Better. Not great. Not excellent … but better.
Sadly, I am predicting that many of my fellow film critics
will use these or combinations of these words to describe the extremely loud,
action-packed, humanly-challenged, way-too-long, summer thrill ride that is
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
Back in the director seat for his third ride around
Cybertron is director Michael Bay (“Bad Boys,” Pearl Harbor,” “The Rock”).
Ready with some of the newest technology in 3D filmmaking and, apparently some
guidance from James Cameron, Bay set out to make his Robot epic … and man did
he come close.
Set a few years after the events in Egypt, the Autobots have
snuggled nicely into becoming America’s weapon of mass destruction against
terrorism. Now, fully immersed in the government’s pocket, the good guys work
for us. However, taking a stroll through memory lane … we learn that the a few
world governments and the Transfomers go back a little longer than what we
realized. Now, with all the facts, a weapon is rediscovered that could hold the
key to winning the long waged war between the Autobots and the Decepticons.
Sounds fun … right? Well it is and it isn’t.
Overfilled with too many ridiculous human characters and too
shallow with Transformers, this film is completely unbalanced. Actors and
actresses come in and out of this movie, making for a few sometimes funny but
mostly plot dragging moments that take away from what really matters in the
film … Giant Fighting Robots. Here is just a sampling of names … John Tuturro,
Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Alan Tudyk and Buzz Aldrin all
show up to add their own spark to the film. Seem a little heavy? You’re right.
With an already full cast of characters, our multiple hero characters feel a
little saturated. Shia LaBeouf, back again as Sam, seems to feel so lost that
he has to shout every single one of his lines while Josh Duhamel works his ass off to
get in front of the camera, only to get undercut by Tyrese Gibson in the second
Of all the new characters, there are two that stand out.
Surprisingly, it’s Patrick Dempsey and new resident hottie, Rosie
Huntington-Whiteley. What? Yeah, my reaction as well. Dempsey starts out as a
stereotypical, rich, handsome boss character but quickly becomes a little more
than meets the eye. Along with that, while at times she gets dropped into the
damsel in distress role, Huntington-Whiteley also has brains for a change and is
able to hold her own in the hour-long finish to the film.
Hour-long finish? Hold on … what was that?
Yup. Aside from the issues with the human side of things,
the ending of this film is an action-junkie’s wet dream. Chicago becomes a staging ground for hell
and it is destroyed in beautiful fashion. Seriously, at one point I could feel
my eyes dilate from the awesomeness. This is what we as fans have been looking
for and while I still say that these scenes, like the rest of the film, were
too focused on the humans, it cannot be denied that this is popcorn theater at
Yet … what is the deal with the length of the film?
Way too long is the only way to describe this film. It just
goes on and on, bringing back old characters, adding sub-plot, bringing in new
characters and on and on and on. The opening scene, while interesting and adds
to the overall mythos of the film, drags overtime and tries to beat you over
the head with the idea of government cover-ups. Then, audiences are given a
glimpse of what we came to see, but then we are pulled away, just so we can
follow Sam acting like a sad sack in his stylistically cool Washington D.C.
apartment, while he wallows in self-pity to his semi-naked Victoria’s Secret
modelesque girlfriend. Part of it is entertaining and LaBeouf is extremely
likable, but come on.
There really is more to nit-pick, but really, that’s all it
will be. Nit-picking.
While not perfect, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is a
fun, summer ride for popcorn junkies and film fanatics. Riddled with plot
holes, character issues and an unhealthy unbalance in favor of the humans, the
film does make up a lot of the ground lost due to the debacle that is the
second film in the franchise. Solid action and few moments of cool (see
Laserbeak go on his assassination run or Bubblebee transforming into robot form
to fight, grab Sam and then transform again into car form seamlessly) help keep
this one stay above water. Mass audiences will like it for the humor, while
fanboys will rip it a part, but there is no denying that amidst all the product
placement, military love and slow-motion scenes, Michael Bay knows how to make
a summer movie.
3 out 5 Parasitic Mechanical Bugs
P.S. For those of you that know me … I hate 3D. I have seen
only two live action films where 3D has worked. The first is “Avatar” and the
second is … “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” I would splurge for the
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