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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

July 3, 2011

Optimus Prime: Today we take the battle to them!

Back in July of 2007, the first Transformers movie came out. After making over 300 million at the box office, it was pretty obvious that a franchise was being spawned. About two years later, Revenge of the Fallen, an inferior sequel was released, which was a visually eye-catching film but lacked a radiant script and great performances. This year, the third and final film in the trilogy came out, and I am confident to say that Dark of the Moon is superior to both of the previous Transformers films due to the fact that it’s plainly one of the coolest films I’ve seen in my entire life. Sure, it’s flawed, but that didn’t stop me from having a great time. One thing these Transformer films have is the element of pure fun because Dark of the Moon is a long spectacle of dazzling effects, satisfying action, pure mayhem, and most importantly: the best 3D film since Avatar.

Dark of the Moon follows the life of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), who is now living with his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Sam is having trouble finding a job after graduating from college (which was paid for by the government). Meanwhile, Sam’s friends, the Autobots, who are led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), are working on secret missions with the government, finding and neutralizing Decepticons around the globe. Throughout this many intense situations occur which include a suicide, an office shootout, and a strict and crazy boss (you know, real world problems).

After Autobots leader Optimus Prime discovers a piece of The Ark (an alien ship that landed on the moon in the 60s), the government is now considered a liar to the Autobots for keeping this extremely important information from them. Secretary of Defense Charlotte Mearing (played by a fierce Frances McDormand) is in charge of the Autobot project and takes it extremely seriously. Sometime later, Earth is facing a disastrous invasion by the evil Decepticons and it is left up to Sam, SGT Lennox (Josh Duhamel), Epps (Tyrese Gibson), Agent Simmons (John Turturro), the military, and obviously the remaining Autobots to fight back and save Earth from being taken over.

Say what you will about him, but director Michael Bay knows how to make an exciting film. His strongest suit is obviously presenting awesome effects in a fun environment, and this is an aspect of his films that have made this one of the most popular franchises of all time. The effects are quite possibly the only reason that this film works, because without it, it would be a pure disaster. I’m definitely not saying that Bay is one of the greats out there, but I do believe that he is good at what he does and gives the people what they desire: almost three hours of giant robots beating the living hell out of each other, and I am more then okay with that. If you aren’t looking for what I just described, then I’d recommend you go see Larry Crowne or some other romantic-comedy type film.

The story in this film is quite confusing and convoluted, which left me in a state of confusion at some points throughout the film. From what I saw, Dark of the Moon’s plot revolves around government conspiracy and giant robots from space. Though it’s clearly apparent that these movies aren’t great at sticking at one plot and expanding on it, the action, effects, robots, explosions, and everything else make up for it. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in particular, who was surprisingly more talented, and more beautiful then Megan Fox, had my attention much more and her relationship with Sam was much more entertaining. Another aspect put to good use that didn’t work in the previous two was Simmons, played by John Turturro. In the first one, they didn’t need him and his character was used only for poor comic relief. In the second one, there was a scene where he showed his jockstrap (that’s enough to prove his character was worthless). In this film, Simmons actually has contributing actions that impact the story, and that was acceptable enough for me.

What bothers me the most about this movie is how uninterested I became with the human drama. I had no care in the world for Sam’s job quest nor did I have any interest on his relationship with his parents. His character did become more interesting when the intense war began, and gave him a purpose in this film. There are a few scenes I didn’t mind at the beginning of the film, primarily Sam’s job in the mailroom, working for a crazy boss (John Malcovich) and the bathroom interrogation between Sam and Jerry (Ken Jeong). Besides that, I had no interest until things started to pick up, but when they did, I was extremely entertained. There is also a villainous performance from Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, a fun performance from Alan “Steve the Pirate” Tudyk, and who could forget the robots? These robots are sure to earn themselves a Razzie nomination.

Now, onto the aspects of this film that make it a pure spectacle of 3D mayhem and entertainment. First off, I’m more than proud to say that this is the second greatest 3D movie of all time, right below the great Avatar. What makes the 3D so great in Dark of the Moon is that it’s something that you want to see in 3D, primarily the destruction of Chicago, and much more. This is the best 3D conversion of all time and the first time in 2011 where 3D was actually put to good use (bad uses include Thor, Cars 2, Gullivers Travels, etc; I could go on for hours). This made me think of what the film would be like if they shot each scene with James Cameron’s 3D cameras…

There is one scene in particular, which involves a group of soldiers jumping out of planes, wearing gliding suits. The reason this was so cool, was that they were actual base divers, and they had 3D cameras strapped to their heads so audiences can glorify the excitement of a soldier flying through a Chicago skyscraper. I have to say that that is one of the most eye-catching moments I’ve seen in cinema. There is one more scene that I found amazing, which involves a Decepticon called Shockwave heavily ripping through a huge building, which ends in Sam, Carly, and many others sliding down the building in a very stylish way. These scenes are well choreographed and well handled in a very great way.

A huge aspect that plays out negatively is how it tries very hard to be humorous, when it really isn’t. You would think that Bay would ditch the “comedy” tactic used in Revenge of the Fallen and focus on making an intense thriller (I’m not saying he doesn’t completely do that), but the fact that it isn’t funny contributes to the idea that he should have not included any comedy in it (especially the Irish Autobot, and the two mini-Autobots who were staying with Sam and Carly). But hey, remember the controversial and racist twin robots in Revenge of the Fallen? I’m sure glad they aren’t included in this one. I feel as if I keep mentioning this, but the astounding visuals and great action sequences make up in the long run for most flaws.

If you are expecting an oscar-worthy picture with fantastic performances, don’t see this. If you are expecting a great story with a bunch of heart and soul, don’t see this. If you are expecting a story about lessons and morals, don’t see this. If you are expecting a film which involves a robot decapitating another robot and then proceeding to disintegrate humans and later being seen destroying countless cities and buildings in Chicago and Washington DC in the coolest ways, then I’d recommend you see Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

(Knocks on door)
Dutch: (Speaks in Russian)
Man: (Opens door) That means goodbye. (Closes door)

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