watching my favorite Autobots fight the evil Decepticons. It brought out the kid in me. Most reviewers do not share the nostalgia affiliated with what Bay and Spielberg are doing with these films. If you love Transformers, as I do, objectivity and comprehension are merely trivial.

  27. Nick says:

    It’s called entertainment. I’m not sure what exactly you’re expecting out of movies…Honestly, I think people are taking things way too seriously. It’s supposed to be a fun couple of hours, not some epic life-changing experience. If you’re going to the movies for that, how about going to the doctor’s instead, since you clearly have something wrong with your head.

    I just saw it tonight. It liked it. Sure, it was a lot of big moving machines, explosions, the works. But I enjoyed myself. No, it didn’t change my life, but it was entertaining. A bit lengthy and I was getting sick of sitting, other than that I don’t regret it.

    Sure, go ahead and think I’m an idiot for liking it (yes, I *do* only go to the movies to entertain myself for a bit), but all that tells me is you’re even more ignorant than you make others out to be as you make it sound like your reasons alone determine what makes a good movie, and imply that anyone who feels different is below you. You’re much too arrogant for your own good.

    Trust me, I feel like stabbing myself when I watch some of the things people claim to be “good”.

  28. jeffrey says:

    10/10 a great movie…

  29. Chris Holowicki says:

    I was glad I saw it in 3D, but this movie was driving me crazy, my eyes started hurting 90min in. They could have easily edited out like half this thing. I don’t regret seeing it, but I also wanted to like just leave after a certain point lol. I wish one of these films would do an iota of character development on the friggin robots! I DON’ T CARE ABOUT SHIA LABOOF! I go to a movie about space robots and half the thing is about some asshole overacting! come on! I’m just gonna watch Transformers Beast Wars next time they do one of these…

  30. TheTvMan says:

    I am not sure why these critics bother with Bay films as they slight whatever work he does. Oh well, Lucas was never really accepted either and look where that got him.

  31. Rob says:

    I have just seen the movie in IMAX 3D with my two sons aged 12 and 8.

    They sat spellbound for 2 hours plus as their senses were attacked.

    Sure it wasn’t a great movie from a dialogue point of view, but Sheakespeare didn’t have 3D and green screen so he had to rely on acting and characterisation.

    The film is for kids and for big kids like me who like watching movies with their kids !

    Critics read too much into the popcorn movies of today and should sit in the dark analysing their art house favouries more.

  32. OniniKanabo says:

    My friend and I just got out of the theater…we left 25 minutes into the film….once the little Asian guy did that tongue thing with his drink, and dropped his pants to reveal his notes on alien activity on the moon I looked at my friend and said “wanna go for a two hour smoke break?” I couldn’t stand the lack of direction, awful dialogue, blatant “AMERCA!!” attitude, and asinine motives of the decepticons. TYRANNY IS NOT A MOTIVE!!! Control, power, greed, lust, love, revenge, justice etc. are motives, but not tyranny. Last night I saw the extended edition of LotR “The Return of the King.” To all of the Untermenschen out there who think the transformers series is a passable piece of film making i propose you go and watch “little Big Man,” LotR trilogy, “Kagemusha,” or “North by Northwest.”

  33. Brian says:

    I want to see what kind of rating Leonard gives this, too. I was very disappointed when he gave “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” a ** rating instead of a BOMB. I hope he gives this new one a BOMB. It makes his annual movie guide more worth waiting for.

  34. r. oliver says:

    It’s time to put this Transformers crap to sleep, no more, Please.

  35. Jim Reinecke says:

    I’ll give Leonard’s devotion to his job, above and beyond the call of duty, **** for sitting through this celluloid landfill. I would have probably resorted to some of my childhood methods of showing displeasure with a movie like playing “Yankee Doodle” on a Snocaps box or perhaps resorting to taking on the roles of Joel, Tom Servo and Crow on “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (personal opinion here, but STILL the funniest show in TV history). Give yourself a much-deserved break, Leonard—go see “Midnight in Paris” again!

  36. Michael says:

    The First Transformers was a truly great critics are so damn pretentious their is a reason no one takes their reviews seriously.

  37. Jack says:

    I need the rating because I am curious.

  38. Norm says:

    Different aspects change the way the picture is rated.Maltin appeared to give the film less than 2 points. So while the visual impact of the film was over the top, the screenplay was poo-poo. Sometimes more is less, and this appears to be the case. Leonard should have posted his rating.

  39. MDL says:

    Why do you need a rating? Pretty trivial don’ t you think? I mean, you can read that he didn’t much like it. His words are more important than a rating because they explain what he didn’t like about it.

  40. Robert says:

    If i know Leonard like i think i do, he gave it 1.1/2.

  41. Jack says:

    Is your rating for Transformers 3 a BOMB rating, or a different rating? Either way, can you tell me your rating? Thanks.

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