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[movie review] Transformers: Dark of the Moon [no spoilers]
 
The Michael Bay Transformers films have gone through an interesting turn of events leading up to the third, and apparently final, installment. When people found out a live-action Transformers movie was being made, the hype level soared high like Starscream flying off into Cybertron. When the movie came out, people loved it. It wasn't a masterpiece by any means, but it was a well-made action movie and serviceable enough for fans of the franchise (myself being one). The fact that they killed Jazz angered me, since he's one of my favorite Autobots, but the movie was pretty damn good nonetheless. I thought the tie-in with Earth was a good idea, and the human scenes were good, for the most part. Not to mention the Transformers looked awesome and the transformation sequences were something to behold.

For the second movie, Revenge of the Fallen, we got promised more Transformers and less emphasis on human characters. Well, we got that, with more cool characters from the franchise showing up like Sideswipe, Soundwave and the RC Twins, but the movie was an inconsistent mess with little to no plot and filled with pacing issues. The human-centered humor was much worse and the whole movie just seemed to pit Transformers into fights for no apparent reason. It could be serviceable enough if you're a huge fan of the franchise and want to see robots kicking each others' asses, but it wasn't a good movie. Not by any standards. Also, Megan Fox's acting was so bad I literally think I could do a better job. At this point, we knew there was going to be a third movie, but a lot of people lost interest in Michael Bay's series. Myself not included. I wasn't super excited anymore, but the big Transformers fan in me never lost the curiosity of what the next movie was going to be like, and what Transfomers would be in it. Sure enough, we got the third installment on July 1st with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Just so you know, the movie itself makes the obligatory Pink Floyd reference so people don't. A lot of reviews and people are saying this movie is much better than the second - but is it truly worth your time? Has the series truly redeemed itself? Here's my take.


The movie picks up with good ol' Sam Witwicky graduating from college and looking for a job, with no luck. He has a new, completely unexplained love interest, Carly, and Mikaela is nowhere to be seen. That's good, I guess. I think this girl's prettier than Megan Fox (that's what matters with these characters, come on) and she actually acts better than Megan; not that that's a big accomplishment. So anyway, Carly has this amazing job with this car (how convenient) collector and Sam is unemployed, which makes him jealous. Dude's not the bread-winner in the relationship and he saved the world twice, that's gotta bomb that ol' self esteem.

But, let's back up. Since, you know, the movie does. To 1969, in fact. With astronauts Armstrong and Buzz blasting off to infinity and beyond. Bad joke; they go to the moon. And there they find a lost Autobot ship (of course they don't know this, but we do, since Optimus Prime explains it to us in his narrator form at the beginning of the movie) which had escaped Cybertron during the war with the Decepticons as the Autobots' only hope to win. Inside they find a huge robot, which appears to be dead or in some kind of sleep mode. That's Sentinel Prime, the former leader of the Autobots. Cool, huh? They leave it there and don't say anything to the public about their discovery.

Back to 2011, the Autobots are still working with the military, and after a battle in Chernobyl with a Decepticon they find a pillar thing (it's not much better described than that in the whole movie) which leads them to Sentinel in the moon (with Buzz's insight, too). They bring him back to Earth, hoping to revive him and introduce him to their new home planet. Everything sounds fine and dandy, if it weren't for the fact that Megatron is still alive and he's planning something. That Decepticon in Chernobyl works for him. Just saying. And thus, the plot unfolds.


The movie is very similar to the previous installments. It's sort of in the middle between the first and the second as far as unfolding and overall enjoyment factors, leaning a tiny bit toward the first. It's still packed with pacing issues, some plot points they flat-out don't feel like explaining or developing, and the plot overall is quite thin and predictable. But at least there's kind of a plot with some interesting (albeit predictable, like I said) twists, which the second movie absolutely lacked. However, the second half once again feels like it's an excuse to pit giant robots up against each other (at least they're in the city again this time). Everything happening in-between that is plot-related or isn't action gets shoved to the side and out of focus. A pretty significant character dies (that's not a spoiler, come on) and no one even comments on it. No one. He just dies, and everyone moves on never mentioning anything about him ever. What the hell? At one point, Sam's girlfriend manipulates Megatron (the freakin' leader of the Decepticons!) into doing what she wants, and he does, just for the plot's convenience; meaning, so it's easier for them to find more excuses for robots to beat each other up. What?!? Every time any human is slightly in danger, an Autobot (usually Bumblebee, sometimes Optimus) shows up out of nowhere and saves them. That "catching humans who are falling with their hands" thing is really getting old. There's a lot of instances like that where the movie feels cheap. Also, the movie ends like this: Pffft. That's the ending.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Something that definitely helped is 3D - the 3D in this movie is very well made and I give it my highest recommendation. Don't see this movie in 2D. I think it was just as good as Avatar as far as the whole "Wow, I'm in the future" feeling it gave. The Transformers have literally millions of pieces moving individually and it all looks so good, so detailed. Still, aside from that, it was an enjoyable movie. The action scenes were well thought-out and I thought the camera during these scenes (again, the 3D probably helped a bit) was especially better than it was in the last two films.


Bottom line, it's an enjoyable action movie and nothing more. It doesn't have those awful moments that make you cringe, or battles that happen for absolutely no reason that just feel cheap like the second did (it gets close, but it's not as bad as Revenge of the Fallen), but it's no masterpiece either. Far from it. As in, a masterpiece is the Earth, and this movie is Cybertron. But it's fun. Go see it if you're a fan of the franchise, or if you just like to see giant robots beating each other up. Or if you like to see tons of explosions and fire-power. You won't think, "Oh, that's BS that they're in a war, this sucks". If you go in with a "I'm just here to see a spectacle of action" mindset, you'll definitely enjoy it. I recommend it.

Autobots, roll out.

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Posted: 07/07/11, 14:48:07  - Edited by 
 on: 07/07/11, 14:49:52
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I've said this before, but blow stuff up and give me a hot chick to look at and I'm happy.
Posted: 07/07/11, 23:19:38
What if the hot chick was blown up? There's probably a fetish for that. There's a fetish for everything.

GelatinousEncore said:
The movie picks up with good ol' Sam Witwicky graduating from college and looking for a job, with no luck. He has a new, completely unexplained love interest, Carly, and Mikaela is nowhere to be seen. That's good, I guess. I think this girl's prettier than Megan Fox (that's what matters with these characters, come on) and she actually acts better than Megan; not that that's a big accomplishment.
But how does she handle those crucial bending-over scenes? Those are a pillar of the franchise.

Anyway, thanks for taking the bullet and watching this movie for us! Watching robots transform in 3D sounds pretty sweet. Sometimes, that's all you really need.
Posted: 07/08/11, 19:49:14
Anand said:

But how does she handle those crucial bending-over scenes? Those are a pillar of the franchise.

When we went to see Revenge of the Fallen, my buddy's wife wanted to know what kind of bra Megan Fox was wearing that kept her boobs from falling out during all the slow-motion running/boob-bounce scenes.
Posted: 07/08/11, 21:06:51
She filmed the whole movie naked. The clothing was CG.
Posted: 07/08/11, 21:07:49
@Anand

That would have been a nice set to be on...
Posted: 07/08/11, 22:53:53
@Anand Replaced with serious ass-remarking dresses. Kim Kardashian style.
Posted: 07/09/11, 01:07:37  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/11, 01:08:05
I'm going to post some spoilers: There are CG robots, a new girl, and, since this is a Michael Bay film, about 100db at all times of completely unnecessary noise pollution. For crying out loud, did you happen to catch how FUCKING LOUD it was when Bruce Willis was fixing to blow up that asteroid in Armegeddon? In space, no one can hear you scream BECAUSE YOU'RE ON A MICHAEL FUCKIN' BAY ASTEROID! TURN THAT SHIT DOWN!
Posted: 07/11/11, 00:37:20  - Edited by 
 on: 07/11/11, 00:38:02
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