Transformers 3 - Shockwave

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

Transformers 3 - Shia LeBeouf

It’s time for some “real talk”, guys. I can’t think of any other way to approach this review. I will keep it brief since Transformers: Dark of the Moon director Michael Bay can’t seem to do it himself. Do you just want to see some shit blow up? If you answered in the affirmative, then you will probably greatly enjoy this film a whole lot more than the second entry in the franchise since you will actually be able to SEE what is happening for a change. Everyone else looking for anything more than that can look elsewhere because that is all you are going to get from this astoundingly pretty, but astoundingly empty, incoherent, nonsensical and excessive film.

I know, Michael Bay made an excessive film? “The hell?”, you say with all the incredulity in the world. It isn’t exactly a good thing or a bad thing. In fact, I am struggling at the moment with what I even thought of the film. Quite frankly, this film might have broken my brain entirely. Again, that isn’t a good or a bad thing. While there is some undeniable entertainment value in the third film in the Transformers franchise, there is so much about it that I detested and made me want to gnaw my own hands off. One moment I openly wanted to stab myself in the chest with my pen, and then the next moment I was just in awe with the sheer spectacle of what I was seeing. Uneven doesn’t begin to cover this film, nor does any synonym for it.

The story at the heart of Dark of the Moon really isn’t a bad one in theory, but it is botched in terms of practice and common sense. It turns out that the Apollo 11 mission was actually a cover by the United States government to retrieve pieces of an alien craft that crashed into the moon. On this ship was Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy), one of the good guy Autobots, who was protecting a bunch of pillars that could resurrect the home planet of these robots in disguise. Or something like that. I can’t fully distill the plot of this movie into words (and writer Ehren Kruger seems to have a Joe Eszterhas-like level of not caring to deliver a coherent story or even a single line of believable dialogue), but apparently something really terrible will happen if the evil Decepticons get their hands on them. Like, something that could destroy the Earth by letting them land their planet on top of ours and could lead to the enslavement of the human race. All of this really puts a dent into the life of the unassuming hero of the series, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who is just trying to get a post-university job, gain some respect for saving the world twice before, and is trying to keep his new girlfriend (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, an actual big step down from Megan Fox, but at least a different character) from running away with her sleazy car collector boss (Patrick Dempsey, who is having more fun on screen being a jerk than should be legally allowed).

Transformers 3 - Bumblebee

Let’s start with the negatives first. This movie is stupid. Absolutely 1,010% brainless with not a single thing that makes a lick of sense even in a fantasy realm. The plot is so nonsensical and illogical that it’s almost a work of art. The film continues with Bay’s need to fetishize right wing American gung-ho ideals (Hi there, Bill O’Reilly cameo!) while pontificating endlessly about the true nature of freedom and how the military is the only hope the Western world has. Bay still hasn’t lost his knack for filming a woman’s ass with a tight close up, and the violence on display here is pretty depressing if one stops to think of the mechanics behind it. It doesn’t matter if a robot or a human is being taken out, but they are almost undoubtedly beheaded or killed with a point blank head shot after being tortured first. It doesn’t help that the film’s first hour (of its completely unnecessary two hour and forty minute running time) is deathly dull and largely devoid of anything special. Oh, and the racism that many people claim marred the second film is still largely on display, but this time instead of jive talking robots, they all have European accents, so that makes it, you know, all good, right? Oh, and there is an astoundingly unfunny gay panic scene with cinema’s current favourite gay panic Asian Ken Jeong (playing a guy named Wang!), who needs to stop taking roles like this before he loses what little of the Community-based good will that I have for him.

Let’s move on to the positives. This film is stupid. It is absolutely in love with how incredibly stupid it is and revels in knowing that the audience just wants to see robots fighting, buildings crumbling, and things just blowing up all over the place. Bay, who is actually an auteur when it comes to this kind of film, is back in full Bad Boys 2 mode when it comes to the action set pieces, and his filmmaking has astoundingly improved. A lot of Bay’s newfound technical prowess actually comes from the fact that he was working with 3D cameras this time around. While it is debatable if this film really even needs the 3D, it forced the director to not adopt his usual quick cutting style. The end result is a Transformers film where one can actually see the robots in great detail for longer takes that don’t cut away immediately. Some of the fight sequences are still a blur of metal and blood-like oil spraying about, but for the most part, the action is top notch. The effects department and the stunt guys seem to have worked overtime to avoid the visual pandemonium of the previous film. The story is patently ridiculous, but it still manages a few clever twists along the way that up the stakes considerably. It helps that the cast all seem to know exactly what kind of film they are in. In addition to returning faces like LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, and John Turturro (who goes even further off the deep end with his character here, complete with a bodyguard played by an underutilized Alan Tudyk), there are some great supporting performances from series newcomers Frances McDormand (as an NSA operative) and John Malkovich (as Sam’s new boss). The film also ends on a resolute note that is refreshing despite the chuckle worthy speech at the end of the film.

On one hand, the hand that controls my sense of logic and good taste, Dark of the Moon is one of the absolute worst things I have seen in years that simultaneously offended and saddened me. On the other hand, the one that absolutely loves cheesy action films and deep down gets some sort of sick pleasure out of seeing Michael Bay bring his A-game, Dark of the Moon is one of the most entertaining films of the summer. Looking for anything remotely resembling “good” would be asking a lot of this film. Don’t go in expecting anything close to “quality.” If you are looking for something that is “fun” or are looking for something to watch while on a sugar high, in the middle of an alcoholic bender, or while doing peyote, this is the greatest movie ever made.

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  • Barryinspace

    It’s shocking how Transformers 3, rather than a simple story of good versus evil, is laced with right-wing propaganda.

    And it’s brazen. Propaganda merchant Bill O’Reilly of Fox News gets a long cameo. A boss says: ‘Most people in this office are Republican.’ Autobots loudly proclaim their fight for freedom like George Bush declaring war against Iraq. The evil Deceptacons are subtly associated with the right’s charicature of left-wing socialist ideas. Sentinel Prime does a peace deal with the evil Decepticons because ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’. The main bad-guy human sides with the Deceptacons because they are on the side of ‘progress’. And the ultimate goal of the Deceptacons is human slavery, which happens to be the same thing Glenn Beck says is the ultimate goal of left-wing socialism. The ending sequence features Optimus Prime sounding like Donald Rumsfeld: ‘There will be moments of calm, but the war will go on..’

  • Chip Buckman

    Horrible review.  You just didn’t review it positively because you’re another one of those brain dead Hollyweird liberal types who can’t stand it when a conservative slanted movie manages to squeak by the totalitarian liberal filters applied to all things Hollywood.  Face it – the movie was well attended…grossing over $300 million so far and counting.  That speaks for itself.  Secondly, you just can’t stand it that Michael Bay stuck a fork in your liberal eye, and the eye of the limousine liberal elite in Hollywood and the lamestream media.  “How dare there be a single conservative line in any movie!!!!”  you say.  I say….GOOD!!!!!  ABOUT DAMN TIME!!!.  Idiots like you who poo-poo everything conservative and by the way, traditional, are over.  We the people say how this country runs, and what kind of movies we like, and the messages in them.  Wonder why Hollywood can’t seem to put out a big blockbuster without some notion of traditional good vs. evil?  Because all of the sanitized PC liberal films won’t go there.  They make everything white, male, christian, or republican/conservative BAD.  Do you think We the people don’t notice that?  You’re just as dumb as I’m sure you look, if you actually think that.  And even dumber if you think Hollywood can continue to blackball directors like Michael Bay and other conservatives, and still continue to succeed.  Why else would box office receipts continue to decline since 2002?  People are waking up.  The internet which you liberal types have nocturnal emissions over is helping this to happen.  So as far as I’m concerned, Transformers 3 was A FANTASTIC MOVIE!!!!  Sentinel Prime was DEAD ON in his evil totalitarian viewpoint which so appropriately captures the draconian liberal approach of today’s Obama socialists.

  • Chip Buckman

    Uhhh, you should be shocked, because Hollyweird never lets anything slip through its liberal filters.  Michael Bay must be a genius to have subverted the liberal elite establishment.  Do you actually think you morons know what’s best or what we the people want?  You’re wrong.  Seems like you are a liberal propaganda merchant yourself, especially if you are so conditioned to be “shocked” at the “right wing” propaganda in Transformers 3.  What…like it’s not possible for there to be some balance coming out of Hollywood once in a while?  With all of the anti-male, anti-Christian, anti-Conservative, anti-Republican, etc., what’s one little old right-wing based movie now and then going to matter, huh?  It’s just funny you and other sheeples like you are so pre-conditioned for the cliched leftist movie POV from Hollyweird, that you actually feel you need to comment when one in thousand movies actually makes it through with a right leaning point of view.  And it wasn’t even all that bad.  Most average liberally biased movies are pretty outright overt about their caricature of the above mentioned.  Then we have all of the mainstream media outlets, comedy channels, and music artists (except Nashville) who are all singing in concert with you. 

    You really truly have NO idea what country you speak of if you are “shocked” at this movie.  You have scratched but the tip of the iceberg. I suggest you take off work on election day 2012, sit back, pop a cold whatever, and watch We The People move forward by taking America back from the grips of socialist worker state politics vis a vis Obama and the Regressives.