- Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Bay Produced by Don Murphy
Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Written by Ehren Kruger Based on Transformers by
Starring Shia LaBeouf
Music by Steve Jablonsky Cinematography Amir Mokri Editing by Roger Barton
Studio Di Bonaventura Pictures Distributed by Paramount Pictures Release date(s) June 23, 2011(MIFF)
June 29, 2011 (North America)
Running time 154 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $195 million Box office $1,123,196,189
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a 2011 American science fiction-action film based on the Transformers toy line. First released on June 23, 2011, it is the third installment of the live-action Transformers film series. Like its predecessors, Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film's story structure revolves around a genuine NASA manned mission to the Moon. Three years after the events of the second film and 42 years after the Apollo 11 space race, the Autobots continue to work for the NEST (Networked Elements: Supporters and Transformers) military force. Meanwhile, the Decepticons unveil a plan to use the new groundbreaking technology, the Pillars, to enslave Humanity in order to save the home planet of the Transformers, Cybertron.
Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro reprised their starring roles, with Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving returning as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, and Kevin Dunn and Julie White reprising their roles as the parents of the main protagonist, Sam Witwicky. English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced Megan Fox as the lead female character; the cast also saw the additions of Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, and Frances McDormand. Leonard Nimoy, Keith Szarabajka, Ron Bottitta, John DiMaggio, George Coe, Francesco Quinn, James Remar, and Greg Berg had joined the film's voice cast. The script was written by Ehren Kruger, who also collaborated on the narrative of the second film of the series. Bay has stated this would be his last installment in the series. Dark of the Moon was shot with both regular 35mm film cameras and specially developed 3-D cameras, with filming locations including Indiana, Washington, D.C., Moscow, Florida, and Chicago. The film was rendered specifically for 3-D, and the visual effects involved more complex robots which took longer to render.
In May 2011, it was announced that Paramount Pictures moved Transformers: Dark of the Moon's release date of July 1, 2011, to June 29, in order to receive an early response to footage. The film was then released nationwide one day earlier, June 28, in selected 3-D and IMAX theaters, to open exclusively one night before its official global release, and one day later in wide release, in both, 2-D and 3-D formats, including IMAX 3D, and featuring Dolby Surround 7.1 sound.
Critical reception of the film was mixed to negative, with several critics praising the film's visuals but criticizing its writing, acting, and length. Dark of the Moon grossed $1.12 billion worldwide, and is currently the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, the second highest grossing film of 2011 (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2), the highest grossing film in the Transformers series, and the tenth film to gross over $1 billion.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Marketing
- 5 Release
- 6 References
- 7 External links
In 1961, the Ark, a Cybertronian spacecraft carrying an invention capable of ending the war between the philanthropic Autobots and the malevolent Decepticons, crash lands on the dark side of Earth's Moon. The crash is detected on Earth by NASA, and President John F. Kennedy authorizes a mission to put a man on the Moon as a cover for investigating the craft. In 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.
In the present, the Autobots assist the United States military in preventing conflicts around the globe. During a mission to Chernobyl, to investigate suspected alien technology, Optimus Prime – the valiant leader of the Autobots – finds a fuel cell from the Ark, discovering that it had survived its journey from Cybertron. The Autobots are attacked by Shockwave, who manages to escape. After learning of the top-secret mission to the Moon, the Autobots travel there to explore the Ark. They discover a comatose Sentinel Prime – Optimus' predecessor as leader of the Autobots – and the Pillars he created as a means of establishing a Space Bridge between two points to teleport matter. After returning to Earth, Optimus uses the energy of his Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime.
Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is frustrated that he is unable to work with the Autobots and is failing to find a job. He also becomes envious of the close relationship between his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer, and her boss Dylan Gould. After finding work, Sam is provided information by his eccentric co-worker Jerry Wang about the Ark, before Jerry is assassinated by the Decepticon Laserbeak. Sam contacts the now-independently wealthy Seymour Simmons, and together they realize that the Decepticons and their leader, Megatron, are murdering people connected to the American and Russian space missions to the Ark. They locate two surviving Russian cosmonauts, who reveal satellite photos of hundreds of Pillars being stockpiled on the Moon. Sam realizes that the Decepticons raided the Ark long before the Autobots' mission and intentionally left Sentinel and five Pillars behind to lure the Autobots into a trap – Sentinel being the key to activating the Pillars and the Decepticons lacking the means to revive him. The Autobots rush to return Sentinel to their base for protection but Sentinel betrays them and kills the Autobot Ironhide, revealing he had made a deal with Megatron to ensure the survival of the Cybertronian race.
Sentinel uses the Pillars to transport hundreds of concealed Decepticons from the Moon to Earth, and Carly is captured by Gould, who is revealed to be in the service of the Decepticons. The Autobots are exiled from Earth at the demand of the Decepticons to avoid war, but as their ship leaves Earth it is destroyed by Megatron's second-in-command, Starscream, seemingly killing the Autobots. The Decepticons, led by Megatron and Sentinel, seize Chicago as their agents place Pillars around the world. Gould reveals to Carly that the Decepticons plan to transport their homeworld of Cybertron to the Milky Way, then to enslave humanity and use Earth's resources to rebuild their world. Sam teams with USAF Chief Robert Epps to go into Chicago to save Carly, but they are nearly killed by Decepticon forces before the Autobots intervene, revealing they concealed themselves during the launch of their ship to convince the Decepticons they were destroyed.
Working together, the Autobots and human soldiers manage to rescue Carly and destroy Soundwave, Barricade, Starscream, and Shockwave, with Optimus using Shockwave's arm-cannon to blast the Control Pillar, disabling the Space Bridge. Sam confronts Gould as he reactivates the Control Pillar, and knocks Gould into the Pillar, fatally electrocuting him. Bumblebee and Ratchet arrive and destroy the Control Pillar, permanently disabling the Bridge and causing the partially transported Cybertron to implode. Optimus and Sentinel fight while Carly convinces Megatron that he will be replaced as leader of the Decepticons by Sentinel. Sentinel severs Optimus' right arm, and is about to execute him when Megatron intervenes, incapacitating Sentinel. Megatron invokes Optimus for a truce, having the desire to become the one-in-charge again. Optimus attacks Megatron, knowing Megatron's true intentions, decapitating and killing him. Sentinel pleads for his life but Optimus executes him too, for betraying his own principles. With the Decepticons defeated, Carly and Sam are reunited and the Autobots accept that with Cybertron gone, Earth is now their home.
- Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, the film's main protagonist and a recent college graduate, who is once again tied to the fate of Earth's survival.
- Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly Spencer, the film's female lead, and love interest of Sam.
- Tyrese Gibson as USAF Chief Robert Epps, former NEST major, who now works at a space shuttle.
- Josh Duhamel as U.S. Army Lt. Colonel William Lennox, the captain of the classified strike team NEST, an international taskforce battling Decepticons with the Autobots.
- John Turturro as Seymour Simmons, a former agent of the terminated Sector 7 unit, who is now a professional writer.
- Patrick Dempsey as Dylan Gould, a wealthy car collector and employer of Carly Spencer who is secretly in cahoots with Megatron.
- Kevin Dunn as Ron Witwicky, Sam's father.
- Julie White as Judy Witwicky, Sam's mother.
- John Malkovich as Bruce Brazos, Sam's employer and boss at Accureta Systems.
- Frances McDormand as Charlotte Mearing, the Director of National Intelligence.
- Lester Speight as "Hardcore" Eddie, a former member of NEST.
- Alan Tudyk as Dutch, Agent Simmons' personal assistant.
- Ken Jeong as Jerry "Deep" Wang, a paranoid software programmer at Sam's work.
- Glenn Morshower as General Morshower, leader of NEST, who communicates with the squad in the Pentagon.
- Buzz Aldrin appears as himself, meeting Optimus Prime at the NEST headquarters.
- Bill O'Reilly appears as himself, interviewing Agent Simmons through his television program The O'Reilly Factor.
- Elya Baskin as Cosmonaut Dimitri, one of the two surviving Russian cosmonauts who gives Sam information on the Moon missions.
- Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots and keeper of the Matrix of Leadership.
- Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime's predecessor as the leader of the Autobots who transforms into a red and black Rosenbauer Panther Fire Truck. He was also a mentor to Optimus.
- Hugo Weaving as Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, who is now badly wounded from the events of Revenge of the Fallen.
- Tom Kenny as Wheelie, former Decepticon drone turned Autobot lackey.
- Reno Wilson as Brains, Wheelie's partner and a fellow former Decepticon drone.
- Charlie Adler as Starscream, Megatron's second-in-command.
- Frank Welker as Shockwave, an emotionless but fierce Decepticon; Barricade, a Decepticon infiltration unit that transforms into a police car; Soundwave, the Decepticons' communication officer.
- Jess Harnell as Ironhide, the Autobots' cantankerous weapons specialist.
- Robert Foxworth as Ratchet, the Autobots' medical officer.
- James Remar as Sideswipe, the Autobots' combat instructor who transforms into a silver Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Convertible.
- Francesco Quinn as Dino/Mirage, an Autobot Spy who transforms into a red Ferrari 458 Italia.
- George Coe as Que/Wheeljack, an Autobot scientist who invents gadgets, equipment, and weapons who transforms into a blue Mercedes-Benz E550.
- John DiMaggio as Target/Leadfoot, one of the three Wreckers. He transforms into a Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Target car.
- Ron Bottitta as Amp/Roadbuster, one of the three Wreckers. He transforms into a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. #88 AMP Energy/National Guard car.
- Keith Szarabajka as Laserbeak, a condor-like Decepticon who is fiercely loyal to Soundwave.
- Greg Berg as Igor, a deformed Decepticon who serves as a personal servant to Megatron in his exile.
- Jim Wood as Crowbar, one of the members of the Dreads.
As a preemptive measure before the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Lucchi and Paramount Pictures announced on March 16, 2009, that a third film would be released in IMAX 3D on July 1, 2011, which earned a surprised response from director Michael Bay:I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3—they asked me on the phone—I said yes to July 1—but for 2012—whoops! Not 2011! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots.—
Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who had worked on the two previous Transformers films, declined to return for the third film, with Kurtzman declaring that "the franchise is so wonderful that it deserves to be fresh, all the time. We just felt like we’d given it a lot and didn’t have an insight for where to go with it next". Revenge of the Fallen's co-writer Ehren Kruger became the sole screenwriter for Dark of the Moon. Kruger had frequent meetings with Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) visual effects producers, who suggested plot points such as the scenes in Chernobyl.
On October 1, 2009, Bay revealed that Transformers: Dark of the Moon had already gone into pre-production, and its planned release was back to its originally intended date of July 1, 2011, rather than 2012. Due to the revived interest in 3-D technology brought in by the success of Avatar, talks between Paramount, ILM, and Bay had considered the possibility of the next Transformers film being filmed in 3-D, and testing was performed to bring the technology into Bay's work. Bay originally was not much interested in the format as he felt it did not fit his "aggressive style" of filmmaking, but he was convinced after talks with Avatar director James Cameron, who even offered the technical crew from that film. Cameron reportedly told Bay about 3-D, "You gotta look at it as a toy, it's another fun tool to help get emotion and character and create an experience." Bay was reluctant to film with 3-D cameras since in test he found them to be too cumbersome for his filming style, but he did not want to implement the technology in post production either since he was not pleased with the results. In addition to using the 3-D Fusion camera rigs developed by Cameron's team, Bay and the team spent nine months developing a more portable 3-D camera that could be brought into location.
In a hidden extra for the Blu-ray version of Revenge of the Fallen, Bay expressed his intention to make Transformers 3 not necessarily larger than Revenge of the Fallen, but instead deeper into the mythology, to give it more character development, and to make it darker and more emotional. Unicron is briefly shown in a secret Transformers 3 preview feature in the Revenge of the Fallen Blu-ray disc. Ultimately, the producers decided to forgo a plot involving the planet-eating transformer, and no further comments were ever made on the subject. Having been called Transformers 3 up to that point, the film's final title was revealed to be Dark of the Moon in October 2010. After Revenge of the Fallen was almost universally panned by critics, Bay acknowledged the general flaws of the script, having blamed the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike prior to the film for many problems. Bay promised to not have the "dorky comedy" from the last film. On March 19, 2010, the script was said to be finished.
Megan Fox was originally attached to the film, and Patrick Dempsey's role as Dylan Gould was to be the employer of Fox's character, Mikaela Banes. According to various published sources, Fox's absence from the film was due to Bay ultimately choosing not to renew her role in light of her comparing him and his work ethics to Adolf Hitler, although representatives for the actress said that it was her decision to leave the film franchise. Bay later revealed that Fox's comments particularly angered executive producer Steven Spielberg, which affected Bay's decision to remove her. "I wasn't hurt," Bay stated, "because I know that's just Megan. Megan loves to get a response. And she does it in kind of the wrong way. I'm sorry, Megan. I'm sorry I made you work twelve hours. I'm sorry that I'm making you show up on time. Movies are not always warm and fuzzy." With Fox not reprising her role, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was chosen to play Sam's new love interest. Ramón Rodríguez was initially planned to be in the film, in a role bigger than the one he had in Revenge of the Fallen, but he was dropped during early production. Shia LaBeouf stated that this would be his last film in the series, also concluding that director Michael Bay will not return for a fourth installment. A few well-known actors such as John Malkovich and Frances McDormand also gained selected roles for the film. Makovich explains: "I play a guy called Bruce Brazos, who's just a loudmouth, kind of business man who's Shia's character's boss. Who's just a jerk, and a kind of a loud one. But a fun character. Nice. It was fun. Very, very enjoyable, just with Shia, Rosie a little bit, and with John Turturro. So, for me, it was a blast." Another well-known actor, Ken Jeong, was cast as an eccentric co-worker and stalker of the film's protagonist. Jeong described the film, "Yeah, it's a small role in Transformers but yeah. I had an out of body experience working on that one because I just couldn't believe I was there. Still, that was not a thing where oh, I'm going to be a part of a blockbuster franchise like Transformers 3 or even now Hangover 2 for that matter. So I can't believe I'm a part of these franchises in any way. It was amazing. Michael Bay is brilliant and it'll blow your mind."
Themes and inspirations
Unlike the two previous Transformers installments, which were based solely on the script writers' endemic story, Transformers: Dark of the Moon was based on a novel called Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday, written by Alan Dean Foster. The novel is a prequel to the 2007 film Transformers. It follows the same story structure as Dark of the Moon, being set in 1969, the year of Apollo 11. The story structure differs slightly, though, because the novel was written merely as prequel to the first film.
Due to the critically panned Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Bay decided to remove the characters called the Twins entirely from Dark of the Moon: "This one really builds to a final crescendo. It's not three multiple endings. One thing we're getting rid of is what I call the dorky comedy. [The twins are] basically gone." Due to fan rumors that the Twins would actually be in the film, the director made a public $25,000 "bet" that the Twins would not be seen in Dark of the Moon.
Bay acknowledged that Revenge of the Fallen was "disappointing to the fans" and stated that he "doesn't want the third one to suck". Bay stated that he wanted Dark of the Moon's final battle to be more geographic and feature a "small group of heroes" like Ridley Scott's war-drama Black Hawk Down. Bay also decided to include Shockwave because he considers the character "bad" and "He's got a much bigger gun [than Megatron and is] a little bit more vicious." In accordance to The A.V. Club, the film had several minor story inspirations from the 80's cartoon The Transformers, including the usage of a Space Bridge, and the "kicking the Autobots out".
Similar to the previous two installments, the film was told in the human point-of-view to engage the audience. Sam Witwicky's previous love interest, played by Megan Fox, was fired due to her description of director Bay's work ethics on the set of the franchise. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was chosen to play Sam's love interest in the third installment instead. Bay wanted Sam to have a girlfriend like in the first two films, promising an emotional love story much unlike the previous installments. Actor Shia LaBeouf stated that the additions of Huntington-Whiteley and new characters allows Dark of the Moon to keep the "magic" of the first film.
Dark of the Moon also had numerous Star Trek references, because scriptwriter Ehren Kruger was a "big Star Trek geek". The first Star Trek reference is when Sam meets his girlfriend, Carly Spencer at work, and is being introduced to Carly's employer, Dylan Gould, Sam marvels at their workplace: "It's a beautiful building you guys have. Like the Starship Enterprise in here." The second reference is when refugee robots Brains and Wheelie, who live in Sam and Carly's apartment complex, are watching an episode of Trek, Wheelie comments "I've seen this one. It's the one where Spock goes nuts." The third and final reference is when Sentinel Prime activates the Control Pillar, quoting from Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".
Transformers: Dark of the Moon cost a reported $195 million to produce, with the cost of the 3-D filming accounting for $30 million of the budget. Preparation for filming began on April 7, 2010 in Northwest Indiana, specifically around Gary, which portrayed Ukraine in the film. Principal photography commenced on May 18, 2010, with shooting locations including Chicago, Florida, and Moscow. The first six weeks were spent in Los Angeles: locations included Sherman Oaks, Fourth Avenue and 5. Main. The next four weeks were spent in Chicago. Locations filmed in Chicago included LaSalle Street, Michigan Avenue, Bacino's of Lincoln Park at 2204 North Lincoln Avenue and around the Willis Tower. The scenes set in Michigan Ave featured a substantial amount of pyrotechnics and stunt work. Filming in Detroit was planned to take place in August but the Chicago shoot was extended until September 1. In late September the production moved to Florida, just before the launch of Space Shuttle mission STS-133.
While filming in Washington, D.C., the crew shot on the National Mall, and Bay stated that there would be a car race on the location. Two further locations announced were the Milwaukee Art Museum and the former Tower Automotive complex on Milwaukee's north side, then under redevelopment for mixed use as well as the city's equipment yard. Filming was scheduled to take place there after work was done in Chicago. On September 23, scenes were filmed at the former city hall in Detroit. On October 16, a scene in the later 1960s was shot at the Johnson Space Center in Texas, utilizing extras with period fashion and hairstyles. One day of shooting was also spent at the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. Other planned filming locations included Africa and China. Less than half of the film was shot in 3-D, using Arri Alexa and Sony F35 cameras, while other footage was either computer generated or shot in the anamorphic format on 35mm film and converted into 3-D in post production. 35mm film was used for scenes filmed in slow motion and scenes such as closeups of faces or shots of the sky which required higher image quality than the HD digital 3-D cameras could provide. 35mm cameras were also used for scenes where the 3-D cameras proved to be too heavy, or were subject to strobing or electrical damage from dust. Principal photography officially concluded on November 9, 2010.
Dark of the Moon has been found to contain recycled footage from an earlier film directed by Michael Bay, The Island. Bay similarly recycled footage from his film Pearl Harbor in the 2007 film Transformers.
Filming was temporarily delayed on September 2, 2010, when an extra was seriously injured during a stunt in Hammond, Indiana. Due to a failed weld, a steel cable snapped from a car being towed and hit the extra's car, damaging her skull. The extra, identified as Gabriela Cedillo, had to undergo brain surgery. The injury has left her permanently brain-damaged, paralyzed on her left side and her left eye stitched shut. Paramount admitted responsibility for the accident and covered all of Cedillo's medical costs. Nevertheless, Cedillo's family filed a lawsuit on October 5, citing seven counts of negligence against Paramount, D.W. Studios, and several other defendants (not including Bay), with total damages sought in excess of $350,000. Cedillo's attorney, Todd Smith, said, "This was an attractive 24-year old girl who had dreams and aspirations involving acting, and this kind of injury may well have a serious impact on her dreams." The filed complaint reads that "Cedillo has endured and will in the future endure pain and suffering; has become disfigured and disabled; has suffered a loss of the enjoyment of a normal life; has been damaged in her capacity to earn a living; has incurred and will in the future incur expenses for medical services, all of which are permanent in nature." In response to the suit, Paramount released the following statement: "We are all terribly sorry that this accident occurred. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with Gabriela, her family and loved ones. The production will continue to provide all the help we can to Gabriela and her family during this difficult time."
A second accident occurred on October 11, 2010, in Washington, D.C.. While filming a chase scene at 3rd Street and Maryland Avenue, SW, a Metropolitan Police K9 Unit SUV struck the Camaro that portrays Bumblebee in the film. The area had been closed off by the Washington, D.C., police, and it is unclear why the SUV was there. Both drivers were uninjured, but the Camaro was severely damaged.
As with the previous Transformers installments, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was the main visual effects company for Dark of the Moon. ILM had been working on the pre-visualization for six months before principal photography started, resulting in 20 minutes worth of footage. Digital Domain also rendered 350 shots, including the characters Laserbeak, Brains, and Wheelie, the Decepticon protoforms concealed on the moon, the space bridge, and a skydiving sequence.
External audio Industrial Light & Magic's interview for the effects of the film. Listen to the Interview
ILM's visual effects supervisor, Scott Farrar, said that "not only were the film's effects ambitious, they also had to be designed for 3-D", and explained the company's solutions for the new perspective: "We did make sure things are as bright as possible; Michael called up theatre owners to make sure they keep the lamps bright in the theatres... make everything a little sharper, because we know that through the steps, no matter what, when you get to the final screening things tend to go less sharp." On the last weekend of ILM's work on Dark of the Moon, the company's entire render farm was being used for the film, giving ILM more than 200,000 hours of rendering power a day—or equivalent to 22.8 years of rendering time in a 24-hour period. Farrar embraced the detail in creating giant robots for 3-D, making sure that in close-ups of the Transformers' faces "you see all the details in the nooks and crannies of these pieces. It's totally unlike a plain surface subject like a human head or an animated head." The supervisor said that Bay's style of cinematography helped integrate the robots into the scenes, as "Michael is keen on having foreground/midground/background depth in his shots, even in normal live-action shots. He'll say, ’Put some stuff hanging here!' It could be women's stockings or forks and knives dangling from a string out of focus – it doesn't matter, but it gives you depth, and focus depth, and makes it more interesting."
The most complicated effects involved the "Driller", a giant snake-like creature with an eel-like body and spinning rotator blades, knives and teeth. In Revenge of the Fallen, it took 72 hours per frame to fully render Devastator for the IMAX format, which is approximately a frame amount of 4,000. For the Driller, which required the entire render farm, it was up to 122 hours per frame. The most complex scene involved the Driller destroying a computer-generated skyscraper, which took 288 hours per frame. For said sequence, ILM relied on its internal proprietary physics simulation engine to depict the destruction of the building, which included breaking concrete floors and walls, windows, columns and pieces of office furnishings. ILM digital production supervisor Nigel Sumner explained: "We did a lot of tests early on to figure out how to break the building apart exploring a lot of the procedural options. A building that's 70 feet tall – to go in and hand-score the geometry so when it fractures or falls apart – would be a time consuming laborious process. The floor of a building may be made of concrete. How does concrete fracture when it tears apart? The pillars would be made of a similar material but made of rebar or other engineering components. We'd look at how a building would blow apart and then choose the best tool to help achieve the properties of that during a simulation."
The scenes in Chicago were mostly shot on location, as Bay believed the plates had to really be shot in the actual city. Farrar was always fascinated with the idea of shooting on location, and then blending the film with computer-generated imagery. The visual effects team used aerial plates of the city's actual buildings and added destruction elements such as smoke, fire, debris, fighter planes, war, battles, and torn up streets. Four ILM employees also travelled to Chicago and photographed buildings from top to bottom at six different times of the day in order to create a digital model of the city to be used in certain scenes. ILM's crew designed many major action scenes, with many of the Chicago battle concepts coming from the helicopter shooting of the aerial plates.
Animator Scott Benza said Sentinel Prime had a face "more human-like than any of the other robots", having a more complex frame and "a greater number of plates" so it could be more expressive. ILM had based most of Sentinel Prime's features on Sean Connery, and after Leonard Nimoy was cast to voice the role, the effects were altered to incorporate Nimoy's acting as well. Every robot would take approximately 30 weeks to build visually. Originally, the fight between Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime, and Megatron was considered to be on water in the Chicago river, but the budget was cut and the ILM realized that they would not want to present that version of the final battle to Bay, so they decided to have the battle take place on the bridge over the river. For a sequence where Bumblebee catches Sam and Lennox while transforming in mid-air, a digital double of Shia LaBeouf was combined with footage of the actor in high speed so that the effects team could time it for slow-motion.
Since Bay shoots all his films in anamorphic format, Dark of the Moon's representation would be "squeezed in" to distort the image, and ILM would add in the robots and "un-distort" the image. The ample variety of filming formats used - single camera, 3-D stereo rigs with two cameras, anamorphic and spherical lenses - proved a challenge, specially as ILM had a deadline to deliver the 2-D plates to the companies responsible for the 3-D conversion. ILM made 600 3-D shots, and Digital Domain had under 200, while Legend3-D, the lead 3-D conversion company of the film, completed 78 minutes of work on the film and finalized the work of approximately 40 minutes of challenging non-visual effects and 38 minutes of visual effects shots.
Composer Steve Jablonsky, who had before collaborated with Bay on The Island and the first two Transformers films, returned to compose the Dark of the Moon score. The score soundtrack was released on June 24, 2011, five days before the actual release of the film.
The album was originally set for release in June 28, 2011, but Amazon.com listed the album as unavailable while the album was still being listed for release during the week of the film's global release. It was available for download on Amazon on June 30, 2011, and the score currently features 17 pre-recorded tracks that are featured in the final film. The score's length is approximately 59:47. The album for the film was released on June 14, 2011. It consists of singles produced by different artists and bands, and rock and alternative tracks. American rock band Linkin Park composed the lead single for the film, "Iridescent", as they did with the first two films: "What I've Done" was used in the 2007 film and "New Divide" for the 2009 film. The music video for "Iridescent" was directed by Joe Hahn. Two other singles were released specifically for the soundtrack, "Monster" by Paramore and "All That You Are" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Several other unreleased songs make their debut on the album, including "The Pessimist" by Stone Sour and "The Bottom" by Staind.
Most of the characters returned for Hasbro's new toyline, which was released on May 16, 2011. In October 2010, Entertainment Tonight previewed the behind-the-scenes filming in Chicago. A two-minute teaser trailer was announced on November 27, and was posted to the Internet on December 9, 2010. A 30 second television advertisement for the film aired during Super Bowl XLV on Fox on February 6, 2011. The first full theatrical trailer was released on April 28, 2011. A 3-D trailer was released on May 20, 2011 with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3-D, which would complete the promotional campaign for Dark of the Moon. The very first clip was released on May 18. A second clip was released the next day on May 19. The promotional costs brought the cost of producing and marketing the film to a total of $270 million.
In May 2011, the novelization, junior novel, and graphic novel of Transformers: Dark of the Moon were released. Both the novel and the graphic novel featured Skids and Mudflap as supporting characters, but the characters were missing from the junior novel. The graphic novel made reference to several Autobots from the IDW Publishing tie-in comics who died in the stories between Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon. Another novel, written by Peter David, was published on May 24, 2011, and was released on only paperback. Though it is slightly different from the film, the novel still pertains to the topic and synopsis of the film it is based on in the outcome of the final battle. The novel features about 400 pages and is published by Del Ray Books. Its synopsis is:All humankind was watching that day in 1969. And yet only a handful knew the real mission behind America’s triumph in the space race: to explore the alien ship that has crashed on the far side of the moon. Decades later, scientists are still struggling to understand the technology found on board—though with the treacherous Decepticons after it, a powerful force must be at stake. The only hope of averting a crisis is to reawaken Sentinel Prime, the long-lost leader of the Autobots—but who knows what else remains in the shadows, hidden from man and machine?—
On June 14, 2011, Activision published a video game based on Dark of the Moon for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. The console versions were developed by High Moon Studios, who had previously developed Transformers: War for Cybertron, while Behaviour Interactive developed the Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3-DS versions of the game. Electronic Arts launched an application adapting the film for Apple products (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) on June 28, 2011. In addition a high-definition version of the app was released under the name of Transformers: Dark of the Moon HD, also on June 28, 2011.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival on June 23, 2011. Linkin Park performed a special outdoor concert in Red Square in Moscow on the same night in celebration of the event. Initially scheduled to be released on July 1, 2011, the release was brought forward to June 28, 2011. It was announced in November 2010 that unlike Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, no scenes in the film were shot with IMAX cameras.
The film has received generally negative reviews from film critics. While many of them believed it was an improvement over Revenge of the Fallen and were praising the film's visual effects and 3-D action sequences, criticism fell over the long running time, the below average acting, and the script. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave Dark of the Moon a score of 35% based on 232 reviews and a rating average of 4.9/10, saying, "Its special effects and 3-D shots are undeniably impressive, but they aren't enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script." Metacritic, another review aggregator, gave the film a Metascore of 42/100 from 37 critics.
Roger Ebert gave the film one out of four stars, calling it "a visually ugly film with an incoherent plot, wooden characters and inane dialog. It provided me with one of the more unpleasant experiences I've had at the movies." Richard Roeper likewise panned the film, giving it a D and saying that "rarely has a movie had less of a soul and less interesting characters."
Several critics were highly critical of the ineffectiveness of the film's two young stars. Peter Travers stated the two "couldn't be duller." The Philadelphia Inquirer stated that Shia LaBeouf "plays Witwicky as if he had a ferocious case of attention deficit disorder. After two films, his fidgeting isn't cute anymore." James Berardinelli said that LaBeouf "has sunk to greater levels of incompetence here. It's hard to call his posturing and screaming 'acting.'" Much of the criticism towards Rosie Huntington-Whiteley compared her in an unfavorable light to Megan Fox. Lou Lumenick said that her "'acting' makes...Megan Fox look like Meryl Streep in comparison." Baz Bamigboye gave his review of the film the title 'Come back Megan Fox, all is forgiven...'.
In a more positive review, Ain't It Cool News called the film "the best entry in the Michael Bay-directed franchise." IGN gave the film a score of seven out of ten, also stating that it was the best of the franchise. E! Online graded the film a B+ while noting if this the film is truly the end of a trilogy, its main antagonists should have played more of a part. Website Daily Bhaskar also praised the film, rating it three and a half out of five stars, citing it as an improvement to the previous film and how it "gives fans something to cheer about". CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film an A on an A plus to F scale.
The film had many positive reviews, from critics and the audiences alike, for its special effects and aggressive use of 3-D, leading some to call it the best 3-D experience since Cameron's Avatar. Neil Schneider of Meant to be Seen, a website focused on stereoscopic 3-D gaming and entertainment, remarked that "while Transformers: Dark of the Moon had the scrapings of a really good story, this 3-D movie was shot with a 2-D script." On the topic of 3-D, Schneider said "Transformers 3 was a mix of native stereoscopic 3-D camera capturing and 2-D/3-D conversion (as a 3-D tool), and most was done very well." He added, "At a minimum, Transformers 3 demonstrates that fast cutting sequences are indeed possible and practical in stereoscopic 3-D. More than that, it was a comfortable experience and helped exemplify great use of stereoscopic 3-D with live action and digital characters. That said, I think they still could have taken it much further."
Charlie Jane Anders of io9 believed that some elements of the film were deliberate self-references to Michael Bay's own sense of under-appreciation after the backlash to the second film: "After a few hours of seeing Shia get dissed, overlooked and mistreated, the message becomes clear: Shia, as always, is a stand-in for Michael Bay. And Bay is showing us just what it felt like to deal with the ocean of Haterade—the snarking, the Razzie Award, the mean reviews—that Revenge of the Fallen unleashed." She went on to say that the film's frequent, often jarring shifts in tone were an intentional endorsement of Michael Bay's own filmmaking style. "Tone is for single-purpose machines. Consistency is for Decepticons. Michael Bay's ideal movie shifts from action movie to teen comedy to political drama with the same well-lubricated ease that his cars become men. By the time you've finished watching, you will speak Michael Bay's cinematic language."
Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $352,390,543 in [[North America], and $770,805,646 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1,123,196,189. It is the highest-grossing film of the franchise. It is also the second highest-grossing film of 2011 worldwide, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the fourth highest-grossing film of all time worldwide and the highest-grossing film of Paramount/Dreamworks. On its first weekend worldwide, the film made $382.4 million, marking the third-largest opening of all time, behind that of Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($394.0 million), and the largest for Paramount/Dreamworks. It has made the second-largest worldwide debut at IMAX venues, with $23.1 million, behind the 23.2 million debut of Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It reached $400M (6 days), $500M (9 days), $600M (12 days) and $700M (16 days) in record time, but lost all records to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon had the fourth-widest release of 2011, opening in over 4,088 theaters. From its early Tuesday screenings (9:00 p.m. showings), Dark of the Moon brought in $5.5 million. It also earned $8 million in midnight showings, lower than Revenge of the Fallen's $16 million. On its opening day (Wednesday), Dark of the Moon grossed $37.7 million (including $8 million from Tuesday-midnight showings), making it the second-best opening-day gross of 2011, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($91.1 million), and the sixth-best Wednesday opening day of all time, although still lower than Revenge of the Fallen, which grossed $62 million on its opening day. On Thursday, Dark of the Moon earned $21.5 million, falling only 43 percent, an improvement from its predecessors Wednesday-to-Thursday decline, and also marking the fifth-largest non-opening Thursday of all time, as well as the tenth-largest Thursday gross of all time. Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $33.0 million on Friday for a total of $97.8 million, while Revenge of the Fallen made $36.7 million on its first Friday for a total of $127.8 million. Opening at a record 2,789 3-D locations, Dark of the Moon's 3-D share accounted for 60 percent of its gross, which is atypical due to the downturn in 3-D attendance in North America. For its three-day opening weekend, the film grossed $97.9 million, marking the second-largest opening weekend of 2011, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($169.2 million), the largest Independence day weekend, out-grossing Spider-Man 2's $88.2 million opening record, and the third-largest opening weekend to happen in July. It also scored the fifth-largest opening weekend for a film not released on a Friday and the second-largest five-day gross for a film opening on Wednesday. During the four-day weekend, it grossed $115.9 million, surpassing Spider-Man 2's $115.8 million four-day gross, the previous record for the Independence Day holiday. Dark of the Moon held on to the number one spot for its second weekend, dropping 51.9% and grossing $47.1 million.
Overseas, the film grossed $32.5 million on its opening day, pacing 38 percent ahead of its predecessor. Including some early Tuesday previews, Dark of the Moon earned $36.6 million in one-and-a-half days, and by Thursday its overseas total reached $66 million. By the end of the film's first weekend, it had earned $219.8 million, which stands as the fourth-largest opening weekend of all time overseas and the largest for Paramount. Also, Dark of the Moon's foreign launch was 57 percent ahead of that of Revenge of the Fallen ($139.6 million), and its 3-D revenues performed significantly better than Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in all 58 markets, where 70 percent of the grosses came from 3-D (a higher 3-D share than Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' 66 percent). Don Harris, general manager of distribution for Paramount, commented on the results of Dark of the Moon: "If we hadn't chosen to debut the movie later in Japan and China, we probably would have had the all-time record." On its second weekend overseas, the film's gross fell to $94.7 million, though still at first place at the box office.
In Russia, Dark of the Moon broke the record for the highest-grossing opening day of all time, with $5 million, surpassing On Stranger Tides' previous record of $4.7 million. It brought in $16,945,064 during its first weekend ($21,965,793 with previews), marking the fourth highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. The film earned $5 million in South Korea, where it was the largest opening day of all time. On its opening weekend, it grossed a massive $21.8 million ($31.1 million with weekday previews), marking the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, a record previously held by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($16.7 million). It also made the biggest opening weekend of all time in six other countries, topped by Hong Kong ($5,060,905) and followed by Malaysia ($4,928,400), Philippines ($4,869,897), Thailand ($3,705,108) and Singapore ($3,508,095). It also performed well in other regions, including the United Kingdom ($17.2 million), Australia ($16.2 million), France ($11.3 million), Mexico ($10.5 million), and Taiwan ($10.5 million). In Chile, it grossed $1,429,074 on its first weekend, marking the second-largest opening weekend closely behind On Stranger Tides' $1,448,284 debut. In Germany, the film opened at $13,169,446 ($15,087,829 with previews), surpassing the openings of both its predecessors. In Mexico, it earned $10,197,801 ($10,740,922 with weekday previews), marking the second-largest opening of 2011 (behind Deathly Hallows – Part 2's record-breaking debut of $15.9 million) and the sixth-largest of all time. In New Zealand, it marked the second-largest opening for 2011 (behind Deathly Hallows – Part 2's record-breaking debut of $2.46 million) and the fifth-largest opening of all time, by earning $1,763,653 ($2,114,698 with previews). In Slovakia, it scored the largest debut of 2011 ($259,628). In the UAE, it made the second-largest opening weekend of all time ($1,775,824), behind On Stranger Tides ($1,861,696). In India, the English version earned 125,300,000 and the dubbed Hindi language version titled Transformers: Chand Ka Andhera earned 49,600,000 in three weeks.
Award Category Winner/Nominee Result Reference 2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Nominated  Choice Summer Movie Actor Shia LaBeouf Nominated Choice Summer Movie Actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Nominated 2011 Scream Awards Best Science Fiction Movie Nominated  Best Cameo Buzz Aldrin Nominated Holy Sh*t Scene of the Year (Escape From Collapsing Building) Nominated Best 3-D Movie Won Best F/X Nominated 2012 People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Pending  Favorite Action Movie Pending Favorite Action Movie Star Shia LaBeouf Pending
During Hasbro Investor Day, it was announced that the DVD and Blu-ray disc would be released in the fourth quarter of 2011. The NTSC home release for the film was released on September 30, 2011, with a Blu-ray 3D version of the film slated for release in "the coming months". However, the first home release was criticized for the lack of bonus features.What you don't get is extras. None. Not even a commentary from insufferably smug filmmaker Bay. Obviously, this means there is a special edition planned for the near future. It will probably be a home 3D version in a multiple-disc combo pack. No date has yet been announced by Paramount. Weird strategy: Deliberate double dipping annoys fans.
A Walmart exclusive edition of Transformers: Dark of the Moon also was released on September 30, 2011. The PAL DVD and Blu-ray Discs of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Trilogy pack, Blu-ray 3-D combo pack, and Collector's Edition) will be released on November 15, 2011.
In North America, it sold 716,218 DVD units (equivalent of $13,565,169) in its first week, topping the weekly DVD chart. As of October 23, 2011, it has sold 1,646,199 DVD units (equivalent of $29,562,940). It also topped the Blu-ray charts on the same week and it has sold 2,381,657 Blu-ray units (earning $50,934,911) by October 23, 2011.
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- Official website
- Official soundtrack and score website
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon at AllRovi
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon at Box Office Mojo
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon at the Internet Movie Database
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon at Metacritic
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon at Rotten Tomatoes
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon at the TCM Movie Database
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Transformers: Generation 1 · Transformers: Generation 2 · Beast Wars · Machine Wars · Beast Machines · Robots in Disguise · Armada · Smallest Transformers · Universe · Robot Masters · Energon · Alternators · Masterpiece · Cybertron · Titanium · Classics · BotCon · Movie (2007) · AnimatedCrossoversTransformers Label · Star Wars Transformers · Revenge of the Fallen · Alternity · Generations · Power Core Combiners · Dark of the Moon · PrimeGeneration 1: The Transformers (Characters, Episodes, Terms) · Scramble City · The Headmasters · Super-God Masterforce (Characters) · Victory (Characters) · Zone (Characters) · Generation 2: Generation 2 · Beast Era: Beast Wars (Characters, Episodes) · Beast Wars II (Characters) · Beast Wars Neo (Characters) · Beast Machines (Characters, Episodes) · Robots in Disguise (Characters) · Unicron Trilogy: Armada (Episodes) · Energon (Episodes) · Cybertron (Characters, Spaceships, Episodes) · Animated (Robots, Organics, Episodes) · Prime (Characters, Locations, Episodes) · Rescue BotsFeature filmsAnimated filmsThe Transformers: The Movie (1986) · Beast Wars Second: LioConvoy in Imminent Danger! (1998)Live-action filmsTransformers (2007) · Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) · Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)Internet SeriesTransformers: Cyber Missions (2010)Audio CDsThe Transformers: The Movie (1986) · Transformers: Theme Song Collection (2003) · Transformers: History of Music 1984-1990 (2004) · Transformers: The Album (2007) · Transformers: Song Universe (2007) · Transformers: The Score (2007) · Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album (2009) · Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Score (2009) · Transformers: Dark of the Moon – The Album (2011) · Transformers: Dark of the Moon – The Score (2011)The Transformers (1986) · Battle to Save the Earth (1986) · Convoy no Nazo (1986) · The Headmasters (1987) · Beast Wars (1997) · Beast Senshi Saikyō Ketteisen (1999) · Beast Wars Transmetals (1999) · DreamMix TV World Fighters (2003) · Transformers (2003) · Transformers (2004) · Transformers: The Game (2007) · Transformers Autobots (2007) · Transformers Decepticons (2007) · Transformers Animated (2008) · Transformers G1: Awakening (2008) · Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) · Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Autobots (2009) · Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Decepticons (2009) · Transformers: War for Cybertron (2010) · Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) · Transformers Universe (2012) · Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (2012)NovelsTransformers: Ghosts of Yesterday (2007) · Transformers: The Adaptation of the Motion Picture (2007) · Transformers: The Veiled Threat (2009) · Transformers: Exodus – The Official History of the War for Cybertron (2010) · Transformers: Exiles (2011)Theme park rides
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