Tranformers: Dark of the Moon
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LeBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong and the voices of Peter Cullen, Leonard Nimoy, and Hugo Weaving.
A third live-action Transformers movie. If my 10 year old self knew this day would come, he would have an aneurysm. I thoroughly enjoyed the first film, as my childhood nostalgia was able to blind me to that film’s many flaws. The second was the first film that made me so angry I wanted to throw things at the screen. With the second film, I finally understood the phrase “raped my childhood.” But still, it made huge money at the box office, meaning that the third was inevitable. But hey, after the second one, there was no place to go but up, right?
We catch up with our hero, Sam Witwicky, just graduated from college, and looking for his first job. He encounters all kinds of wacky hijinks until a jittery co-worker at his new job hands him a cryptic message about “the aliens” and “the dark of the moon” and then the Decepticon Lazerbeak shows up to shoot up the office. With this information, Sam is once agian drawn into the conflict between the Autobots and the Decepticons, as ancient Cybertronian technology is uncovered on the Moon that could finally end the centuries-old war. Among the wreckage is Optimus Prime’s old mentor, Sentinel Prime. Can the war finally be ended? Will Sam ever find a job? And where do Sentinel Prime’s loyalties lie?
What I Liked
Leonard Nimoy does an outstanding job voicing Sentinel Prime. He actually lets loose with a killer Star Trek reference. I think, in the whole of the Transformers franchise, we’d never seen a full-scale Decepticon invasion of Earth, so that was a nice, new story worth mining. And the stupid comedy that dominated the second film has been greatly toned down this time out. Oh, and as always, ILM and Digital Domain brought their A-game in bringing the Autobots and the Decepticons to life. Being of the generation that grew up with Transformers, the scenes where it’s nothing but Transformers on screen and attempts at developing them as characters really made me smile.
What I Didn’t Like
These Transformers films are really starting to remind me of Godzilla movies: they really drag when the humans are on screen. I mean, we have this fantastic scene between Optimus Prime and Sentinel Prime, only to have it cut short so we can get back to another wacky Sam job interview. Highly annoying and distracting. The stupid comedy is still there, but again, thank Primus there’s significantly less of it. And again, my same complaint as with the second film: we spend very little time with the Transformers themselves and let them develop as characters.
On the whole, this film reminded my a lot of Terminator 3. It was fun, I had a good time, but really, it brought nothing new to the table.