Transformers-Dark of the Moon(released June/11)stars,among others,Shia LaBeouf,Josh Duhamel,John Turturro,Tyrese Gibson,John Malkovich and Frances McDormand.With the voice talents of Steve Buscemi and every one's favourite Vulcan,Leonard Nimoy.This is a definite return to the good side of things,like night and day compared to film#2 in this franchise.This film however I found takes a rather more somber tone throughout than the first one.The first one had all the boffo elements in a magical combination that propelled it through the roof,while this one is much shorter on humour and heavier and longer on the action.
The story finds us going back to the early 60s and a lunar event detected by NASA.Something crashed on the moon and the crux is who will get there to investigate first,the U.S.or the Russians ? This supposedly is the premise behind Kennedy's admonition to go to the moon in /69.When Apollo 11 lands Armstrong and Aldrin are seen investigating the crash site and bringing back five devices and one round piece of alien technology.
Fast forward to today and Shia Lebouf has a hot new girlfriend but is out of work.Two small bots live with him.The autobots have been working closely with the U.S.military and on a trip to Chernobyl they recover the same round piece of technology that NASA found on the moon those many years before.Optimus Prime is mad because of the deception this has been to them.It is revealed only a handful of people knew about the mission,let alone the piece they found.Prime and others head to the moon and find the crashed ship,the Ark.They recover its pilot,Sentinel Prime,the leader of the entire Cybertron world before it' demise many years before.
Back on earth in a secret area Sentinel is brought back to life by Optimus.Sentinel now assumes Optimus's duties as leader.However it seems a deal was secretly struck between Sentinel and the Decepticons/Megatron years before.While the U.S.military only had five alien devices,the Decepticons already had hundreds of them they recovered ahead of Apollo 11.They were actually space bridges,which when powered around the world,would bring the home world of the Transformers into a close orbit around the earth.Sentinel plays along with Optimus until the time is right,then betrays him.Optimus and the rest of the good Autobots are forced to leave earth,which leaves it defenseless.This gives the Decepticons their chance to get their home world back and rule earth.
The space bridges are placed around the world and the center of it all is in Chicago.From here the Decepticons start their rampage.However they don't count on the return of Optimus,whose moves were designed to lull the Decepticons into a false sense of security.Just when they think they are on their way,Optimus and the boys slowly make their way into Chicago and start to take the Decepticons on full force.The star bridge beam is ultimately interrupted which destroys Cybertron.And in a twist,Megatron confronts Sentinel,as Megatron wants to be the only leader.He in fact kills Sentinel,who is in turn pounced on and killed by Optimus.The film ends as Optimus re swears the Autobots allegiance to the earth.
The ending and wrap up comes all too swiftly,just as we have endured an overly long and patience taxing fight between the earth forces,Autobots and the Decepticons in Chicago.It is as if they realized they were into overtime and had to get it over quickly.As I have mentioned there is a decided lack of humour in this one compared to the first film.Director Bay seems to have wanted to concentrate on battles and the more serious side of things.But along with this comes too many slow spots/overly detailed story segments.However the photography is very well done as is the S/FX.Watch for a surprise appearance by Buzz Aldrin,the second man to set foot on the moon.
Technically speaking,the film is in its w/s a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.There are no extras.
All in all,while totally fumbling the ball in film#2,Bay has recovered nicely and come back with a film more worthy of the Transformers name.However it's over attention to plot detail,the overly long Chicago battle,super swift ending,and its over the top run time of just over 150 minutes make it an uneven and seat wiggling entry.It is a giant leap from the last and one hopes he can mix up a newer one with more of the spine tingling elements from his very first concoction.3- 3 1/2 stars.