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July 4, 2011
 

Movie Mondays: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Title: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Peter Cullen, Josh Duhamel, and Hugo Weaving
Release Date: June 29th, 2011
MPAA: PG-13

When the Autobots discover a secret, a secret NASA and the government left on the dark side of the moon nearly fifty years ago, that could turn the tide in the war against the Decepticons, they must spring into action once more. The fate of humanity now rests in the hands of the Transformers, as well as Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and the other human allies.

Well, it’s the Fourth of July time. Time for the big fireworks both off screen and onscreen. And you can’t get more fireworks or blockbuster action than with a Michael Bay film.

However, I had plenty of reservations going in to to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Mainly because of the second film. It felt like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was my prison and Michael Bay was my inmate. However, I did like Transformers (first film) and some of Michael Bay’s other films, such as Bad Boys or Armageddon. So it was interesting to see what lessons Michael Bay learned from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and what mistakes he kept.

I guess what works in Spider-Man does NOT work in real life. Taken from http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1097514496/tt1399103

One lesson learned, was that there’s a lot more story with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It starts out during the sixties through seventies space missions. And like X-Men: First Class, it’s interesting to see real events blend in with pure fiction. In fact, a real life space hero makes a cameo, but I won’t tell you who.

Then it jumps to the present and we start a little bit after the events of the second film. It follows the Transformers film formula, which goes a little something like this…

  • Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is living a less than ordinary life.
  • In the meanwhile, Decepticons are plotting their newest plan, while the Autobots investigate.
  • Decepticons’ plans start to take effect.
  • Everyone from the Autobots to the CIA reunites.
  • Autobots and humans take actions, but Decepticons are already getting close to world domination.
  • BAYPOCALYPSE!
  • Autobots and humans win after one or two lesser known Autobots die.
  • Optimus Prime makes some statement about humans and being on Earth.
  • Linkin Park and credit roll.

Fortunately, the formula is much better executed than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Everyone’s back this time and there’s a lot to be told with all the events and different scenes going on. Fortunately, the script and film uses the two and a half hours to tell more story and a little bit about the characters, rather than fill it with mind numbing explosions.

I didn't know that the Reapers made a guest appearence in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Taken from http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3745954048/tt1399103

Speaking of characters, everyone’s back this time around. You have Shia LaBeouf, who acts similar to the previous films. Fortunately, there’s less “OPTIMUS!!!” and “nonononononono,” although unfortunately he acts a good deal of the time as a jealous, stubborn brat.

You have the Transformers, with great actors such as Transformers veteran Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), or Hugo Weaving (Megatron). There’s still the annoying robots Wheelie (Tom Kenny) and Brains (Reno Wilson), although they’re not as pestering as in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And the stereotypes such as Cockneybot Roadbuster (Ron Bottitta), but they aren’t nearly close to being as offensive as Skids and Mudflap.

Hey, isn't Soundwave supposed to look like…I don't know…A MOTHERF***ING CASSETTE PLAYER!? Taken from http://www.imdb.com/media/rm83082752/tt1399103

I’m also glad to say that John Turturro (as Agent Seymour Simmons) has something respectable to do, other than being pissed on or tea bagged. The parents (Kevin Dunn as Ron Witwicky and Julie White as Judy Witwicky) provide their comedic relief, sometimes funny and sometimes not so funny. Also, there’s Josh Duhamel (as Lt. Colonel William Lennox) and Tyrese Gibson (as Chief Robert Epps), both of whose acting I enjoy. They have a down-to-earth kind of approach, but also come off as interesting and competent.

The only one who’s not back is Megan Fox, who’s replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (as Carly Spencer). This casting decision isn’t a step forward in the right direction, but rather a sidestep or even back step. My main complaint with Huntington-Whiteley is not because she’s “too pretty” or “doesn’t represent real women” or whatever some may think. No, the real reason is that MODELS CAN’T ACT! Now, there are exceptions such as Marylin Monroe or Milla Jovovich, but exception Huntington-Whiteley is not. I don’t know why they couldn’t have gone with a pretty actress who could, well…act. And if they’re going simply for eye candy, then at least give me someone that I can say “Wow! What a gorgeous woman!” about. But of course, your reception is subjective to your tastes.

Get out of my dreams. Get into my car. Taken from http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3561404672/tt1399103

There’s also a lot of new actors aside from Huntington-Whiteley. Personally, my favorite is Alan Tudyk as Dutch, who is an ex-Dutch agent. And they also have heavy hitters such as John Malcovitch (as Bruce Brazos). But I’d rather have more focus being put on the Autobots or Lt. Colonel William Lennox and Chief Robert Epps, than Sam Witwicky’s new job or Carly Spencer’s boss Dylan Gould (played by Patrick Dempsey).

The one difference, and it may come as a shock to you, is that there aren’t that many explosions in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In case you thought I had made a typo, let me repeat it again. There aren’t many explosions. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of action and destruction, but not everything is a two ton napalm bomb waiting to explode. Maybe it was because of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or Robot Chicken‘s hilarious “Baysplosion,” but whatever the reason, Bay smartened up. However, that doesn’t mean that all is well with the action scenes, because there are a ton of slo-mo shots. I’d be impressed if anyone can tell me the number of slo-mo shots (and extra credit to whoever can tell me the number of unnecessary closeups).

BAYSPLOSION!!! Taken from http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3712399616/tt1399103

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a film that has an OK story, but a lot of action and a lot of teenage humor. You know how some adults are described as “just a big kid”? Well, I believe Michael Bay is a big thirteen-year-old boy. Which is to say that some of the stuff in Transformers: Dark of the Moon annoys me like a thirteen-year-old would, and other stuff brings out the thirteen-year-old in me.

Michael Bay shows his groundbreaking directorial style. Taken from http://screenrant.com/michael-bay-reality-tv-show-one-way-out-mikee-54305/

So basically Transformers: Dark of the Moon is much like Transformers, which had a lot of action, some clever and not so clever humor, was hated by the critics, and was solely made to be an entertaining blockbuster and nothing more.

If you liked the first Transformers, you’ll probably enjoy this one. If you disliked the first Transformers, then you should probably avoid this one. And if you’re a afraid that this will just be another Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, then I can gladly say that there’s nothing to fear with Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Andrew Hudson
ahudson@comicattack.net
@Hudsonian

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