The plot in this movie has been tuned down from the previous entry to create a simpler story, although implying that the first two Transformers were complicated to begin with is an insult to complex plots. According to Dark of the Moon, humans first landed on the moon in 1969 in order to investigate an alien landing on the moon. The craft that crashed on the moon is called ‘the arc’ and contains the Autobot’s greatest weapon yet. In present day, the Autobots left from the first two movies are working for the government to thwart any attempted assaults by the Decepticons (the bad robot aliens). Megatron, the baddest of the bunch, returns to Earth and all of the robots have a massive battle for the universe, once again on our small home planet.
Humans get involved because, well that’s what humans do in movies with alien invaders. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBoeuf) is annoyed because he couldn’t get a decent job despite his involvement in saving the human race on two occasions. He finds a job working for a tool of a man named Bruce Brazos, played by John Malkovich; one of many great actors whose talents are wasted in this film, such as Frances McDormand as Mearing. Even the existing talent feels exhausted through such poor writing.
Sam’s new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) works for wealthy car collector Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), who somehow becomes involved with the robots once the battle starts. Rosie Huntington is a beautiful young woman, but her talents as an actress seem to be limited. She isn’t given much to work with here to begin with, but her character is simply so one-dimensional that at times she seems an unnecessary addition to the film. At the very least the filmmakers could have attempted to explore her backstory with Sam even if only a little bit, as some level of emotional investment in the character and her relationship to Sam would have helped further later tension.
Michael Bay’s direction is so mismatched and choppy that my opinion of him has dropped even lower. There are too many things flying, cracking, transforming or blowing up on screen at almost any given time, and the audience doesn’t establish connections with anything happening on screen. The visual and sound effects are not even all that spectacular, with such disruptiveness occurring it bothers the senses and the visual effects are not used to improve the quality of the film. The most impressive action scene that was actually shot with real people is the one with jumpers in the flight suits from the Sears tower, but even those shots are interrupted by more CGI bombardment. Overall, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, from its plot to the method of telling that story, it just isn’t a pleasant movie going experience.