Saturday, July 02, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

Unlike 'Revenge of the Fallen', part three actually has a plot, or at least starts with one before the movie lapses into nonsense.

Between Megan Fox getting fired, Shia LaBeouf claiming that the film has "a lot of human death," that this was their "best film to date," and that "you don't breathe" during the action-packed last hour of the movie, and apparently Steven Spielberg claiming this is the best use of 3D to date even trumping Avatar, Dark of the Moon had a lot of hype to live up to and a lot to make up for after the travesty that was Revenge of the Fallen. Not surprisingly, it does fall victim to a few famous Bay-isms a handful of times.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is easily the best written movie of the Transformers franchise. Irritating characters don't receive much screen time. In the very least, it's at least a definite improvement over Revenge of the Fallen in that aspect.

 At the beginning of the movie, we have this rather stunning scene of Cybertron at war that bleeds into the moon landing of 1969. The whole thing is put together surprisingly well as actual footage and movie magic almost make Sentinel Prime and The Ark crashing on the moon feel genuine. That sucks you in rather effortlessly, but it's ruined after we jump to a scene with Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) waking up Sam (Shia LaBeouf) talking about a lucky bunny. There was news of Michael Bay claiming he may not work with Shia LaBeouf again since he's become like a cranky, old man on set and that seems to translate on screen. Sam is pretty whiny this time around and complains a lot.

It does feature some of the most mindblowing special effects to hit a 3D movie screen. The SFX  in this movie are pretty much unparalleled compared to the first two movies. There are certain scenes that seem like Michael Bay returned to an idea from one of the previous two movies to do it again this time around and do it bigger and with better camera positioning; almost as if he was like, "THIS is what I meant for it to look like."

This one seems to take it to the next level though. The slow-motion effect continually used throughout the movie will blow your mind as it gives you a moment to digest this explosive spectacle you've just witnessed. The movie is worth seeing for the last hour alone. That's where the insanity kicks into high gear. The last hour is captivating mostly because it's just nonstop giant robot destructive mayhem that entire time, which is pretty much the only thing you want to see in a movie like this.

Dark of the Moon may be a bit darker than you're expecting if you haven't kept up with all the news revolving around the movie. Main characters die, and there is a countless number of humans that die. The movie makes a statement; this is the biggest threat they have or ever will face.

Dark of the Moon falls victim to lame dialogue and weak story points at times, but it will more than likely go unnoticed by the average moviegoer as the last hour tries to compensate any weaknesses the movie may have with extravagant and extremely impressive special effects littered amongst destructive and catastrophic chaos.


The best thing about these movies is how they look, how well the transformers integrate into the real-life footage to make a compelling action sequence.

 There a several action set pieces (specifically towards the end) which are easily some of the best of the trilogy. The whole scene with the collapsing building and the tracking shot of Optimus slicing and smashing his way through a bunch of decepticons are colossal showstoppers.


The villains suck.

The Portion before the interval.

Megatron does nothing throughout the whole film that you expect from a trilogy villain,

Shockwave appears briefly at the start and vanishes for two hours, he himself doesn't actually do much, it's all down to this big ambigious tentacle-clad transfomer he works with.

Starscream does nothing, but then he never did anything anyway.

The main villain gets numerous chances to kill Optimus once and for all, but like all lousy villains he delays his hand and Optimus lives.

The duration of the movie is a bottom-numbing two-and-a-half hours.


The acting here ranges from Tolerable to Impossibly-Bad.

There are actors here that have been in some high quality material that just blatantly signed onto this because
A) they wanted a paycheck ,
B) they have nothing else on their schedules I mean John Malkovich (Bruce Brazos) and Frances McDormand (Bearing) are Oscar nominees who are so unbelievably bad in this movie they make Shia Lebeouf look like River Phoenix.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Carly) is the most wooden actress i've seen in ages.

Megan Fox (Mikaela)would look like an Oscar-caliber actress compared to Rosie.

John Turturro (Agent Simmons) is the best part of the film and provides much of the comic relief that works.


The 3D is better than the slew of recent 3D movies. One major critique of 3D is that 3D glasses make the film darker, but the film itself is brighter than your average movie and this problem evens itself out. Another thing that worried me before I saw it is that if there was so much high-speed action maybe that and the combination of 3D would give me motion sickness, end of the movie: no problems.


The tone of the human interactions is saucy and insincere, played broadly and cartoonishly. Oddly, the actual cartoon characters, the robots, are the ones with the serious dialog and motivations. This is at least consistent with the movie's general attitude that they're the only ones worth caring about.

It also felt like Optimus spent a good hour tied up away from the action and spent a good portion of this movie just hanging around. One of the major villains  is easily manipulated and the Nascar autobot additions are pretty pointless. There are times throughout the movie where you can pretty much figure out who's going to die and who's going to make it. What the decepticons will gain through this whole thing isn't exactly made clear either.

The survival of our heroes against all odds is not even remotely plausible.

In this entry however, the entire second half of the movie has that 'end of the world' feel to it, and it's pulled off very well.

We have some new additions to the mechanical cast here, include a red Ferrari, an ancient prime and one huge mother of a mechanical worm that you may have seen tearing a building in two during the trailer. The transformers also get some new weapons and alternate modes to keep it fresh.

In the first one, Megatron, the main villain of the franchise and the leader of the Decepticons  was nearly god-like in strength (to the point where I think Optimus Prime was hard done by). In the second one we find out that he has been mysteriously bowing down to the Fallen all along - which would seem to go entirely against his character. And in this one ***SPOILER***  he has such a small and insignificant role in this film he is all depressed and doesn't take part in any action sequences until the very end - which only lasts for a few seconds. ***SPOILER***  

Shockwave disappoints with his vocabulary and fighting prowess. He looked menacing and got several camera angles and character remarks that suggested he would have a more significant role.

Also the romance dialogue between Sam and his girlfriend is quite weak and actually takes away rather than adds to the movie

There haven't been too many franchises that embrace grand-scale spectacle the way the Transformers movies have. Filled with enough cars, chases, hot women, explosions, mayhem, the new movie in the series tries something new. It tries to fill it in with emotion, and ends up lacking more at the same time. But then again, you will walk out with a little satisfaction just because of the action filled experience.

But at the same time, you can't help but being distracted by so many story lines that are going off while the exciting engaging scenes are there at the same time. They are only forgivable by some great action set pieces that formulate near the end. If you're going to watch this movie for some reason, watch for the last one hour, it is indeed an immersive experience.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" can also induce mental and metal fatigue, especially with the clanging robots smashing one another – with some exercises making little sense.

Technically brilliant and visually arresting, the only problem for me is that "Dark Of The Moon" lacks heart and soul


WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Close-up of Rosie’s butt, Slow-motions, OPTIMUS in his PRIME, Ferrari 458 Italia

WHAT NOT TO WATCH FOR: Sanity, actors holding any certificate of passing from a decent acting school, coherence in the plot, overtly crude humour

The Selling Point

The Big Picture Says It All

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