Let me start off my review with saying that I have come to view the Transformers films as nothing more than mindless entertainment, popcorn flicks of the summer to pass the time. I enjoyed the first one both as a popcorn flick but also as a film with a decent story. I liked the characters and I thought the story was interesting enough to hold my attention, but that all changed with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Michael Bay managed to take an already silly series and make it plain out dumb. The effects were cool, but that didn’t outweigh the two hours of bitching by the annoying characters. Bay promised us that he has fixed the mistakes from the second one and he also promised to kick up the action a ton and Transformers: Dark of the Moon almost makes good on those promises, but it does fall a little short.
When comparing any of the Transformers films to other films, I usually go easy on Transformers and say that there still fun to sit back and enjoy. They don’t test your brain at all and they don’t really ask much of you besides the lengthy running time and yes that isn’t really fair, but I honestly don’t think that matters. There are tons of better movies out there than the Transformers series and this summer alone has proved that you can have a solid summer popcorn flick with a good story and some great visuals, but Bay chooses to just stick with the basics and I don’t really mind that.
I’ve stopped caring about the series and I honestly stopped hoping they would change. Michael Bay makes millions of dollars working from a shitty script (if there even is a script) and he isn’t going to change that unless it comes with a pay raise and I don’t blame the guy. These movies rake it loads of cash and he doesn’t have to worry about getting good performances from any of his actors. Is that wrong for a director? Hell yes it is! But you get to a point where you’re either with the films or you don’t bother. If you’re going to keep complaining after three films then maybe it’s time to give it a rest and just stop seeing them. So I went into Transformers: Dark of the Moon expecting two things; tons of visually pleasing action shots and decent 3D and Michael Bay delivered on those two things. These films tend to be long and boring, but this latest installment beefs up the action and takes up the bulk of the film with it, which is great when your characters are trying to be funny but coming off as idiots that you’d rather watch burn to death via the Decepticons.
The 3D was amazing and I think I would go out on a limb and say that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the best 3D film I have seen since Avatar. The bigger cameras have forced Bay to step back and steady his shots more and that was basically the only complaints I ever had with the other two films as far as the action went. The cameras were always too zoomed in on the robots, which made you start to forget who was who and with this film you can now see the whole fight from a distance and the camera isn’t bouncing around, it stays steady. This movie really is a visual treat. I have never seen such chaos on such a massive scale. The whole town of Chicago gets annihilated and it looks breathtaking. Bay is the expert when it comes to blowing shit up and he manages to top both of the past Transformers in scale of sheer epic disaster. The transformations between cars and robots are so smooth that you almost forget a computer is doing it. I really want to see Bay make an Avatar styled alien film in another world with shit getting demolished left and right. Give the guy a decent list of B listers and a massive budget and he will pump out something fun! I’d really love to see him work on an R rated space war film with large budget, maybe cast Stallone as the star? One can only dream.
Anyways, the story of Transformers: Dark of the Moon picks up right after the second one. Sam Witwicky (Shia Labeouf) is looking for a job and trying to live a normal life after what took place in the second film. He has gotten a new gal named Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) who is working a steady job and happy with his robot war stories. While they are settling down you have the rest of the cast spread out around the globe. Some of them are hunting down more Decepticons with Optimus Prime and others are retired or basically chilling out until the story needs them again.
The new film brings several new characters to the mix, none of which really matter. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaces Megan Fox after Fox went on a rant about Michael Bay being like Adolf Hitler. I always liked Fox because she was that smokin’ hot girl that was tough and intimidating. Huntington-Whiteley is an attractive lady, but she never really sends off any vibes. She always agrees with Sam and generally wants to help out in every situation. She felt like the complete opposite character of Megan Fox and I wasn’t too fond of that. The next new comer is Patrick Dempsey who plays the boss of Rosie’s character. He comes off as a major dickhead and somewhere near the last act of the film that dickhead vibe is revealed. His character is pretty much a little submissive bitch that does whatever the Decepticons want, which isn’t that much of a surprise. The last notable actor who showed up was Ken Jeong. He played his usual silly Asian self like his character in The Hangover films and boy was he annoying. I fucking hate this guy so much. He never brings anything fresh and all of his jokes come off as weird and creepy. There was a scene in the movie when Shia’s character was getting raped in the bathroom by Jeong’s character and Shia says something along the lines of, “I’m going to hit you”, and I honestly was praying he would. Why would anyone want to be around Ken Jeong for more than ten minutes? The guy is an idiot and I was so glad to find out he only had like 10 minutes of screen time.
The film also features performances by James Malkovich and Frances McDormand; both were fine with their roles, but very unnecessary. I didn’t feel like either of these actors needed to be in the film at all and all they really did was make a cluttered cast even more cluttered, but at least they weren’t as annoying as Ken Jeong or some of the idiotic Autobots.
The story pretty much comes down to the space race of the 1960’s. An alien craft landed and secrets were hidden that are now being discovered. The Decepticons have a plan cooking and the Autobots want to defeat them with the help of the humans, but like normal the humans don’t appreciate these massive hunks of metal that they have at their disposal and they instead decide to place all blame on the Autobots and curse them into corners. Ungrateful is the only word that comes to mind when I think about how the humans treat the Autobots.
The last hour is the big battle in Chicago that pretty much destroys the city and almost the damn world. It’s a visual treat and worth the pointless story and dumb characters. There are a ton of really silly moments that went way overboard, even for a Transformers film, but once the buildings start falling and the bombs start dropping you’ll start to form a smile on your face that doesn’t go away for a good 45 minutes.
Overall, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is silly and fun. The story is complete shit and the characters seem to get worse with each new film, but Bay manages to raise the action and budget of each film to drown out the horrible shit. To compare Transformers: Dark of the Moon to other films would be stupid because it really is shit, but if you view it simply as a way to kill some time and watch a ton of stuff get blown up then you’ll love it. It’s a lot better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but it’s not quite as good as the first film. It’s a lot sillier than the first two, but it pumps up the action to try and make you forget about that. The 3D is the best I have seen since Avatar and it really is a must if you plan on seeing this in theaters. Try and catch it at your favorite IMAX screen. Load your popcorn with butter and leave your brain at home because Transformers: Dark of the Moon is going to insult your intelligence and laugh at you while you give it your money, but that’s okay because it’s a lot safer then wasting your money on cigarettes and hookers, right?
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 7.5/10