Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Welcome to the world of Michael Bay, where intellect, coherence and subtlety are irrelevant. The glorification of the spectacle is king. Where explosions of shrapnel resonate as sparkling fireworks in a glittering display across the firmament. Humanity and emotion have no place here. Be gone! The visuals are what’s important. Yet again Michael Bay has delivered a product that suffers from the identical issues that plague all of his Transformers films. But who can blame him? They’ve been wildly successful. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is obviously his axiom. Admittedly there have been some minor improvements over the 2nd installment. The computer graphics are slowed down a bit so you can actually tell who’s fighting who in the combat scenes, for example. However, he delivers more of the same noisy, convoluted clutter. This movie is beset  with a lot of problems.

Let’s start with the story. We’re informed in flashback that in 1962, an alien shuttle commandeered by Sentinel Prime hit Earth’s moon, crashing there, and its impact was detected by NASA. This was the secret underlying reason for President John F. Kennedy’s desire to land a man on the moon. We later discover the shuttle contains Sentinel Prime’s comatose body and 5 Pillars which have the power to establish a mobile space bridge, a threat which could allow foreign invaders, namely the Decepticons, to attack Earth. That doesn’t even begin to explain all the unabridged exposition that comprises the plot, but it involves some nonsense about Decepticons wanting to rebuild their alien planet Cybertron by strip-mining the Earth for resources and using people as slave labor.

What should have been a simple episode of robots attacking Earth, is given a needlessly confusing treatment. It’s almost headache inducing in its complexity. An epic 155 min length hinders this science fiction that could have easily been told in 90 min. The first 2 hours lays the groundwork for the climatic assault that makes up the final third and obvious zenith. It‘s essentially a justification. The highlight comes when a worm-like robot used for drilling purposes is sent into the fray to topple a Chicago high-rise and kill Sam Witwicky and his friends. The closing showdown led by the malevolent Deception, Shockwave, and the honorable Autobot Optimus Prime, is indeed an eye-catching marvel of technology. Director Michael Bay even highlights genuine Wingsuit men that he had fly between buildings in downtown Chicago. It’s truly amazing footage. It’s one of the few things that seems real because it IS real.

The actors are irrelevant. No one gives anything even remotely reassembling a performance. Shia LaBeouf is back as star Sam Witwicky. He’s not likable this go around, mostly whining about not being able to find a job. Just what I wanted in a summer blockbuster, to be reminded of the recession. The main human baddie is Patrick Dempsey who is a playboy-type accountant that is about as threatening as er..um…an actual accountant, to be quite honest. His villain would be more at home in an episode of The Young and the Restless than at the center of a big budget theatrical action film like this. John Malkovich and Frances McDormand trade in on their Oscar status and collect paychecks for work that is clearly rooted firmly in camp. Certainly more bizarre is actor Ken Jeong as a paranoid software programmer. I think he was trying to be helpful by warning Sam at work, but he does it in such a cartoonish spastic way, it was off-putting. Much has been made of Megan Fox’s replacement Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as, Sam’s girlfriend. The truth is, I didn’t mind her. She mostly stares blankly whenever something explodes, but she looks great doing it. She’s a Victoria’s Secret model and when you know that, her portrayal is surprisingly impressive. I don’t recall her saying anything moronic, which is more than I can say for the rest of the cast.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is no different from the other two. It’s obnoxiously loud and incoherent. A cacophony of mayhem that is ridiculously complex when it should simply be fun. A trifecta of bad script, uninteresting characters and tedious length, unite to destroy what could have been an exciting tale of good versus evil. If Michael Bay had eliminated the human actors, cut the running time in half, tightened the narrative, and focused on the ultimate battle, this would’ve gotten a positive review. But as it stands now, it’s a cinematic monument to raucously prolonged incoherence.

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3 Responses to “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

  1. Markus Robinson Says:

    Great review! I though the film was much more entertaining than you did, but I do agree with most of the points you have made here. With the elimination of Fox being almost unrelievnt to the success of the movie, it does reiterate your point that the characters preformacnes really don’t matter in this franchinse. I also strongly agree that all the hatered around the new girl is uncalled for. There are major flaws in this film (for one, the mind numbing exposition), but her preformance isn’t one of them. Btw I liked Ken Jeong’s bit preformance here lol, way better than the one in “The Hangover”.

  2. Your review is very well written. Wow!, great job. Plot was dumb, but I did like the last hour of the film. It was just “okay”.

  3. Great, great review, Mark! Loved it! 🙂

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