Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Review

As I was driving to the theater to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 3D, I was wondering if Director Michael Bay (The Rock) would do something different than his usual stuff. And that stuff is blowing things up and having overly dramatic visuals. Maybe he would have a deep rich, sophisticated, intelligent science fiction movie. And then as I pulled into the parking lot, I said to myself, "Am I nuts?" This is Michael Bay. You know the guy that directed the ridiculous Armageddon. (1998) As for Dark of the Moon being an intelligent film, all I can say in a New York accent, "Fuhget about it."

If you don't know already Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a movie based on the Hasbro toys. Yes, the toys that turn into robots from everyday vehicles. I always thought this was a bad idea for a movie but hey, the first two were gang busters at the box office. So, what's next? Slinky, the movie?

The the movie starts out with the war between the good Autobots and the evil Decepticons on Cybertron. It's a fantastic scene. The Autobots are losing so they launch a ship called the Ark with their last hope to save their race. The Ark crashes on the moon during President John F. Kennedy's administration. The United States finds out about it. Kennedy decides to find a way to get to the craft first before the Soviets, thus the beginning of the space race. This leads to real reason for Apollo 11 which was to recover the ship from the moon.

We flash forward to present day where, the hero from the last two Transfomers movie, Sam Whitwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has just waken up to his gorgeous girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington Whiteley). We find out that despite having saved the world and getting a medal from President Obama, Sam can't get a job. What? Let me get this straight, your resume says you saved the world. And nobody will hire you? Tough times. Anyway, Sam gets a job at a high tech firm in the mailroom It's there that Jerry Wang (Ken Jeoung) confronts him about a plot between humans and Decepticons.

Meanwhile, the Autobots and the U.S. government have been working together. Primarily, the Autobots work to keep man from destroying himself. Autobot Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) finds out that the humans have discovered the Ark. He goes to the moon to retrieve the contents which were Autobot Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy) and the Pillars which would create a bridge between points in space. This bridge could not just allow transport but also allow matter to come through. The Decepticons want the Pillars so the can set up a base in Chicago and literally bring Cybertron to earth. That's probably because the Decepticons are mad at the Chicago Cubs for their early exits from the playoffs. Okay, that's not right. Anyway, its' up to Sam to save the world again.

Shia LaBeouf as Sam is cranky throughout the whole movie. Probably because he realized that nobody is going to take him seriously in any future drama.
Rosie Huntington Whiteley is cold like a mannequin. That's because she was a Victoria Secret's model and not an actress. In fact, they should have used a mannequin, it would have been cheaper. Frances McDormand (Fargo?!) plays a defense intelligence official. Her lines are so ridiculous that she'll probably never step out of a Coen Brothers movie again. Only Leonard Nimoy who voices Sentinel Prime does an excellent job. He's regal and for an actor who is eighty, he still has a lot of energy.

Writer Ehren Kruger has created a mess of a script. The story lines go wildly from crazy comedy to wild action. I mean Ken Jeong basically reprises his role of Chow from The Hangover. His scenes with LaBeouf are hilarious but when a Decepticon attacks him, it's too dark to be funny. And when you get to emotional scenes, you don't care because of the crazy swings of tone.

And speaking of The Hangover, that's the way you will feel when you finish seeing this movie. Bay can't keep anything still. Sweeping camera shots. You'll be hard pressed to find a scene which has more than two minutes of dialogue. And I'm sure he heard the criticism of the lingering shots of female eye candy Megan Fox because Bay doubles down. He starts our introduction of Whiteley by following her butt in a g-string as she goes to the bed of LaBeouf. A wink at the camera? Since Whiteley is English, does that mean the scene is cheeky?

Anyway, Bay keeps the action constantly going. There's no let up. And that's the problem. He pounds you in your seats. Sometimes it's hard to track which are the good robots and which are the bad ones. Some of the action is just ludicrous. For example, the Decepticons topple a building and as it's falling the humans jump out of the window. Okay, that should kill them. No. You see the building is brought down in parts and the humans slide down the slanted portion. What? There are also some hokey music cues. I'm guessing in an effort to appeal to the young adult crowd, he has to have rock songs accompany the action. There's one scene where the humans are beaten down after the Decepticons have taken over downtown Chicago. Bay uses a soft rock song that sounds like something that Trey Parker and Matt Stone would parody. All of this stupidity goes on for one hundred and fifty five minutes.

Okay, some of you liked the Transformer movies. Some of you voted for Sarah Palin. I keeed. I keeed. And at the theater I saw it, people applauded the end or maybe they were happy it was over. But this is a 3D review, and guess what? The 3D portion of the movie is the only redeeming part of the film. The 3D effects in one word are spectacular. That's because most of the movie was filmed in 3D. Effects pop. There are subtle effects where you can see depth and money shots where things are flung at you. If you want to see this movie, go to the 3D version.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a cure for narcolepsy. Instead of waterboarding terror suspects, we should show them this movie. It should be the favorite for the Razzie for Worst Picture. The grade is D.

P.S. For you Trekkers, there are Star Trek references. At Sam's apartment, two Autobots are watching an episode of Star Trek. They say it's the one where Spock goes mad. I'm guessing "Amok Time' since we don't see the screen. Plus at the end of the movie, there's a music credit for the episode. At Carly's workplace, Sam comments on the clean and high tech office by comparing it to the bridge of the Enterprise. Of course, Sentinel Prime is voiced by Leonard Nimoy. Later he quotes the "The needs of the many..." line from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan much to the dismay of this Trekker since Dark of the Moon is terrible.

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