Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the third entry in the Transformers feature film franchise, which is based on popular Hasbro toyline of the same name and the various animated series; Transformers: Generation 1 (1984 / 1985–1994), Transformers: Generation 2 (1993–1995), Beast Wars/Machines (1996–2000) and Robots in Disguise (1999–2001). There have also been several comic book series based on the Transformers characters, published by Marvel, Dreamwave, IDW and Botcon, which is short for 'The Official Transformers Collectors' Convention.'
The feature film series, which started in 2007 is always financially successful, but critical success is another story. Bay, a visionary American filmmaker, who in recent years has ventured into producing features such as I Am Number Four and the remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, is well known for his love of explosive special effects, which is something he is equally praised and criticised for. In fact Bay has appeared in several ad campaigns as himself, lampooning the popular idea that his work is style over substance;
South Park have also had their own unique say on the matter;
Bay started his career at Propaganda Film directing commercials and music videos, and in the mid 90s directed the action-comedy Bad Boys in 1995, which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, who also produced, Bay's follow-up, the action film The Rock in 1996. Bay and Bruckheimer would continue to work together on the action-adventure Armageddon in 1998, the war-action film Pearl Harbour in 2001 and Bad Boys II in 2003. The Island, a science-fiction film was released in 2005 and Bay then directed Transformers in 2007 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, both produced by Steven Spielberg.
Despite the critical negativity, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was a box office hit, grossing a total of $402 million in North America and $836 million worldwide - the second highest grossing film of 2009 behind Avatar.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon looks to avoid some of the criticisms found in the previous feature film - such as the comic relief characters of Mudflap and Skids, who were viewed by some critics as racial stereotypes. Both characters have reportedly been dropped from the the upcoming feature. Other changes have affected the cast, Mikaela Banes portrayed by Megan Fox in both Transformers films, is no longer the love interest of Sam Witwicky, portrayed by Shia LaBeouf. Instead it is Carly, who originally appeared in the animated series and is portrayed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the feature film. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro all return, along with new cast members; Patrick Dempsey as Dylan, Carly's boss and a racing car driver, John Malkovich as Bruce, Sam's boss and Frances McDormand as Marissa Faireborn, Director of National Intelligence. Peter Cullen once again provides the voice of Optimus Prime, while Leonard Nimoy provides the voice of Sentinel Prime; Nimoy provided the voice of Galvatron in the 80s classic Transformers: The Movie.