Review – Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Tuesday night at 9pm I settled into my movie seat with a smile on my face fully expecting a big screen 3D spectacle involving giant robots beating the crap out of each other. Transformers: Dark of the Moon starts off recounting the Cybertronian War in awesome 3D fx, with each moment getting me more and more excited, and making me forget the rather laughable second installment of Michael Bay‘s Transformers trilogy. Moments later we see Shia LaBeouf‘s Sam Witwicky’s latest hot girlfriend, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a camera angle that was to please the adolescent males (in both age and maturity) seeing this movie.
From there, the movie turned into a horrible, horrible mess devoid of a coherent plot and acting that involved lots of yelling. By the end of the film I found myself cheering on the bad guys to exterminate all of humanity and put me out of my misery and the chance we’d see a fourth film.
The film’s plot involves a plan to restore the Transformer’s destroyed planet of Cybertron. It’s a plot that was done earlier in the cartoon series and done better (and it had better acting). It’s one action sequence after the next, never really advancing any of the characters, and instead doing it’s best to mix humor and action and never finding the right balance. Characters are piled upon characters and plot point upon plot point until the final battle which looked as over done and needlessly complicated as the craptacular actionfest that preceded it.
What’s sad is, if the movie stuck with the straight action, eliminating the humor, the movie would have been better. the movie which runs almost 3 hours is just too long and not focused.
I can’t say I was expecting Shakespeare and the action sequences were great, but that’s what the movie was, one action sequence after another with little reason for why things were occurring. Instead of flying low to sneak troops in, we have copters choose not to land and instead climb high to force military forces to dive from the copters and swoop through the Chicago skyline in squirrel suits. A sequence that looks great, but is just complicated for no reason. The entire movie is a Rube Goldberg device (way to many steps to accomplish a simple task) instead of the lean action machine it should be.
You know a movie has issues when you walk out only to say, “at least there wasn’t racist robots.” Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an absolute skip.
Direction: The blame of the film lays at the feet of Michael Bay. His lesson from the bad reviews of the second movie, is the third needed more action, sadly that came at the expense of plot, character development and acting. Even his depiction of a city like Washington, DC is jumbled with the city at times looking more like NYC or LA. Please, please, please bring in new blood with a new vision for a fourth film. This movie was his vision, and I seriously question it.
Acting: The movie is packed with actors, so many of them calling it in or not being used. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Ken Jeong are just a few of the names who pop up for a bit to see their talents wasted with characters who aren’t needed. Patrick Dempsey plays McDreamy, with giant robots. Like the action and plot lines, there was just too many actors with too little to do.
Plot: As I said above, the cartoon series did this exact same thing, and better. Location changes, tonal changes, and dialogue that makes no sense litter the film. In a big battle someone yells “retreat” only to dive further into the fight. The tone of the film goes from great action to humor with a quick flip, and for no reason. Trim the humorous elements and you save yourself 45 minutes at least, steam line the film and make it more entertaining. It also didn’t help you could tell what was going to happen well before. I haven’t seen moves so choreographed since watching wrestling in the 90s.
3D: The beginning and a few action sequences are the entire use of the 3D for the movie. It shows the lack imagination by the director and the lost potential of the film.
Overall: Jesus christ I hope they fire everyone before making a fourth film. So far this is the worst film I’ve seen this summer and is only slightly better than The Green Hornet.