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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

A movie directed by Michael Bay

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Too Much Excessive, Inane Issues Hamper The Potential Gritty Appeal of The Robot Fights...

  • Jul 1, 2011
Rating:
+2
Allow me to re-elaborate how I felt about the first two films in the “Transformers” saga directed by Michael Bay and co-produced by Steven Spielberg. I know that the films were never faithful to the cartoon series nor to the 80’s comic books, but we have to remember that those two installments were made to promote a toy line from Hasbro and so all three films have the label “based on the Hasbro toys“ and this trilogy of films were made to sell more toys. The first film was made around a simple formulaic plot, flawed but it was enough to generate popcorn summer entertainment. Now the second film had better robot fights but a plot that just insulted several levels of my IQ. “Revenge of the Fallen” was just so disastrous that even members of its cast said the movie was terrible.

Well, this time, “Dark of the Moon” attempts to salvage the franchise from potential ruin, after the first sequel had nearly committed suicide by featuring humping robots, amateurish scripting, drew a few racial flags and featured robotic testicles (this time, Bay replaces it with gray robotic hair). “Dark of the Moon” is Michael Bay’s apology as he listened to some of the complaints, and while it was a tad better (a small tad) than the previous movie, it really isn’t saying much. It still wasn’t a good movie and just failed on other different levels.

                            Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

                            A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

                            A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is now an adult and after helping to save the world two years ago, he is struggling to find decent employment. It is only his super-hot new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) who makes things easier for the young man. But some things never change, as a threat from several years ago when the first man walked on the moon have resurfaced to threaten the world. The Autobots led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) seemed to have the Decepticons reeling as Megatron (Hugo Weaving) himself is sent into hiding to lick his wounds. But when belief that the legendary Autobot leader Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy) may be stuck on the moon, the Autobots mobilize but they may be aiding in the birth of a new threat. So it is up to Sam, Agent Simmons (John Turturro), the armed forces (including Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson) to try and aid the Autobots against the new rise of the Decepticon threat and the arrival of Cybertron….

I really don’t know why the creators of this franchise seem to have issues following the formula established in the first “Transformers” film. I mean it was simple enough and it is easy to extend the mythos of the Transformers universe. “Dark of the Moon” has a better core premise than the previous film; it had more thought and potential as to how it could incorporate certain devices and characterization, it was even darker as there were more scenes of harsh death that gave it some gritty appeal. "Dark of the Moon" has themes of betrayal and working together, even strong hints of freedom; true, it is formula but this wasn't the issue. The problem lies in the way the direction had executed the screenplay, it just so riddled with plot holes, plot missteps that anyone would be able to see them. Now I am not expecting something filled with intricacies, but that is the thing; it tries to add intricacies and forgets about them. The scripting and the editing was very inept and uncaring, the film feels like it was just there to display huge robot fights and made no attempts to make a credible script.

                      A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

                     A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

                    A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

I mean, I am all for fast-paced direction to keep a film’s momentum, but I could not believe how the scripting and the direction could ignore certain plot details. The screenplay is awkward and rather over-edited, one minute you see one scene and then you see another, and then all of a sudden something happens and they forget the “wristwatch” worn by Sam (nor remember the 'energon power source  scanners'). I cannot fully discuss this without spoiling the movie but those flaws were there, staring at my face. The dialogue and interactions in the first half was also very predictable which renders it boring. Bay and the script by Ehren Kruger tries to use the usual slapstick humor to keep its flow and I have to admit they did try to restrain it a little. There were some issues with its pacing as some parts just slowed down the film, I mean there were fights here and there, but the emotional impact was lost amid all the bad canned exchanges between Sam and Carly, the forced comedy between Simmons and Mearing (Frances McDormand) became an annoyance and several devices that went nowhere. I also have an issue with the way Bay introduces new characters, he seemed to keep their personalities as close to human as possible; which shouldn’t be a bad thing, but not entirely this way. The new “Wreckers”, “Sidewinder” and “Ironhide” were there, but they never made much of an impression. Sentinel Prime, “Shockwave” and “LaserBeak’s” appearances were welcome since they did have a reference to the classic series.

                           Too Much Excessive, Inane Issues Hamper The Potential Gritty Appeal of The Robot Fights...

                            A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

As for the robot fights, well, they were a little of a step backward to the fights of the previous films. Not that the special effects were bad, actually they were improved, but the battles had nothing behind all the hits, the explosions and the intensity just didn’t make it for me. The film’s lousy editing truly hurt the film, I just could not believe how they fumbled the robot fights that I found it lacking in its supposed sense of urgency and intensity. There was also too much going on, and the viewer wasn’t allowed to settle into the “anatomies” of its fight sequences. One minute, an Autobot was on the ropes, and then they retreat and then someone swoops in, it all became redundant after awhile. There was also a nausea-inducing gliding scene that went too long. I just didn’t care really who lived and who fell. Now the new decepticons weren’t exactly in full view but their ship's designs did look like a cross between “District 9” and “Terminator Salvation” ships, I even saw inspirations taken from the “Metroplex” storyline and some features from the Autobot “Skyfire” (from the cartoon).

                           

                           Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly Miller in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

                           A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

As for the characters, well, they all seemed under-utilized and John Malcovich have a short screen time. Sam’s parents were once again in this feature and they serve as unneeded, obnoxious comedic devices but thankfully not for too long. Huntington-Whiteley was a looker, but I just couldn’t connect with her character; she was just there to satisfy the needs for another hot female lead, ala-Megan Fox. Turturro is annoying in his role as Simmons but this was intentional, so I cannot complain. LaBeouf seemed to be more reserved in yelling “Optimus!!” but he still does the open-mouthed goofball character that annoyed me to no end.

“Dark of the Moon” does have some robotic apocalyptic drama going for it; it had a more inspired plot than the first sequel, but I have said it before and I will say it again. Michael Bay is a decent action director but his skill in storytelling and this time editing is just so ham-fisted and callous. I wonder if there is an extended cut since I could see several scenes that felt incoherent, but at already 157 minutes, the film is just too long to get around with its bad scripting. At least, there are no overdone jive-talking robots (well there still are, but not as much as the "Twins" in the previous film) and the scenes with “Shockwave” did look menacing. The building demolition scene was also indeed cool ( not a spoiler since it was seen from the trailers). Michael Bay has made another brainless, popcorn summer film, while it does have its share of grittiness, it only does it right 50 % of the time. The other half is all about things you wouldn't care at all. It spends too much time with the bad parts just to get to the good parts, and when it does, you just become uninterested and barely even care anymore....

RENTAL [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
Note: Seeing this in Standard DLP would suffice, NO 3D necessary.

Poster art for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."  Poster art for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience."

Poster art for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience." 




 
 
 
Too Much Excessive, Inane Issues Hamper The Potential Gritty Appeal of The Robot Fights... Too Much Excessive, Inane Issues Hamper The Potential Gritty Appeal of The Robot Fights... Too Much Excessive, Inane Issues Hamper The Potential Gritty Appeal of The Robot Fights...

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July 02, 2011
Great one Woo--I'm not missing anything obviously..
July 02, 2011
nope you are not. You should see STAKE LAND or VANISHING ON 7TH STREET instead.
July 02, 2011
Never heard of either one of those; where have I been? LOL The hubby wants to see it anyway simply cause he likes action and doesn't really care about a plot LOL -- I disagree!!
July 03, 2011
reviews are under my profile. I do would like you to see "VANISHING..."since it was directed by the director of the horror film SESSION 9. Well, you just have to see it then since it is a long weekend. :)
 
July 02, 2011
Sounds like a good time if you shut your brain off. I feel obligated to see this because I caught a shoot for one of the fight scenes on video - which I uploaded to Youtube earlier this year when I was still in Chicago. I'm curious about how the final product turned out. I endured the shoots of Wanted and The Dark Knight too.
July 02, 2011
I do think that turning off the brain would be the best approach to this film. Honestly this had a more inspired core plot than "Revenge of the Fallen", but the execution took too long to get to where it had to be. It could've easily gotten rid of several characters and cut 40 minutes off its runtime. It should've instead focused on the details on the road to the confrontation, and this would answer all the plot holes. I almost wondered if the script was re-written a few times, it felt that way.
 
July 02, 2011
I will wait for the DVD or something, great review WP.
July 02, 2011
see it if you really feel that you need to. But see it matinee, no 3D required.
 
July 01, 2011
Maybe Michael Bay should... stop, now?
July 01, 2011
Hi, Dev, I am just dumbfounded how he slipped up this bad. I liked him during the days when he made THE ROCK and that movie was even selected for Criterion dvd release. I think he should stop...thanks for reading my rant...er...review ;P
July 01, 2011
Why of course. It was highly amusing :P
July 02, 2011
The Rock proved that somewhere in his coke-laden, spoiled rich frat boy jock mind, Michael Bay actually has good, solid talent as a director.
July 02, 2011
I agree, Bay is a good action-visual director, I just cannot figure out what is going on...maybe he just needs a break to re-tool his creative juices.
 
July 01, 2011
Is someone holding your family hostage? Have you been blackmailed? Lose a bet? No? Then why would you watch this robo-crap?!
July 01, 2011
You may say that I got dragged along and the ticket was free. LOL!
July 01, 2011
Free ticket, nothing else playing, not even a gun to my head could get me into the theatre for these films.
July 01, 2011
I said that before...and I ended up eating my words when you get asked by the right folks LOL!
July 01, 2011
Please tell me that you didn't see this with a date.
July 01, 2011
someone's birthday....I tend to do whatever the celebrant wants to do on their big day.
July 01, 2011
For my birthday do me a favor and don't watch any Michael Bay movies. LOL! We don't want you losing any more brain cells due to his films.
July 01, 2011
I know...the script was just so clumsy.
 
July 01, 2011
Well, this time, “Dark of the Moon” attempts to salvage the franchise from potential ruin, after the first sequel had nearly committed suicide by featuring humping robots, amateurish scripting, drew a few racial flags and featured robotic testicles (this time, Bay replaces it with gray robotic hair).

Um...ewww? What self respecting film maker does something like that? That right there reminds me of a really squicky Gundam fanfic I read years ago.  I actually thought I had forgotten the images that mess had seared into my mind until I read this review. *twitches* Speaking of which, I've always been excited whenever I hear rumors about a live-action Gundam movie, but considering the Transformers trilogy I hope that never, ever happens. I used to love the Transformers cartoon when I was a kid, but I don't think I'm interested in any of these movies.

Thanks for this, William. I think I'm glad I haven't bothered spending the money. ^^ 
July 01, 2011
I know what you mean, I am stunned how Bay would even consider those things as viable plot devices. I too, am hopeful for a good Gundam film, but I think I'd rather have the Japanese do that adaptation since they are really good with mecha. I cringe to think what H-wood will be doing to Cowboy Bebop and Robotech, I am so afraid that they will begin to ruin the anime we have grown to love. You bet, if you may see this as a rental, I'd like to just do a review so readers can decide for themselves if a movie is for them or not. I take it you haven't seen "Revenge of the Fallen"?
July 01, 2011
No, and I doubt I will. Whenever I see promos that start off with "Critics agree..." I basically lose interest. Seems to me when the critics agree, the general population doesn't. I'd be much more likely to see movies like this if they had the names Spielberg or Lucas attached to them.
July 01, 2011
Good...you are not missing anything. This franchise has been co-produced by Spielberg...as to how far his influence was, I dunno LOL!!
 
July 01, 2011
I don't know why Bay continues to fit so many annoying characters in this movie and make the Transformers so secondary in the early movies. Even the first one, would tease you with Transformers here and there in between TOO MANY ANNOYING HUMANS.
July 01, 2011
I know what you mean. The Transformers were interesting characters by themselves. I have no idea why Bay seems to never get back on track after THE ROCK. You may want to save this as a rental since...well, there are more humans here. annoying as ever. LOL!
July 01, 2011
I've already heard some online video reviews of this saying that it is the best of the three but again with STUPID CHARACTERS like Deep Wang, Shia's mom and how Shia is moping about having a lingerie model girlfriend and his own palace of an apartment. WEAK. As one video reviewer said, "Shia is a dweeb." I don't mind John Turturro and I do want to see Nimoybot kick butt.
July 01, 2011
I have to admit, it is darker and grittier, but the script and the direction just fumbles all its potentials. I mean, I don't want to spoil it, but Bay is a terrible storyteller.
 
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Wiki


Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the third and final film in the Transformers film series, directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the sequel to Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and is scheduled for release on July 1, 2011, in Real D 3D, regular 2D theaters and IMAX.[1]

Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro are set to reprise their starring roles, with Peter Cullen returning as the voice of Optimus Prime. Ehren Kruger, who collaborated in the writing of the second film, was said to be again involved in the writing. Despite having initially been confirmed for the film,[2] and with the film already into principal photography, it was announced that Megan Fox would not be reprising her role from the previous two films. With Fox's character Mikaela being dropped, Sam was assigned a new love interest, who will be played by English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Also, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, having written the first two films, will not return for the third installment in the series,[3] which Orci had earlier somewhat anticipated, fearing the duo would "risk getting stale".[4] Bay has stated this would be his last installment in the series.[5]
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformers:_Dark_of_the_Moon
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Details

Director: Michael Bay
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 1 July 2011 (USA)
Screen Writer: Ehren Kruger
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