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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

A movie directed by Michael Bay

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  • Jun 29, 2011
Rating:
-2
There is something to admire about Michael Bay.  He makes the movies he wants to make and doesn't care what the critics or anyone else thinks.  He knows exactly what his fans want and always manages to deliver on that front.  There is something quite admirable about a man who wants to simply sit back and make senseless movies.  That's actually not an insult, it's a compliment.  That doesn't mean I like Michael Bay movies, but it does mean that I have no big qualms with him.  He's not faking it.  Not trying to make something that he believes will wow everyone but rather that people can have fun with.  And admittedly enough I do have fun with Michael Bay films.  Not because they're good.  If there's anything about Michael Bay it is that his movies are not good.  But I do enjoy picking at them.  And there are no movies more fun to pick at than his Transformers films.

Notoriously (or not so much, depending on how you look at it) I absolutely hated Transformers Revenge of the Fallen.  It is one of the few movies I went negative on... and not only went negative but gave it the full -5 treatment.  The movie was so much of a mess that it was hardly that much fun to even watch and pick at.  However, I didn't mind the first one too much.  For all it's odd moments it was still rather fun and actually seemed to make the tiniest amount of sense.  When it comes to Michael Bay and so-called bad movies I have to point out that what made Revenge of the Fallen such a disaster was that it hardly seemed like Michael Bay had paid attention to his own plot established in the first film.  It could be because he brought in a different screenwriter, but for the most part it was because Revenge of the Fallen loaned itself to gaping plot holes you could sail a cruise ship through.  Some of the same stuff happens with this third installment.

The third film starts off in a somewhat interesting manner.  It begins forty years before the film actually takes place.  Cybertron, the home of the autobots and decepticons is not at all going to be saved and so they sent out a pod called "The Ark" to transfer these pillars.  It's piloted by an autobot called The Sentinel who was the leader.  It crashes on the moon.  Going into conspiracy theory territory at this point, the film presents an alternate history in which the real reason we entered the space race was to find out what this thing was that crash landed on the moon... and beat the soviets to it.  This actually starts off as a little interesting, but goes into strange territory once we get to the present day where we discover those dasterdly decepticons are (surprise) deceiving humans to try and find the ship that crashed on the moon.  If there's one thing about Michael Bay's canon with these films it is that he doesn't seem to pay too much attention to it.  We can forgive that no one ever mentions anything like this in the first two films.  What is odd, however, is bringing up plot points from the second film that the bad guys hardly paid much attention to (The Matrix, which was a deus ex machina to begin with) is suddenly important to them despite that they hardly seemed to care before.  It's interesting to see Bay splice in some historical fantasy, but he never quite connects things well enough.  In particular he never really establishes the big connection to the second film we're meant to see.  It's good in one sense because it means you don't have to see the second film to actually understand anything which happens in the third.  On the other hand, it only makes the glaring plot holes through Bay's canon more obvious when you sit back and consider them.

Another big part of the story that's a shame to behold is dumping Megan Fox.  As much as I'm not too big on Megan Fox, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Sam's new girlfriend, Carly, is a lot more empty of a character.  Her only job seems to be for her to look hot most of the time.  She adds absolutely nothing to the story or to Sam's character.  We get a quick explanation as to why Mikaela is no longer there (well, sort of) but for the most part she's mostly there to give teenage boys something to oogle.  And as you can imagine her acting is as dry as ever.  But it's unfair to expect a lot of high caliber acting from a film like Transformers.  It's the action we came to see.

But the story is disjointed.  The script seems to suffer from the same issues as the previous film.  While it is a lot tighter than Revenge of the Fallen to be sure (the plot holes aren't quite as obvious) it is still disjointed in some manner.  There are plenty of moments where you'll wonder how it is that NO ONE seems to notice the presence of Transformers.  They KNOW they exist, but in moments such as those loud mechanical beings say... attacking and killing a man in his office... no one seems to notice he's being attacked.  They only notice him being pushed out the window.  Even more amusing is that despite his actions in the first two films, the government seems to pretend Witwicky did absolutely nothing.  Case in point, the new leader of Sector 7 seems quite dismissive of Sam.  This only serves to open the door to Sam whining about how no one recognizes his efforts from the first two films and how they won't really trust him now.  He wants to be in on the action because... you know, he totally didn't survive a huge collapsing city in the first one and he most certainly wasn't in egypt saving Optimus Prime.  Yep, it is clear that Sam's life is totally boring because he had to run from danger and risk his life to save Optimus.  What makes the difference?  The fact that this time he actually gets a gun.  No, seriously, that's it.  That's the action he craves.  To be able to use weapons. 

For those disappointed that there was little attention paid to the robots, they'll be more disappointed here where even a human turns out to be one of the villains.  The story is almost all about the humans here with the autobots helping out a little bit.  For the most part it's hard to tell if the humans of earth want the help of the Autobots are not when it comes to the Decepticons plot.  One minute they're blaming the autobots for things going wrong and wanting to exile them... but just moments later they don't seem to care that they're back.  Everything concerning the plot moves at such a breakneck pace that the motivations and actions of the good guys... and bad, can be strange to behold. 

There are some twists in the plot but nothing you won't see coming.  Some of them only open up more questions.  Really, the big question becomes why Michael Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger felt so strongly that they had to stuff so much into a plot for a movie that clearly doesn't care much about it?

The film also suffers from the same typical Michael Bay follies.  Scenes that are a little too overdramatic, but without first providing any context for the emotion.  Take for example Sam's relationship with Carly... we have NO IDEA how deep it goes.  The only context we're really given is "Boy Toy," but aside from that Carly only seems to emote the: "You care more about saving the world than me!"  So in moments where Sam is desperately trying to save her or when she's gone and he's hurt by it... we have no context.  All we know is that he seemed to move on rather quickly from Mikaela.  And even more than that, the "romantic" moments or any moments where there is supposed to be love there's only really lost.  And this is in part because Carly exist in the film to ONLY be the damsel in distress... and look sexy.  But she's rather devoid of any character.  There doesn't have to be backstory, just a bit of character.  And for the most part it's non-existent. 

That's not to say there wasn't a moment that didn't draw any kind of emotion.  There is a moment in the film where Bumblebee and Sam actually bring their established connection to light.  I won't spoil it, but it was one of the only moments... pretty much in the entire franchise that managed to illicit some emotion.

But the biggest of all follies is the same thing that Michael Bay always manages to do.  The film is just too damn long.  The first half is a lot of exposition and stacking things into the plot that don't add coherence, but only confusion.  Beyond that, the last hour or so (probably more than that) is a huge action sequence that takes place in Chicago in which pretty much the whole city is destroyed.  Some of the action is rather intense, but it just goes on and on and on without much of a break whatsoever.  Some of the moments aren't quite so bad.  There's a scene where a building falls on its side and the characters go sliding down as it does that is kind of cool (it won't be as exciting if you played a particular moment in Uncharted 2) but like so much action, Michael Bay draws it out for far too long.  The excitement soon vanishes and is replaced with impatience.  There are also far too many characters thrown in there.  Hell, for a big chunk of the action at the end the movie even manages to (somehow) totally forget about Optimus Prime.  But even worse is what they've done with Megatron who spends a great deal of the final fight just sitting out and doing nothing.  So the movie... at one point... forgets about the main Autobot AND the main Decepticon.  It focuses on Sam for most of this time... and during this time he's mostly just screaming his head off.  And as for Carly?  She's mostly meandering while stuff blows up around her and she just stares at the camera looking hot... not I'm not kidding that's ALL SHE EVER FREAKIN' DOES DURING THIS OVERLY LONG ACTION SEQUENCE!

That's not to say none of it is exciting.  It's only to say that the excitement runs thin.  There is no doubt that Michael Bay is a master of utilizing visual effects, but to suffer through over an hour of nothing but action without a break for the characters to even slow down (not to mention how it forgets about some of them) is a little unnerving.  It's not that it's an action movie... it's that it's an action movie so filled with action it can't all be contained the way it should.  It forgets about characters, even ignores the main situation at hand for the longest time because it's much more concerned with whether or not blowing up the next thing will be cool or not.  And so many shots are done with the ridiculous camera angles and way too much slow down.  Michael Bay uses the slowdown for dramatic effect.  I've gotten on Zach Snyder's case for doing the slow down and then speeding everything up... but at least Snyder isn't always doing it needlessly.  And at times Snyder even does it stylistically.  But Michael Bay tends to do it for dramatic effect... because he was too lazy to stick in any sort of drama before hand.  So a scene that should only be two minutes ends up being ten.

Transformers; Dark of the Moon is a VERY long movie.  It clocks in at 157 minutes.  And you're going to feel it when you're watching the big climactic battle that seems to never end.  And when it's all over?  It just sort of ends.  Like a, "Well, that's it!"  Even Revenge of the Fallen gave a much more conclusive resolution.  Let me be frank... it's not an "open-ended" film by any means it is just a movie that ends abruptly... probably because someone in the editing room felt it was long enough as it was. 

It is better than Revenge of the Fallen by far.  But you might as well walk up to someone and say "Beer taste better than acid mixed with urine."  You can't exactly get worse than Revenge of the Fallen.  Dark of the Moon is actually kind of fun to pick at.  I can even see a lot of movie goers having fun with it.  But the action will also be draining to quite a few as well.  Even the most die-hard action film is apt to look at their watch and wonder, "Just how long IS this movie?" 

As you might imagine, I wouldn't recommend the film.  But if you sat through the first two you might as well sit through this one at some point.  The first film, for all it's worth, wasn't half bad.  It was actually enjoyable (I even gave it a positive rating) but beyond that the franchise began to get too big for its own good.  The simple plot was replaced with something that tries too hard.  Both Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon suffer from this in particular.  They're mostly disorganized.  Problem is, the action isn't enough to distract you from it all.  In fact it's apt to make you notice it more.

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June 30, 2011
Good to know it is better than the 2nd film; then again, with the dreck the 2nd film was, the franchise has nowhere to go but up. I will see this flick this weekend probably...as much as I wasn't happy with the franchise, I just need to see this one with my buds.
July 06, 2011
Take some morphine before you see it, I'm sure it will be painful. LOL!
 
June 29, 2011
You know, I'm not so sure Michael Bay does make the movies he wants to make. I'm not even sure he knows what kind of movies he wants to make. I once saw an interview in which he basically said that he's usually not happy with the way his films turn out and that he has trouble watching them with other people because he always sees how flawed the films are and wants the chance to film those scenes that bug him over again. In that same interview he also basically said that it didn't matter what he thought of his own films so long as they made money.
 
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More Transformers: Dark of the Moon reviews
review by . July 01, 2011
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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 …
review by . July 08, 2011
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As the Transformers movies went on, they got better and better each time for one reason, the humans got pushed to the background and we got to see more Transformers, more action and more excitement.  The first movie took it's damn time getting the Transformers out there with only glimpses of them here and there before a great action finale.  The second one, while maligned by many for many good reasons of too much comic relief, creaky story telling and broad racial stereotypes at least …
review by . June 29, 2011
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   Dark of the Moon was one of the most anticipated summer movies because it announced the closing, the ending, the final venture of this human and alien robots story. The last movie was pretty much acknowledged as a total catastrophe by the critics and cinephiles around the globe even though it scored highly at the box-office (like that really matters when judging quality). It was built on pure non-sense defining the point-less action movies of this generation. However, everyone turned …
review by . June 30, 2011
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review by . June 29, 2011
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I don't believe Michael Bay has ever met a special effect he didn't like or an object he didn't want to blow up. For those fans of Michael Bay you are gonna get more of the same, maybe even a little darker than his attempts before. For those of you who are fans of non-stop action and that is all you need from a movie than by all means stop reading here and enjoy the film. I am not a Michael Bay fan and maybe that bias gets in the way, but good lord was this a dumb movie.   …
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Transformers-Dark Of The Moon' 'Two Jews On Film' Are On Different Planets With This One (Video)
   By Joan Alperin Schwartz      'Transformers - Dark Of The Moon' presented in 3D is directed by Michael Bay.      First, I'll start with the good stuff.  And yes, there is 'good stuff'.  In fact, I think this is the best 'Transformers' of the series...which may or may not be saying much...depending on how you felt about the other two.      Here it goes...In no particular order...What I liked …
review by . June 29, 2011
First off I should preface this by confessing that I am a big transformers fan: 1) I blame my brother for introducing me to the cartoon series at a young age and 2) I blame Michael Bay for making it look so badass to be a transforming robot.  I mean, let’s be honest here, Bay has created three films for a franchise that can now continue to grow by showing younger generations that “old” cartoons make for some pretty cool stories (and toys).      Granted, …
review by . July 05, 2011
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15 - 157mins - Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi - 29th June 2011   Our summer of sequels continues with the Transformers returning to the big screen with their third outing. After the rather disappointing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen I have to say that my hopes were not particularly high for this one.    Dark of the Moon is set several years after the second movie where Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is struggling to get a job and return his life to normal and yet this still hasn't stopped …
review by . July 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Like a Lullaby, kinda.
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review by . July 07, 2011
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Its the 1986 movie meets Revenge of the fallen.
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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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