The Decepticon Mothership invades Chicago in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, from Paramount Pictures. Photo credit: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures. © 2011 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Hasbro, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. © 2011 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.
In this scene from the third Transformers movie, the Decepticon Mothership invades Chicago.

Movie review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey

There is an automated character in Transformers: Dark of the Moon called the Driller. It's a giant metallic worm-cum-super-drill, two city blocks wide and six blocks long, and it consumes everything in its path. Overground, underground, at street level, or straight through entire buildings like a knife through butter, there is nothing that the noisy, soulless Driller can't turn into pulverised mush within seconds. As such, the Driller is not just the star robot (he is a "Decepticon", and controlled by the villainous Shockwave) of Michael Bay's third, and $195 million budgeted (Dh716m), instalment in the Transformers franchise. He is also very much a metaphor for the movie itself - perhaps even for the entire series - always crashing, smashing and devouring, moving ever onwards, omnivorously, unthinking and unfeeling at every turn.

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Dark of the Moon, however, starts off with mild hints of intrigue that last for at least 15 minutes (the film, it must be noted, is more than 150 minutes long and somehow manages the tricky feat of moving at a breakneck pace while seeming nonetheless interminable). In a surprisingly ambitious pre-credits sequence, we learn of the huge civil war that once engulfed the home Transformer planet of Cybertron. We learn, too, of how a life-saving "ark" spaceship, filled with the secret of hope to all future Transformer civilisations, crash-landed on the moon in the early 1960s. And we also learn how JFK himself (shown in fake flashback via a hopelessly synthetic CG mannequin) ordered sizeable increases in Nasa's Apollo Program solely to get US personnel on to the moon to investigate the crash site.

So far, so curious. And then, however, enter stage left franchise hero Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) and his new girlfriend Carly (Huntington-Whiteley). Ignore, for a moment, the fact that the former underwear model Huntington-Whiteley (replacing the axed starlet Megan Fox) struggles with basic lines such as, "Do you want some money for lunch?" Ignore, also, the fact that LaBeouf's highly agitated and broadly hysterical "schtick" is beginning to wear thin (he's been around Transformers for three movies and five years now - what's left to be surprised by?). The pair, nevertheless, are illustrative of what's wrong, and has always been wrong, with the Transformers movies: namely, they don't care about people. Instead, Sam and Carly are given phoney dramatic dilemmas (he wants a job; she wants emotional security) while being mostly asked to stand back and watch the giant robots smack each other to pieces across deserts, boulevards and Russian power stations.

Bay is perhaps aware of this disconnect more than anyone. And he does, on several occasions here, try to insert the human players directly into the centre of the ho-hum metallic mayhem (the nasty Decepticons want to use the secret of the ark spaceship to control the world; the good Autobots want to stop them; battle ensues). Plus, he allows supporting players such as John Malkovich, John Turturro and Patrick Dempsey plenty of time to gamely chew their cameo roles. But, inevitably, this movie is about giant shiny special effects clashing with other giant shiny special effects. It's loud, it's chaotic, and it's hardly cinema as we know it. But the Driller would be proud.

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Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Men's football draw

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Group D: Oman, Austria, Rwanda

Uefa Champions League play-off

First leg: Wednesday, 11pm (UAE)
Ajax v Dynamo Kiev

Second leg: Tuesday, August 28, 11pm (UAE)
Dynamo Kiev v Ajax


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Torque: 350Nm (V Class, best option); TBA (EQV)
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Price: TBA


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The years Ramadan fell in May





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Director: Richie Mehta

Starring: Nimisha Sajayan, Roshan Mathew, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Rating: 3/5

Match info

Manchester United 1 (Van de Beek 80') Crystal Palace 3 (Townsend 7', Zaha pen 74' & 85')

Man of the match Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)