Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Ehren Kruger

The Transformers series is not all too dissimilar to the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Both are based on things movies aren’t normally based (toys and amusement park rides), both started strong and have worsened with each release, and yet both are making boatloads of money at the box office, which indicates that that fun won’t be stopping anytime soon. To be perfectly honest, I am a bit of a Michael Bay apologist. I am a big fan of both The Rock and Bad Boys and I like his visual style enough to enjoy his other films. I even thought that Transformers 2 didn’t deserve the amount of negative criticism that it received.

In this installment, Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) is living in Washington, D.C. with his super hot girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who replaces the wooden Megan Fox as Sam’s girlfriend). Despite being an American hero, he cannot find work until yet another Autobots v. Decepicons gets him involved in saving the world again. Yet again humanity is at risk once again. And once again, the plot does not seem to matter much to director Michael Bay.

Now, I liked the first one well enough and I seemed to have given the second a pass where loads of people did not, but this time, I must say that the third was the worst of the series, the worst of the year, and one of the worst I might have ever seen. There were multiple times when I wanted to walk out of the theatre. There were multiple times when I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of the plot. There were multiple times when I checked my watch to see how much more of the extremely bloated runtime I had to endure. There were multiple times when I just buried my head in my hands so I didn’t have to watch.

The film was just hard to watch and a lot of it had to do with the 3D, which I won’t discuss at length, but suffice it to say I am not a fan of the technology and its use here does not change my mind. The other thing was all of the action and explosions, but it wouldn’t be half bad if it didn’t have to involved the extremely intricately design robots. The fact that they seem to have millions of little character details made my eyes hurt by the end of the movie. Many of the explosions and action are completely unnecessary to the film too. I know it’s a blockbuster and Michael Bay and explosions sell tickets and please crowds, but this one goes too far, including about an hour long battle scene at the end of the movie that just keeps going and going and it all seems to be nonsense and there just for the sake of boom and runtime.

And to touch on the plot, it was too often that it took the back seat to the beautiful cast, the stupid humor, or the superfluous action. The cast is full of pretty people, which amazes me to no end, and I will say this: Shia is fun here and I could watch his character fine, but paired with anyone else in the cast and he immediately becomes a little annoying. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is much better than Fox, not that that is very hard, and not that she actually has much to do. John Malkovich and Frances McDormand are both good at times too, but also caricatures at times too. But what annoyed me more than anything were the robots. Why do they have to each have a stupid accent and dumb personality traits. I am tired of hearing them talk.

There were fleeting moments of the great visual style I used to love from Bay, but they do not peek their head to often. And the special effects are worth mentioning because they are truly spectacular, almost to the point that the detail in them was too much. I really disliked the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean and hope they do not make a fifth, but because of the money, I know they will. I fear the same thing will happen with this series. I even heard one audience member in my theatre clapping and cheering and laughing louder than anyone in the theatre. I don’t know if that makes me feel sad for what the general public likes, or just a little bit happy that at least someone was able to get enjoyment out of something I wanted more than anything to walk out on.

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