"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" Movie Review
My expectations were low for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” The second film in the franchise, 2009’s “Revenge of the Fallen,” treated us to a barrage of noisy visual and aural effects that the third film should be better right? Wrong! The threequel is a soulless, joyless experience with a few eye-popping special effects.
From the underdeveloped script by Ehren Krueger (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”) to the wobbly direction by Michael Bay to the overacting histrionics of Shia LaBeouf, “Dark of the Moon” is a disjointed mess that exists solely on the power of the “Transformers” brand.
Our favorite Autobots, the good ones, are back led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen). Too bad they spend most of the time hiding from the Decepticons and their leader, Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving).
Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is now finished with college and is looking for a job. He misses the good, old days of saving the world with his Autobot friends. After the events of the second “Transformers,” Sam was a star. He was even given a hero’s welcome by President Obama.
Years later, Sam is all but forgotten. All he wants now is to find a job so he can feel his life matters again. But a character who is totally forgotten is Megan Fox’s Mikaela Banes. The movie explains that she dumped Sam and his robot friends. Fox should be happy she was dumped from joining this hot mess.
Replacing Fox is Victoria’s Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly. She is Sam’s new girlfriend and of course, a Decepticon bait. Much like Fox, Huntington-Whiteley is gorgeous, and was given three simple emotions to act on – sad, happy, and scared – all while wearing skimpy outfits.
At the heart of the film is a premise tied to Apollo 11’s landing on the moon in 1969. Apparently, in 1962, an Autobot ship piloted by Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) crashed on the moon while escaping their war-torn planet of Cybertron.
Sentinel Prime was carrying an important cargo that the Decepticons wanted. Seven years later, humans conquered the moon and uncovered something dangerous. And according to the movie, that was the reason we haven’t been back on the moon since 1972.
I thought it was clever that the script tried to ground the movie into reality by mixing fact and fiction. But it was not done seamlessly. By the time the real Buzz Aldrin meets Optimus Prime, you will be yawning in boredom.
Like the first two “Transformers,” the real stars of the film are the robots and the humans are reduced to mere cartoons. Even respected thespians like Oscar-winner Frances McDormand and John Malkovich are reduced into caricatures.
McDormand plays a National Intelligence Director whose sole purpose is to give Sam a hard time, while Malkovich is the employer who gives our hero a job. Even “The Hangover’s” Ken Jeong shows up as a NASA engineer who warns Sam of the impending doom and gloom.
LaBeouf spends the entire movie whining, mopey, and utterly annoying. By now, the actor has mastered the art of being petrified. LaBeouf must return to making independent films with heart and soul. Bloated Hollywood excess is not doing the actor any good.
The threequel is also a globetrotter with the narrative taking us to Washington D.C., Chicago, and Russia. Apparently, Chernobyl happened because America went to the moon.
But the real villain of the movie is Bay himself. The director cannot tell a story even if his life depended on it! Executive Producer Steven Spielberg must train Bay or not give him any movie to direct at all!
Oh sure, Bay is a visual director, and there are many scenes in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” that will make you glad you saw it in 3D. There are a couple of action scenes that you will not be able to resist. But action scenes do not make a completely satisfying movie.
I really want this movie to succeed. I’m a geek-at-heart, and I grew up enjoying the “Transformers” franchise. But “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is an over-budgeted and overstuffed exercise that will not make you go over the moon.
RATING: “TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON” – 2 KISSES
Country: United States
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