on June 30, 2014
I am old enough to remember the Transformers series of the 80's. Yes it was cheesy, but I loved it.
The rebooted live-action has been hit-and-miss with me, and sadly this is more miss than hit.
The plot is that the Autobots discover a dead leader on the moon, who turns out to be more than meets the eye, and the Decepticons attack in order to bring Cybertron to Earth and enslave humanity.
If you are a fan of the previous two films, you will love this; transforming robots, big guns, bigger explosions, lot of running around, some very hot women, a major crisis... you get the idea.
However, for me, this movie suffers with the same problems at Revenge of The Fallen - what plot there is (and it is limited), makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
If Sentinel was defecting to the Decepticons at the beginning of the movie, why did they shoot him down and lose all that cool technology?
Optimus and the Autobots spend large chunks of this movie, not being where they should be and thus making a bad situation worse... but with no explanation.
When they do turn up, it is evident that the Autobots have been to the General Custer school of military tactics - they allow themselves to be divided, with no attack co-ordination.
Why do the bad guys have to tell their captives the one weak spot in their whole plan? I mean come on!
Ultimately, the action pieces are fantastic and the CGI is near perfect... but the script is full of holes that made me feel like I had wasted my time.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Hot on the heels of the dismally disappointing 'Revenge of the Fallen' comes the third film in the series about gigantic robots who can transform into vehicles. 'Dark of the Moon' is the last act of Michael Bay's trilogy, and it's a sendoff not unlike the Hindenburg disaster of 1937.
To be fair, Bay's signature style is all over this film, so anyone walking into the theater expecting a James Cameron-style action epic is going to be sorely disappointed. 'Dark of the Moon' smells of several other Michael Bay pictures at one time. It has the structure and pacing of 'The Rock,' the chaotic disaster-movie style of 'Armageddon,' and even rips off footage from 'The Island.' Contrary to what you might be thinking, this is NOT a recipe for success. 'Dark of the Moon' is loud, brash and immature, but given the target audience, this isn't surprising. The Transformers series was supposed to have been a nod to those 30-somethings who grew up with the much-beloved cartoon series which aired in the 1980s. At least, that was the initial impression with the first (and best) film in the series which paid tribute to the classic series with bucketloads of references, one-liners and sound effects. This third film is a makeshift attempt at cobbling together silly plot devices that die horribly under the weight of plot holes created by the first and second films.
* SPOILERS AHEAD *
Granted, the opening sequence depicting a top secret government mission given to the Apollo 11 astronauts during the first moon landing in 1969 is a nifty way to weave clandestine conspiracy theories into the heart of the Transformers franchise. It gives the film a bit more necessary impact as we realize that humans are at least partially responsible for the current war occurring on Earth. Indeed, one of the coolest parts of the entire film shows the REAL Buzz Aldren playing himself in a cameo appearance where he plays along with the ridiculous plot device and ends up shaking hands with Optimus Prime himself. Great stuff! Nevertheless, it isn't enough to redeem the film.
'Dark of the Moon' loses its footing for several reasons. The first is Michael Bay's approach to comedy. This third film is by far the darkest, but that's no excuse for butchering a perfectly good opportunity for healthy comic relief. Every character in the film is a stupid, boring caricature despite their level of power or status. Eyes roll when Frances McDormand's top-level CIA persona starts whining about her handbags while slipping out of high heels into flamboyant running shoes. John Malkovich plays the fool as Sam Witwicky's impossibly neurotic boss, mixing psychotic micromanagement with passive nonchalance that simply doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. The most irritating character however, is Jerry Wang, played by Ken Jeong in an over the top performance as a paranoid Decepticon collaborator. Not only does he milk several very tired and predictable character clichés at once, but he does so in the most transparent manner possible so as to actually become offensive. The comedy is so bad that the only thing which ends up saving it (partially) is John Turturro's returning character Agent Simmons. How's that for irony? At least we don't have any Autobots flaunting racial stereotypes or swinging Decepticon testicles this time around.
The action is, as you'd expect, loud and largely incoherent. But it's quite a sight to behold. Michael Bay's strength is in visual carnage, and he's in top form here. Autobots and Decepticons mangle each other in equal measure while laying waste to the city of Chicago on a scale not seen since Independence Day. The last hour of the film is primarily a non-stop action fest of epic proportions, and it's a highlight to be certain. There's a genuine sense of scale this time around, especially during the scene when Sam, Carly and their soldier escorts tumble through a building which is falling over into collapse. The scene is totally unrealistic, mind you. Each character walks away with a layer of soot coating their bodies, and not much else. Sam Witwicky himself goes through so much turmoil, only to come face to face with Starscream and STILL walk away with not but a few scrapes. Oh well, realism went out the door by mention of the name Transformers anyways. But clearly this is the biggest and baddest battle of the entire trilogy. The film doesn't shy away from sucker punches, either. Scenes of Decepticons blowing away humans and viciously executing Autobots are spine tingling to say the least.
For every strength, there's a weakness, however. Michael Bay's biggest one has always been character development. I didn't give a hoot about any of the characters in Bad Boys, Armageddon, The Rock, or Pearl Harbor, and I certainly don't care about any of the characters here, either. Sure, Shia LaBeouf's character is as funny and entertaining as ever, but I don't care about him past the human element and leverage that he's been written to create. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley? Nope, don't care about her either. She's absolutely magnificent as an onscreen sex bomb, but that's the problem. I KNOW she's there to be summer movie eye candy, with long legs, brutally high heels and skin-tight mini-dresses. That makes me care about her all the less. There's absolutely nothing about her character that makes her interesting. No back story, no special reason for being there. Her character is never fleshed out past the level of her pouted lips and hyper-sexualized attire.
The Transformers themselves have thankfully been given a bit more personality this time around. I quite liked the "Mexican standoff" scene between Ironhide, Sideswipe and two Decepticons. Everyone seems a bit more loose and free to expand their characters past the "big dumb robot" façade. Nevertheless, some characters just can't quite break out of their mold. Optimus Prime is as wooden and stale as ever, speaking cheesy and grandiose. It's a far cry from his cartoon counterpart, and not even the great Peter Cullen can voice-act his way through such hammy dialogue. Decepticon leader Megatron has AGAIN been downgraded to a minor background character, furthering his downward spiral into the galaxy's most pitiful and non-threatening super villain. That honor is bestowed upon Sentinel Prime, a traitorous Autobot who has struck a deal with Megatron in a warped attempt to save his race and planet. It's another lifted plot device where an even more powerful villain manages to usurp the throne from Megatron. Quite frankly, it stinks. Then there's Shockwave, one of the most beloved Decepticons of all time. His character appears out of thin air with no explanation of how he got there. He doesn't speak, just grunts, and seems able to control a colossal worm-like Decepticon horror that also appears out of nowhere and with no explanation.
It's a headache, to be sure. If nothing else, this final film in the trilogy just proves that Michael Bay was incapable of repeating the success he enjoyed with the monumental first film. He couldn't hold the story together despite his best efforts, and decided to fall back on big explosions, mindless violence, immature gags, sex and grandiose set pieces. But all the action and eye candy in the world can't hide a swiss cheese story and flat, dull, lifeless characters. It's not as bad as 'Revenge of the Fallen.' But it spoons its predecessor quite intimately while whispering sweet nothings in its ear.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
As I sat there finishing the third Transformers movie, I thought to myself, "How can Michael Bay take himself seriously?" I mean, the dialogue here is still juvenile and stupid, the characters are still one-dimensional, and every inch of film is overblown and beyond ridiculous. Welcome to the Bay-verse, where one can walk away from a flaming car wreck with no broken bones, and no idea what the hell the story is.
The story revolves around the crash of Sentinal Prime (Autobot mentor to Optimus) on our moon some time in the 60's. He has something (yet another McGuffin in this series) that can save Cybertron (yet again). But there's more than meets the eye and things are not always what they seem. Funny though how Earth always seems to be the epicenter of all Transformers plots and schemes, even though the planet was unknown to them prior to movie one!
Dark of the Moon is a marginal improvement in the Transformers series. A lot of the major issues (Sam's annoying parents, the hip-hop-bots) have been reduced in movie 3. However the plot is still a confounding mess that makes no sense, all there to support a massive end battle that takes up almost half of the movie. Is that battle spectacular to watch? Yes. Can it hold your attention? No. After about half of the end battle had transpired, I was begging for this movie to be over.
I have to say though, Rosie Huntington-Whitely is an improvement over Megan Fox. Something about British accents. Bad British acting always seems superior to bad American acting.
The cast is rounding out by Frances McDormand (wasted here), John Malkovich (also wasted), Patrick Dempsey (meh) and of course John Turturro who should have had more screen time.
2 stars. A thudding end to a disappointing trilogy.