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Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon

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Mark Kermode | 12:12 UK time, Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's been two years since the last Transformers movie and now Michael Bay has delivered the latest film in the franchise - is this one going to give me a headache ? You can see my review here in 3D (well nearly)

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  • Comment number 1.

    Hahah, excellent Mark!

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh dear... I feel a rant coming on Friday... (YAY!)

  • Comment number 3.

    You'll need tylenol-4 for that Mark. And lots of it.

  • Comment number 4.

    So you enjoyed this one then?

  • Comment number 5.

    Superb Mark.
    Roll on Friday's wittertainment where I expect we'll have a rant to rival such classics as Sex & The City 2, Angels & Demons, and Eat, Pray, Love, Vomit.

    This film will now be officially known as t-RANT-sformers.

    I can't wait.

  • Comment number 6.

    I do hope that Mark will be fit enough to contribute to Friday's programme. I fear that he will be on live stream wearing a neck brace and spaced out on painkillers. That all looked extremely painful! An emergency course of acupuncture may be required. As to a rant coming on...well we have all learnt that when you want one you never get one. Maybe we will just have to look forward to that "i'm not angry...i'm just disappointed" phrase!

  • Comment number 7.

    Cancel the Wimbledon coverage, we're going to need the full two hours for this rant. I can't wait.

  • Comment number 8.

    That's one way to mess up one's quiff! Oh dear, I feel a rant.

  • Comment number 9.

    Dear Dr. K

    It would seem that you and Michael Bay can agree on at least one thing:

  • Comment number 10.

    RED HERRING ALERT EVERYBODY. Dr. Kermode loved it I reckon. I enjoyed Transformers but Revenge of the Fallen was a load of (swinging metal) balls. After all of Bay 7 Labeouf's admission that ROTF was a mess, surely Dark of the Moon will get back to basics? Surely? Please?

  • Comment number 11.

  • Comment number 12.

    Nothing like a Kermodian rant, even an non-verbal one. Gives us a good idea of how bad this movie is. This review is going to be good (or soooo bad really) that it's enough to disturb the quiff. I can't wait til Friday's Wittertainment. Can I stand the antici...........................................................................................pation until then? I hope so. ;-D

  • Comment number 13.

    Aw. I'm sure the film will be a piece of trash but everytime a critic, whether it be armchair or professional, has a dig at Michael Bay, it just makes me want to like him even more. Good on him I say, for sticking to his ridiculously oversized CG-enhanced guns.

  • Comment number 14.

    Did he died? (Yes, this should do nicely as my very first comment.)

  • Comment number 15.

    I think we can see where this is going...

  • Comment number 16.

    If you really hated it you would have given it 30.

  • Comment number 17.

    Would you like to hear what my 8 year old nephew thinks of Inception:

    "This is boring"

    Would you like to hear what my 8 year old nephew thinks of Transformers 1 and 2:

    "This is amazing!"

  • Comment number 18.

    The sound effects of Mark bashing his head caused my Pomeranian dog to bark hysterically and run outside as if we were under attack. The other time Mark made my dog bark hysterically and run outside was when he impersonated Gwynneth Paltrow.

  • Comment number 19.

    The hype for this possible Kermodian rant is now off the charts! This could be bigger and better than the Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and the Sex and the City 2 reviews combined. This film could be monumental in the simple fact that it has created the greatest ever reaction from our favourite film critic. I have goosebumps.

  • Comment number 20.

    Just watched this film at a staff screening. i would rather go through the frustration of being put in prison for a crime i did not commit and to feel the heartache of all my friends, family and society disowning me, then to ever have to watch THAT! film again. i work at a cinema and i don't think i will be able to handle the fact that people are going to spend £14 on seeing this film, it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. It might be one of those situations where i'm willing to risk my job, to not just discourage people from seeing this film but physically stopping them from seeing this film by blockading cinema doors and sabotaging projectors.
    I've read some other comments here and i'm worried that a rant on your show might have an adverse effect and people might want to see what all the fuss is about and want to see if it really is that bad. i therefore urge that you don't even speak about it, don't even give it the dignity of being mentioned or simply just state its terrible and that is all that needs to be said and maybe start up the charity 'Give the £14 you were planning to spend on transformers to comic relief' something like that.

    also i am aware of the contradiction in me stating to not talk about transformers and then talking about it.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think this film is going to suck like a Dyson and am looking forward to a good, solid rant from Doctor K.

  • Comment number 22.

    You know, if the BBC blew several million dollars filming that review, increased the screen time to 2 hours, dressed Mark up in mechanical spare parts from a scrapyard, and we lit it just right and added lots of CG special effects and explosions and perhaps got Michael Bay to direct it... that would make an awesome summer action blockbuster release!
    [lights blue touchpaper, retreats to safe distance]

  • Comment number 23.

    Made me laugh, made me laugh. haha You know, there was an animated movie made about the Transformers in 1986 which was good, if I remember correctly.

    It's a lot better than any of Michael Bay's efforts in any case. Sorry, Michael but they're just not very good. :(

  • Comment number 24.

    Saw this last night, and it is just horrific. It's Loud, expensive, stupid and just Dull. Michael Bay needs to stop making films he is a hack, Shia ley-beef needs to stop acting and Christopher Nolan needs to take over the franchise.

  • Comment number 25.

    One slight flaw, I noticed the suggestion of a narrative in that piece.
    Otherwise excellent.

  • Comment number 26.

    Michael Bay : "Mark, I can understand you're very upset."
    Kermode : "Mr. Bay, you've never seen me very upset."

  • Comment number 27.

    Between now and Friday have a lie down, take some Nurofen (or some other branded painkiller) and make a brew. It's obvious after all that headbanging you'll have a migraine, and by the way, what did the cammeraman ever do to you, to threathe his valuable BBC lenses like that. Dear oh dear.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why folks dont just take it easy and enjoy the spectacular effects and eye-candy (Megan/Rosie) and get over it, stop complaining about the story or rather the lack of it, not every movie has to be a 'Inception' and work your brain, take it as a visual treat - enjoy it with the pop-corn - no point in spending money and then pounding your head just to show that you deserve noursihment for your intelligence every time you visit a theatre and were betrayed...they would handing out Oscars by the dozen if this was the case...
    ROTF rocked and so will DOTM

  • Comment number 29.

    He's not worth it Kermode,He's not worth it.

    michael bay = glorified porn director.

  • Comment number 30.

    Best review ever! Actually all that headbutting, industiral noise and quiff action looks like a Shinya Tsukamoto movie! Tetsuo: The Iron Ted! There's more invention in a single atom of grain that makes up one of his films than in the entire Michael Bay filmography put together.

  • Comment number 31.

    Don't know what took more of a battering there - the camera or Mark's quiff...

  • Comment number 32.

    Best review over.

    I'm still gonna watch it. Cant possible be any worse than the last one. apparently the 3D has forced Bay to stop throwing his camera around as much as he does his actors/robots, so maybe we'll actually get to see whats happening this time.

  • Comment number 33.

    Now hold on people.
    I think this will get a notice as per "POTC4".
    It's just not worth it. No ranting reqd.
    Basically, there's nothing more to be said on the subject after T2 really is there?

  • Comment number 34.

    I was not planning to see this anyway, regardless of Mr K's regard or not. Is anyone else sick to death of the bombarding advertising for the *cough* film. It plays throughout the 4OD programmes, it's a top trend topic on Twitter, it is everywhere you look. Ergh.

    So annoying.

    And I wouldn't have thought it was possible for an actress to be as utterly useless as underwear model R whateverhername is. Even the trailer makes her look bad.

  • Comment number 35.

    Soo.. another 2+ hours of "PHWOAR!!!.. EH? EH?"

  • Comment number 36.

    I am about to save anyone who hasn’t seen it two and a half precious hours of your life.

    I honestly thought Dark of the Moon was supposed to be an apology to the awful second film. It’s not worse but it is just as bad. Really bad. Here are some pointers as to why it is so bad:

    1: The plot is so convoluted and incoherent I would think that your average ten year old will come out of the screen with forced Autism. I always think I’m a bit cine-illiterate when I can’t follow plots but I can hold my head up high here. It’s a mess.

    2: The acting is dreadful. We all know Megan Fox wasn’t the best actress in the world and that she was only in the films for eye candy but the stand in, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is so earth shatteringly bad that she makes Megan Fox look like Meryl Streep. I simply can’t believe Bay and Spielberg thought she was acceptable. Every time she opened her mouth it completely takes you out of the movie. Even Optimus looked embarrassed.

    3: Dear Michael Bay. TRANSFORMERS is essentially a kids film based on a range of toys. Why do you have to sexualise EVERYTHING? The first time we meet Sam’s new girlfriend it is a close up shot of her arse in panties. Inappropriate? YES. Also, seeing as it’s a kids film it really shouldn’t contain so much swearing. Parents will not be happy.
    4: It was the longest two and a half hours of my adult life. Why is it SO LONG? It’s painful. This film needs to be 90 minutes long. Actually, if Bay took out all the slo-mo shots it would be 90 minutes. Agonising.

    5: The 3D made me feel sick 30 minutes in. I swear on my mother’s life I will never see another film in 3D again.

    6: You still can’t tell what is going on during the action sequences. At all.

    7: Why do the TRANSFORMERS get out of breath and feel pain? Stupid.

    8: Why do the older TRANSFORMERS have grey hair and beards. I’m not kidding.


    I could go on and on. To make things worse, in front of me sat a 30 something Harry Knowles clone who fast clapped everytime something “cool” happened. He was an embarrassing giddy abomination who at one point yelled “GO BUMBLEBEE!” at the screen. I’m not normally a violent person but…….


  • Comment number 37.

    In your rant I need impressions, hand waving, shouting, desk banging, screaming and anything else you do while you rant. Thanks =)

  • Comment number 38.

    To paraphrase one of my favourite Dr K quotes - "Whats that in the distance... is it chair... a bench? no its Dyer Ley-Beef and Dozy Bluntingdon-Whiteley embracing in a a kiss..."

    @36 You could go on but I shall

    10. The script is god awful, I mean the dialogue belongs to something like Saved By The Bell. I mean the bit where Dozy Bluntington-Whiteley "disses" Megatron in his face I swear I died a little.

    11. Shame on you Frances McDormand - Your Husband should divorce you on the spot and ban you from his future films for .. at least a couple of years. Either that or you better buy him something nice with your ill-gotten payslip.

    12. Shame on you John Malkovich - lending your fine talents to this dross

    13. Not only can you not see what is going but, and I dont know if it was just me but there were a tone of new Robots who weren't even given a name or introduction and there was a Ferrari that turns into a robot and talks with an Italian accent... again I think I died a little.

    Any takers to go on to 20?

  • Comment number 39.

    The actors (if you call them that after this mess) deserve all the critiscm they get,along with M.Bay.

    One thing that really REALLY grates me watching M.Bay films is his degrading,derogatory and denigrating opinion on woman Actress's/Actors and there roles in said films.
    God I hope/prey he retires/quits or Hollywood wakes up and thinks"are we paying this guy?"

  • Comment number 40.

    As i'll be at work between 12 and 1 friday i wont be able to watch the live stream. Could you please post the video of this review on youtube, as i would'nt want to miss the review that finally pushes mark over the edge.

  • Comment number 41.

    14: I swear at one point a cockney Autobot calls another a "w*****r"

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry, take a * out of that word.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have yet to see any of this franchise BUT I kinda guess they have forgotten the original tag line of the TV series, which summed up the simple ethic which (to my mind) was the secret to it's success first time round.

    'Transformers - robots in disguise'

  • Comment number 44.

    Inception is rated 12A, why was an eight year-old watching it? I love that film but it's hardly for kids.

    Putting that aside, what a brilliant way to describe not only how it felt watching the film but what the film sounded like - CLANK CLANK CLANK...

  • Comment number 45.

    Must EVERY movie be what you'd call an "ideas" movie, Doc? Many young people out there will love the film, and what's wrong with that? If nothing else, the Transformers movies are undeniable visual achievements. Kick back for once!

  • Comment number 46.

    I think I've finally figured out why those robots spend so much time in disguise... they've become self-aware and appearing in dross like this makes them ashamed.

  • Comment number 47.

    3D? Well, thank god it wasn't a William Castle film. What lengths would Dr K. have gone to in a review with seats hard wired for electricity?

  • Comment number 48.

    Right you lot . . . I LIKED IT!! A LOT!!!

    I saw this film last night, and as a Transformers fanboy, I liked it. Not as much as the first, but an improvement on the second (which I still liked anyway). It could have been better - but then so can plenty of things in life.

    I went to see a film in which there would be huge CGI created battles of transforming robots smashing seven bells of heck out of each other, and I was not disappointed. The plot was so-so, the acting variable, but the action . . . tremendous!!

    I love Dr K's reviews & work over the years, BUT . . . I personally can't take his opinion of this film seriously, critically speaking. Ditto most of the comments on this blog (he says generalising).

    Why? Let me list for you . . .

    1) He doesn't like Michael Bay films. He doesn't like Transformers films. He doesn't like 3D. He doesn't like Shia Laboeuf. Therefore, a number of his filmic prejudices would be stoked before entering the cinema.

    2) If you fundamentally don't like something, to the point of despising it - which appears to be the case here - you are never going to be converted. It's not the same as not having an interest in the subject matter - you may be open minded. Dr K always says he enters every film with an open mind . . . sorry, I simply do not believe him. Remember, he gave Skyline a reasonable (not great) review, when everyone else kicked it. Ditto Battle LA, which was hardly critcally loved. This is those on a far, far bigger scale . . . but it gets far, far more ire. Why, apart from the scale?

    3) For all you commenting on here : if you thought it was going to be rubbish, and in your mind it is . . . WHY DID YOU GO TO SEE IT?!? Apart from taking kids (fair enough) you have no defense!! It's Mark's job, so again, fair enough for him.

    4) If you haven't seen it and are slating it - you are basing your review on your own preconceptions (fair enough) and the review of someone who was 99% likely to never give it a decent review (i.e. Mark - I am aware that other reviews are available, some of them vaguely positive). So is your comment a valid one? Can it be? If you don't want to see it, then don't!! I have no interest in the Twilight or Harry Potter films - they are simply not my sort other thing (sick to death of vampires in the media, just don't like the HP films ). But I can't call them bad, because I haven't SEEN them out of choice. So why should this been different?

    I'm sure the rant will be entertaining, and I'm sure that my view will be shot down by many. But if you want to see it, see it because you want to, because you know what to expect, then go make up your own mind, good or bad. While I never thought Mark would give it a mediocre (never mind good or better) review, he has at least seen it. What's the point in going to see it just to blast it?

    And Dr K . . . before you bash the film for just being giant robots hitting each other (a phrase used more than once) . . . THAT'S WHAT IT IS ULTIMATELY ABOUT!!!!!!!!

    Bring it on . . . I'm seeing it again Friday!!

  • Comment number 49.

    PS on point 3) above, I'm addressing those of you who have seen the film. Oops on my part!!

  • Comment number 50.

    May i suggest we replace the words `Alan Smithie directs` to `Michael Bay directs `for those films not worthy of even a Smithie credit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Bayhem messed with the quiff. The quiff's gonna go into meltdown mayhem.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm a fan of the original Transformers animated movie. It's story line was great, the animation and voices were great and so was the music. I watched the first bay transformers, and i thought it was ok, the script was naff and the shots of the robots fighting were too close to tell what was going on. I didn't bother seeing the second because of the bad reviews. I was going to see this film, but reluctant to after all the bad reviews.

  • Comment number 53.

    The point of it is that it wouldn't really matter so much if they hadn't spent something in the region of a quarter of a billion dollars on something so entirely empty and so thoroughly mediocre. I saw it last night - and in 3D since that is apparently how it was shot, although to no effect - and it is abysmal.

    I suspect that Rosie Thingy was hired as a further snub to Megan Fox - bad enough that she's been written out of the franchise in just one line of dialogue, but to replaced by someone this desperately poor must have been a deliberate gesture to put Megan in her place.

    I scribbled a so-called review:

  • Comment number 54.

    I read that Steven Spielberg had Megan Fox written out after her comments comparing Bay to Hitler.

    I saw the first trailer for this and felt it was too loud and had this terrible feeling that the film was a complete mess.

    Giant robots are inherently awesome, so why are the Transformers films so bad?

  • Comment number 55.

    The Romper Stomper/Terminator review technique

  • Comment number 56.

    At the fourth installment he will commit a 3D!!

  • Comment number 57.

    Come on Mark you can do better than that. It's like the blockbuster family sci-fi/fantasy genre never existed before.

    If Mr. Kermode wasn't such a secret Michael Bay fan he wouldn't do this...he simply can't handle that some films can just be finely crafted but purely 'enjoyment aimed'. Don't feel dirty just because you enjoy the film, it's sumptuously..visually realised, and just 'fun'. Yes. 'just' fun. The effort (and money) involved in making the film for the worlds movie going families, children and guy on the street, isn't wasted because its 'only' a robot movie.

    Get over the fact that Michael Bay is one of the biggest names in hollywood, and direct your energy towards a big name Director that deserves to be reminded that they ain't 'all that' Michael Mann, Brian De Palma, or Oliver Stone. Or why branding a film a 'Jerry Bruckheimer Production' doesn't = quality.

    Picking on Michael Bay is just too obvious.

    And what of the general lack of heart or spirit in Hollywood films these days...isn't Michael Bay still doing what others can't? Bringing out a polished, gargantuan crowd-pleaser, like no other 'Name' could?

    A Kurmode Uncut fan. ;)

  • Comment number 58.

    You know, there's one thing which amuses me when we get a movie which is treated like this one has by the critics. It's the third film in a series of films, each of which most of them have panned. The first two took ungodly amounts of money at the box office.
    If your purpose, as a critic, is meant to be to tell us whether or not we are likely to enjoy a movie, surely it is sensible to suppose that by the third film the audience knows what to expect? No-one who enjoyed ROTF is going to read a panning by someone who panned that movie and say "Oh, he must be right this time, I'll skip that movie then."
    Surely the way to go, if you actually want your review to be useful to anybody, is to ask the simple questions- what is this movie trying to do, and does it do it? I've read and heard many valid criticisms of this film already, but they came from people who went into it with a solid view of what they were looking for.
    If you actually care about this movie- if you grew up with the toys, the cartoon, the animated movie- then rather than waste time with the views of jaded pseuds, read the reviews on sites like AICN. Multiple viewpoints, the good points and the bad points. In short, actual reviews, rather than anti-Bay and anti-3D ranting.
    And BTW, don't take this as me having a go at the Doc here. I'll happily value his opinion on movies that are in his sphere, but this is quite clearly not one of them.

  • Comment number 59.

    No, it is true not every film has to work your brain, but it still has to be good.

    I very much enjoyed the first, slept through the second, but this one, oh now this one actually brought me to the point of muscle cramping anger. A few minutes before the end I truly reached the point of breaking, and just took of my sunglasses and said "I'm done".

    I have been ranting everywhere about this awful thing since I saw it last night, it still makes me angry.

    The only way I would expect anything but the most impressive of rants from the good doctor this week, would be that his expectations are so low that he expects literally nothing. Which after having seen it, I love the idea of. Just a few hours of peace and quiet. This film is like a drug, it takes longer to recover from the crap it puts upon you, that it lasts. Which while you're enduring it feels like a lifetime sentence. It is also so loud and aggressive that you can't even ignore.

    I felt like Edward Norton getting his hand burned in Fight Club. Every time I tried to ignore it and go to my cave, a loud bitch-slap would pull me back.

    Honestly by the time the Paramount opening had finished I felt the brewing of a headache, and I have never gotten a headache from 3D before. People don't understand that shooting in 3D, much like Black & White, requires different technique. Where previous Bay films, many of which I have enjoyed, were hard to focus on, this is damn near impossible. And with it being this 'film' I couldn't ever be bothered to try.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hot on the heels of this, the IMDB plot summary of none other than Bernardo Bertollucci's upcoming 3D motion picture (really!!) reads as follows:
    "An an introverted teenager tells his parents he going on a ski trip, but instead spends his time alone in a basement."
    Wow. Lookout Michael Bay. Bernardo's comin' afta ya.

  • Comment number 61.

    ......he'll start feeding off both the Revenge of the Fallen... and Dark of the moon. You could be a film critic all your life... and never see something like this. It would be a disaster of epic proportions. It would be... the perfect rant.

  • Comment number 62.

    Cancel the Wimbledon broadcast, I need to hear this rant. With Paramount opening the film this week, its as almost as if they are doing everything for Dr. K. to not unleash his evaluation on this gaudy monstrosity

  • Comment number 63.

    Dear all,

    Go and see 'Bridesmaids' instead.


  • Comment number 64.

    I saw the movie yesterday. I'm sorry I know this makes me a traitor or some kind. All I can say is it wasn't as bad as Transformers 2. But like Transformers 2 it doesn't really make sense. Random fight sequences where characters just come from nowhere and then die, then come back again it's really strange. Also Mark, how weird was it when the whole of Chicago just DISAPPEARED in 5 minutes?!? There was no people running about in the final battle?!? So bizarre. I really wish you had a shot at the end of this video of what your hair was like after you had "dimensionalized" it.

  • Comment number 65.

    lol!! very apt review of rubbish film. Leaves me wondering though, if you had to review something wonderful - say Of Gods and Men - with no words, how would you go about that? discuss. :))

  • Comment number 66.

    I'm not sure... does this meen, you liked it, Dr.K? :-D

    Actually, I have sort of hight expectations on this one. It's the first "Transformers", which has a promising looking trailer, after all. Of course, it's once more robotes hitting each other, but at least it looks as if you could actually see, what is happaning during the action-scenes.

  • Comment number 67.

    Looking through M.Bay's Directing resume I cant for the life of me see films that are great,possibly good's are The Rock and Bad Boys.I mention those films because I enjoyed them but to my understanding I was relatively young when I witnessed them and if thrown into watching them again my mind could be,lets say,give a more appropriate description/review of the film.But who knows,I may just like them.

    While also looking through his Directing resume I notticed he has a massive thing for directing remakes.Is his inability to make somthing original,mainly horror films,so hard that he needs to reinvent films for the noughties and doing a poor (POOR!) interpretation of the originals ie Hitcher,Nightmare on Elm Street,Chainsaw Massacre etc were all good original films with great indifferent meanings.Bay comes along and thinks "I want bit of that cookie too" and he plays on that in a grosteque buissness manner that is certain to attract the franchise gowers,thus bringing in shedloads of money. Rether film was bad or not he's got his pulse firmly on the franchise audience and also a younger teenage audience to because todays teenagers werent brought up with said past films.Not only has he made poor remakes he has also made poor original films such Pearl Harbour,Bad Boys two,The Island and was recently involved with I am Number Four.

    But the suporters of M.Bay say all his films are usually financial success's,and they are right.The success of the first transformer move blows the films budget (150million)out of the water by recouperating an amazing 709million.That is great buisness,but it only works if you have the audience for it to work.
    And Bay leeches onto this "audience" far greater than any other.He gives them what they want ie Action,Sex,more Action,mindless plots,sexy female leads (who are mainly pin-up Models,who cant act out of a box) and more action!!.
    Basically what Im saying is that the Audience who like this mindless drivel are just as to blame,but they dont care,they get what they want in the end.
    And it looks like we,the others,need to put up with it alot longer especially with visual whores like Snyder and M.Bay in-toe.

  • Comment number 68.

    It's hard to know for sure, but I've got a sneaking suspicion Mark might not have liked it...

  • Comment number 69.

    @Truchsess You can see what's happening but it's still impossible to care.

  • Comment number 70.

    Ok. Lets deal with the first and most obvious defence of this film that comes up so often.

    This movie is not acceptable if you treat it as just a dumb action movie or a visual spectacle or if you ignore the many, many flaws in its story telling, acting and plot.

    There are two reasons for this.

    1: The movie is ugly, it's badly shot, badly framed and badly designed. While at least the editing is not as nauseatingly frenetic as Transformers 2 (a side effect of the 3D filming process) it's still too fast for the 3D. The shots remain too close to the action which makes everything feel cramped and claustrophobic. The editing is slower but it's still determined to move on to the next explosion as soon as possible which means that none of the effects are actually given the time on screen to be impressive. And the robot designs remain utterly, over-designed, busy and hideous.

    The special effects are expensive, they're not impressive. The have a very high level of visual fidelity, but you're still looking at fundamentally ugly things brought to the screen in an ugly way.

    Speaking of plot holes am I right in thinking that the Autobots arrive in the ruins of Chicago after hundreds of people get killed and basically say "LOL! We were alive the whole time!" and no one thinks to reply "That's nice. What about all of the people in Chicago who just got murdered while you were waiting for a suitably dramatic moment?"

    2: Much more importantly. Special effects are worthless on their own. Without an interesting story there's no reason to care about the special effects. If the characters arn't sympathetic or likeable then there's nothing at stake and there's nothing for the audience to get excited over.

    As an example think back to the light sabre battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader aboard the Death Star midway through Star Wars episode 4. (I choose Star Wars because it's not an example of an "ideas" movie). It's a pretty lame fight altogether. A very old man fighting a man in a helmet who can't really see what he's doing. But it's a very exciting fight that resonates with audiences because they care about what's happening.

    They know Obi-Wan, they've spent time with him, seen his patience with Han, his kindness to Luke, seen him lop a guy's arm off in a scuzzy bar, they like him. The audience has also had time to see Darth Vader being villainous (first scene in the movie) oppressing, threatening and torturing. The audience knows both of the characters in the fight and there are real stakes, they want Obi-Wan to succeed and they want to see Darth get his comeuppance. That's what makes it an exciting scene.

    Contrast the fight between Optimus and Megatron. We hardly see Optimus, when we do he usually drives up just in time for a fight then leaves. What little dialogue he does have is almost all exposition we know very little, if anything about him as a character. And we know even less about Megatron. If we don't know anything about the characters then it doesn't really matter to us which of them wins the fight. It's just two robots hitting each other and there's nothing at stake and no reason to care.

    There's a third point here about narrative structure. If you were a juggler or a magician or a performer and you had a four trick act you shouldn't do the four hardest tricks you know. That doesn't build the audience’s interest. You start with an easy or simple trick, then you do a harder trick, then a harder trick again then you give them the big finish.

    It's the same with songs, if you listen to any piece of classical music or any good pop song (bohemian rhapsody is a great example of this) it starts out fairly gentle builds to a crescendo in the third verse and then slows back down for the end.

    It's the same with movies a good movie builds interest with a series of ever higher peaks. Star Wars again; there's the first threat with the sand people, then safety, then Mos Isley space port and meeting Han and a thrilling escape, then safety, then the death star and greater danger (trash compactor) and escape then and an even closer escape (aboard the falcon) and finally the climactic battle with the Death Star, the greatest danger, the biggest action scene and final destruction of the Death Star. End of movie.

    The excitement builds throughout the movie as the heroes find themselves in ever greater peril and make ever more narrow escapes from harm. There's a real structure in play that makes the movie work for audiences. You can't just have the death star battle all the way though.

    But that's what Michael Bay movies try to do. High Octane, foot to the floor, the biggest action he can manage, as loud and as hard as he can, for the full two and half hours. It's like trying to listen to the crescendo of Bohemian Rhapsody for two hours. I like big action scenes, I also like dessert, I do not however feel the need to eat a whole tub of ice cream instead of a meal.

    What I'm trying to say here, and what I'm hoping Dr. K will make clear in his review/rant is that the problem with Transformers isn't that it's not a moving serious ideas movie. You should judge a film according to what it's trying to achieve and Transformers fails that level. It's not just a bad movie it's a bad example of a dumb action movie.

  • Comment number 71.

    Wow, I went on a bit there:

    tl;dr version.

    It's not a good dumb action movie, it is bad even on that level.

    It's ugly and poorly shot. It is no "visual treat".

    It's boring, you don't care about the characters or anything that is at stake so the action scenes are just meaningless light shows. I think George Lucas explains it best

    Also, the movie is poorly structured and doesn't hold interest.

  • Comment number 72.

    something vexes you?

  • Comment number 73.

    And one final comment:

    I was wondering if anyone else noticed the violence in this movie.

    Intellectually I know that they're just robots but once they started pulling off each others heads complete with the spine and shooting each other point blank in the face with shot guns I felt like the movie was enjoying itself a little too much.

    It's one thing to say "they're just robots" its another thing to use that as an excuse to show the most gratuitous violence you can get away with showing. I was really reminded of Dr. K's comments about Bay's "pornographic sensibility".

  • Comment number 74.

    Mr Bay has outdone himself and created a pinnacle achievement in celluloid awfulness.

  • Comment number 75.

    Aha! See the film, knock yourself out... right geddit Mark, will do.

  • Comment number 76.

    Dr K surely lost enough brain cells in actually having to sit through this drivel in its mind melting gargantuan length 3d. So to shed many more with all that headbanging could mean that by Friday he's damaged enough to believe that he actually loved it. Unlikely, but hey it could happen. DVD extras in the podcast please, due to the shorter show this week.

  • Comment number 77.

    am i missing something, is this video supposed to be funny ?

  • Comment number 78.

    There goes a camera...

  • Comment number 79.

    Hilarious Dr K, and I'll be waiting with eager anticipation to hear the verbal version. I used to belong to a great internet movie debating site many moons ago that sadly went to the wall...However the standing joke was always anything that had Michael Bay's name on it was box office poison.......and nothing much has changed.

  • Comment number 80.


    Just wanted to forward this to Mark so he can add this rant to his review of Transformers 3 - he's gonna love this!!

    Basically the director has re-used some footage from one of his past films -

    Thank you!

    William Sales

  • Comment number 81.


    Headache. boredom, loss of will to live. No more please

    Malkovich is funny though.

  • Comment number 82.


    Methinks Dr K is unlikely to listen to any advice from George Lucas, yes?

    And going back to my earlier point . . . just why did you go to see it?

  • Comment number 83.

    I agree with Trevor @33

    Me thinks you lot are waiting in vain for a super epic Kermodian rant on TF3 when he ripped into TF2 like a madman a few years back (PHWOAR! ROBOTS! AY!).
    At the moment Mark seems to be not doing what you expect of him, Pirates 4 was given a damning review but not the kicking you all expected to hear. Then last week everyone thought he would lay into Bridesmaids, but - BLIMEY CHARLIE - he liked it, gave it film of the week.

  • Comment number 84.

    There is no defence of a Transformers movie.
    Soulless, big scale CGI driven movie; script written for a five year old (I'm being generous here); as with Pearl Harbour two hours of not much happening, ending with 30 minutes of mega budget mayhem, but with no conclusion to whatever the story happens to be about.
    Transformers movie's could happen every two years (and probably will – at least on Dave) for the next century. It's film's equivalent of the Big Mac. (And shameful to say Spielberg is a producer!)

    But, when it comes on TV one Christmas I probably will watch the last 30 minutes, just to see what CGI can do nowadays?
    Does that make me a bad person? My soul my become sightly soiled, but I can live with it.

    But then I'll look for a movie that does excite and engage me.

    Forget it Mark, it's Baytown.

  • Comment number 85.

    how so many people can find that video hilarious. shows you what kind of people you are.

  • Comment number 86.

    To be honest, I'm getting a bit sick of this incessant Bay-bashing in the media. I'm not a fan of his films but this kind of obsessive slag-offery* smacks of snobbery. Who cares if his films are just full of cars and explosions? Loads of kids love the Transformers movies and if Michael Bay can bring joy to young cinema-goers then fair play to him. If I was twenty years younger I'd probably love his films.

    Watching people diss Michael Bay is like hearing someone moan about reality tv- it gets awfully tiresome after a while. In my opinion, if you don't like something just shut up and do your best to ignore it.

    *an invented word.

  • Comment number 87.

    Watching Mark repeatedly headbutt the camera bizarrely a piece of performance art or even a snuff movie. Did Gaspar Noe direct this one?

  • Comment number 88.

    anyone remember the old citreon advert with the dancing cars, that five minute advert to sell shonky french cars is better that a multi million dollar special effect ridden mega franchise film!!!!!!

    the body count in this one must be towards the top of the list, a film for 12 year olds with casual violence that rivals any 18 certificate and sexual politics and gender stereotypes that should offend anyone with higher brain functions. although if you have any higher brain function at the end of this movie you would be very lucky, i found myself staring at shiny things and dribbling...

  • Comment number 89.

    Another very amusing review of the latest entry in this crap-fest Mark. I just can't help but feel a bit sorry for the huge number of incredibly talented special effects and camera crews who spend 18 months of their lives working on projects like this to see it dismissed out of hand by critics across the board. You must have to have a thick skin to work on a Bay film. The deadlines must be tough when there are so many effects to complete, and I imagine they pour their souls into it. I'd like to see critics give seperate narrative and technical reviews for some of these big-budget films. After all the majority are only going for the spectacle, and they need to know if they're getting value for money on that front!

  • Comment number 90.

    Look Mark I was never going to bother with this tripe, I saw the first one (yawn!), gratified to know that cos it was shite I could avoid the second. A friend of mine who rarely goes to the cinema due to childcare, was taken to see Part 3 Revenge of the Mooners or whatever its called, and rang me to simply say that was 2 hours of her life she will never get back. I've told her to sue Michael Bay for compensation. Watch this space.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think he liked it...

  • Comment number 92.

    Well, I'm going to reserve judgement until I have seen it, but I agree with most of the points raised in #70 because if all it is is a big hairy actioner then it should at least be a well made big hairy actioner.
    What got my goat with the first film(s) was that I couldn't really see what was going on, incessant camera shake and robots with far too many bits on just made every action sequence look like a scrap yard having a fight.
    I enjoyed the first two Transformers movies, don't get me wrong, but I was left feeling short changed. I am used to feeling short changed. Aliens vs Predator should've been one of the most amazing films ever made, but it wasn't because Paul Anderson ruined it. The Matrix movies should've been the definitive sci-fi experience, but only the first one was any good.
    (Oddly, both the Transformers films were better viewing experiences on Blu-Ray at home rather than at the cinema.)

    A lot of you hate both this movie and the fact that it's in 3D. I've never had any physical issues with viewing 3D, no pains, no aches, no strains. The only gripe is with the allegedly 3D films on the market, most would appear to be rendered into 3D in post production and this just doesn't cut the mustard in my opinion, Clash of the Titans being the most obvious example.
    And yes, the movie may be the biggest piece of trash ever recorded. Event movies, or blockbusters if you prefer, don't have to be rubbish (Lord of the Rings wasn't rubbish by any stretch of the imagination) but Hollywood apparantly seems intent on trundling out lovely looking but entirely empty CGI fests (the Batman reboots are amazing examples of near perfect blockbuster film making minus the CGI).
    But here's the point I'm trying to make which I think some people are missing. My opinion, your opinion and the opinion of MK, of both the movie and the 3D element, are utterly irrelevant for one simple reason:

    3D and films like Transformers are saving cinemas from closing. Bums are on seats and money is in the till, and an open cinema is a cinema that can show the films you like as well as the ones you don't. I share some peoples reservations of Michael Bay as a directing talent, he is fairly rubbish as it goes, but none of us can possibly question his commitment to making as much money as possible and I salute him for this because he is helping to keep my love of cinema going an option for a night out.

    I will go see Transformers in 3D next week and I hope to enjoy it, if I don't then I will be consoled by the fact that my coin will have helped keep my local cinema open. I'm sure I will find something about the movie to like though.

  • Comment number 93.

    It's a sequel. It eschews narrative in favour of visual drama. It features dreadful overacting. It's overlong and lacks substance. It contains unnecessary violence. It panders appallingly to its audience...

    ...and it's Dr Kermode's review of Transformers 3. Which surely goes to prove that Dr Kermode (much as I otherwise admire him), is something of a hypocrite when it comes to criticising Mr Bay's latest effort.

  • Comment number 94.

    Ah, but unlike any Transformers movie, it's short and has a sense of humour.

  • Comment number 95.

    Best. Review. Ever.

  • Comment number 96.

    Oh Lordy, that was bad. Rosie wot's 'er lips should stick to modelling because she's an awful actress. Never thought I'd say it, but she made Megan look like an Oscar nominee. It was incredibly long - I took my neighbours kids and I swear he must have been on the point of calling in the search and rescue dogs to find us. There was just a wafer thin plotline which quickly disappeared in among the non stop noise. I watched in 2d and it was just an assault on the senses. I guess I wasn't sensitive to the sexism because I thought it was par for the course as far as the treatment of the principal female character, but she didn't look like she noticed anyway. I do however look forward to seeing Patrick Dempsey cast as a baddie in a better film in the future. I thought he showed moments of real potential for a truly evil role.

  • Comment number 97.


    In what way is this film short, or humorous?

    It may be short of humour...

  • Comment number 98.

    I just listened to the podcast... The Transformers Review is in a class of its own. The imitation of the 'anti-critic' ("Oh critics, they don't understand anything. They're complaining about Transformers but thng guh geh guh gehgehgehgehgeh") had me in tears.

  • Comment number 99.

    Well it was certainly a good rant, and of course he's absolutely right. I've only seen the first TRANSFORMERS film, and boy was that enough.

    The only ones who deserve any credit, any respect for hideous films such as this, are the CGI wizards working behind the scenes, slavishly, to bring such visions to life. Without them, idiots like Michael Bay would be out of a job.

  • Comment number 100.

    It is official, this is the worst movie I have ever seen and I am a big Transformers fan from back in the day. I like number 1 but this one was just terrible. Even number 2 was better than this and that was rubbish. Everything Mark says was pin point accurate. Not one word exaggerated. Bay is a rubbish director. Fox had a lucky escape. Speilberg should disassociate himself from Bay now and seek solace from his new venture, Falling Skies. Malkovich should be ashamed with himself for even getting involved in such a bad movie, but I know he will come good in something else. Huntington-Whiteley, I think everybody should give her a break. She's got to start somewhere (Unfortunately, in this movie). The movie was embarrassing to watch. People were leaving the cinema halfway through the movie. More followed as it progressed. This movie is just pure Ja Ja Binx, pointless, not funny, directionless, patronising, stupid, embarrassing, a waste of time and money. Michael Bay, please go away.


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