‘Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon’ is a perfect example of how the law of diminishing returns can be relevant to the world of film.
You release a film full of impressive CGI, dramatic and frenetic action scenes and very little plot and it can still be considered a good summer blockbuster, aware of its audience and seeking only to entertain through action and spectacle. Release a sequel with more of the first two and less of the third and you stand a chance of producing an ok film, where audiences will still show up just for the spectacle. But release a third film of the exact same formula and it’s always going to be pretty poor; the action can be just as visceral and fast paced, the CGI just as sharp, but the novelty of watching incredibly realised robots smash into each other without any coherent plot or strong scripting has worn off, showing the film to be the limited product it really always was.
The film is not really any better or worse than the two preceding films, it’s just that what Bay is doing is no longer in any way new; I found myself bored by the fight scenes despite them probably objectively being both more dramatic and better executed than in the first two. I’ve reached saturation point I guess when it comes to robot destruction.
I liked the first two efforts because though they were in no way clever or challenging, they were entertaining action adventure films, with the fact that several of the key protagonists are giant robots meaning that there was something at least slightly different to the on screen carnage, even if it came wrapped in all the typical Michael Bay bows. ‘Transformers 1’ was the best of the 3, ‘Revenge of the Fallen’ was still entertaining if already showing signs of flagging, but ‘Dark of the Moon’ just never got me excited, because the concept was no longer novel in itself, the action was nearly identical to the first two film’s scenes and the script was if anything worse than previous efforts, alternating between clunking and cheesy with only fleeting moments of skill or humour.
I did almost expect to feel this way before I watched the film, and perhaps that has coloured how I viewed it, but overall I just don’t think you can make what is to all intents and purposes the same film three times and keep it entertaining. Not that this will in any way stop the film raking in so much money that a fourth one becomes inevitable.
Today's song is 'Avenue of Hope' by 'I am Kloot', a song I only know due to a much better sci-fi film, the Danny Boyle directed 'Sunshine'.