Mini-Review Monday: Transformer: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the MoonRelease: June 23, 2011

Story: After saving the world in the last movie, Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LeBeouf on crack) is awarded a medal by the President. It is here he meets his new girlfriend for this movie, Carly (played by Victoria Secret Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Sam is now looking for a job but is finding his search unsuccessful until he lands a job at a business owned by a very strange guy played by John Malkovich. In the meantime, Carly works for a sinister businessman played by Patrick Dempsey. The story get less boring when the Autobots bring back to life their former leader, Sentinel Prime as voiced by the late great Leonard Nimoy. But all is not as it sees with Sentinel and the Decepticons have a terrible plan in store for Earth. It is up to Sam, Carly, the U.S. government, a bunch of soldiers (led by returning characters played by Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson), and Optimus Prime (voiced by the wonderful Peter Cullen) and the rest of the Autobots to save the world and blow things up.

Thoughts: This is your big trilogy finale, Michael Bay? THIS is how you choose to end things? This feels less like a finale and more like a strange 20 minute action scene. If I was a fan of your Transformers movies, Bay, this would not have felt like a satisfying conclusion to the first two films and their story. Nothing is wrapped-up, and the film just ends like the screenwriter suddenly stopped writing in the middle of a scene and then turned in his manuscript. There is nothing that makes the conclusion feel at all meaningful. Of course, using the word story in association with a Michael Bay film is like using the word drama with a Marx Bros. movie.

This isn’t as bad as everybody was leading me to believe. It doesn’t feel as long as the second one did. Just the opposite. The pace and story (which is light enough that it probably weighs the same as that feather from Forrest Gump) is such that the whole movie feels shorter than the first act of a normal film. There’s just nothing there. We get more humans fighting giant robots than we do Autobots fighting Decepticons, and most of the Transformers are so indistinguishable that when we do see them, you can’t tell which is which. All but Optimus Prime, Bumble Bee, and Nimoy’s character are grey or black blobs. I seriously had to be told which Transformer was Megatron. If any of them do have something unique about them visually, the characters are so two-dimensional and under developed that I couldn’t get myself to care. Michael Bay also continues his annoying habit of introducing brand new Autobots that were never in nor mentioned in any of the previous installments. So instead of developing the characters he has, he just keeps bringing in new characters for the sake of merchandising (where the real money for the movie is made).

I will give Whiteley a break. It’s obvious that Bay only put her in the movie for her looks after Megan Fox wasn’t going to do the movie, but I remember less gratuitous shots of Whiteley’s body than I do of Fox’s in Transformers 1 and 2. She’s still treated like a sex object. I just think she’s put in peril more than she’s being treated like an excuse for teenage males to wank-off. She has less character than Fox’s. Okay, she has no character. Not really. But what she does acting wise isn’t bad. Many will disagree with me about that, but I can’t criticize her, too much. She’s no Oscar winner but she’s fine.

LeBeouf is a whole nother story, but that’s a discussion for a different time. Suffice to say Transformers: Dark of the Moon isn’t the least bit interesting, exciting, creative, or fulfilling. Go play with some of the toys. They’re cooler and whatever you come up with storywise will be infinitely better than this piece of dull celluloid.

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