{2jtab: Movie Review}

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Movie Review


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1 stars

In the over caffeinated mega-male screaming-is-acting homophobic cinema of Michael Bay, really loud explosions occur just as often as farts do and leave a lingering odor no bottle of expensive cologne can ever successfully disguise.  And so here we have the epic (as in really long and not mythical by any stretch of the imagination) conclusion to a trilogy that boldly goes…wait for it…nowhere.  It’s Ramones mentality all the way; third verse same as the first (only they got the joke).  Reaching decibels not thought to exist in movie houses and without even a humble attempt at providing any moment of characterization (even in its third attempt to tell the story), Bay circa 2011 makes the Bay of the recent past look like a confident and concentrated John Huston behind the camera.

Providing a story synopsis for a Michael Bay movie is like explaining the lying “genius” of Fox News’ fair and balanced programming to Tea Partiers.  It’s a short road that ends in futility and the gnashing of teeth.  Once again, Bay produces a baby-lotion slick movie that is rolling all over the place; as ADHD as it wants to be in its crib.  He can’t linger on anything marginally poetic for longer than a couple of seconds and neither can the narrative.  Considering the film is 2.5 hours long, that fact is quite an assault on the senses.

Written by Ehren Kruger and given away by every trailer since the teaser, Dark of the Moon rewrites our space-exploring history with a government cover-up that brings the whole movie to life.  Maybe this would have been more surprising if not given away by its ad campaign which began last summer.  Unfortunately, the movie never quite lives up to the re-imagining of its NASA’s origins opening.  It’s a Michael Bay paint-by-numbers Tin Man production; all shimmer and no heart.  Even worse, this Tin Man isn’t in search of its heart.

In fact, with the entrance of the (why is he always) screaming Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, the plot to revive the as-described Albert Einstein of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy whose presence alone allows for one too many Star Trek references throughout the film), gets ridiculously dumb really quick.  Unfortunately, it can’t escape its self-serving mentality of “Aren’t I Awesome?” and never settles into becoming a summer film of fun.  Transforming robots duke it out while Sam tries to save (and explain) his new Victoria’s Secret model-turned-actress (really?) girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) to audiences while Bay lets his 3D cameras ogle her curves in a juvenile manner time and time again.

There are three big action pieces and each one tries to top the other.  The destructive urban brawl in Chicago quickly (especially in eye-popping 3D) becomes a bit of a popcorn-fueled spectacle, but flashier special effects can never transform the film’s poor, poor acting and the lame-ass story that is Dark of the Moon.  With the Lincoln Memorial leveled and the top of the Tribune Tower knocked off, Bay pretty much presents audiences with a disaster movie in 3D.  Sounds exciting, yet when Sam and Bumblebee and others slide down the side of a toppling building (for far too many minutes), Bay’s point-and-shoot cynicism behind the camera can’t produce anything close to excitement.  That’s what a no-brainer summer flick gets you.  No response…other than the PTSD you are guaranteed to walk out of the theatre with.

It’s a soulless endeavor and it’s cynical in sound and form.  In other words, it’s bound to make a quick buck, but Transformers will never live up to the potential executed by its cartoon precursor.  In spite of its attempt to sway theatre-shy audiences with impressive 3D visuals, families are better off staying home, saving their money, making some popcorn, and revisiting Roland Emmerich’s 2012 rather than going bankrupt watching Bay’s take on a disaster movie.  Sure, it doesn’t feature robots that transform into cars, but at least Emmerich knows his material and has a sense of humor about it.

The 30-minute crushing of Chicago might be enough to dazzle 8-year-olds and fat-bottomed popcorn munchers, but it isn’t enough to disguise this robot turd from what it really is and what it could have (and should have) been. To put it bluntly, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the latest expelling of gas from Bay’s nether regions and, while a bit flowerier than its predecessor, still manages to smell as rotten.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
Director: Michael Bay
: Ehren Kruger
Shia LeBeouf; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley; Tyrese Gibson; Josh Duhamel; John Turturro; Patrick Dempsey; Frances McDormand; John Malkovich
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Memorable Movie Quote: "Neil, you are dark on the rock. The mission is a "go". You have 21 minutes... "
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: June 29, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
Coming January 31, 2012

Plot Synopsis: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers' final battle.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

Ultimate Edition Blu-ray 3D coming January 31, 2012. Features to include:

  • Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon
  • Rising from the Fallen: Development and Design
  • Ready for Prime Time: Filming Across America
  • Battle in the Heartland: Shooting in Chicago
  • Attack of the Birdmen: Aerial Stunts
  • Shadow of the Sentinel: Post-Production and Release
  • Uncharted Territory: NASA’s Future Then and Now
  • Deconstructing Chicago: Multi-Angle Sequences
  • Previsualizations with optional commentary by director Michael Bay and previsualization supervisor Steve Yamamoto
  • Previsualizations/Final Shot Comparison with optional commentary by director Michael Bay and previsualization supervisor Steve Yamamoto
  • Visual Effects with optional commentary by visual effects supervisors Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler
  • Visual Effects/Final Shot Comparison with optional commentary by visual effects supervisors Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler
  • The Art of CYBERTRON
  • Environments
  • Weapons and Gear
  • Ships
  • The Dark of the Moon Archive
  • 3D: A Transforming Visual Art
  • Moscow World Premiere
  • Birdmen Featurette
  • Cody’s iPad
  • The Sound of Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • The Matrix of Marketing
  • Trailers
  • Marketing Gallery

{2jtab: Trailer}