Posted on 8/08/11 03:26 PM
Wall-rattling explosions. Buildings toppling. Slow-motion gunfights. Government cover-ups. Giant robots. Shia LaBeouf.
Sounds like a new Transformers movie.
Director Michael Bay, the king of everything that goes BOOM, brings us the sequel to what is often considered one of the worst movies ever made. Thankfully, this time the concoction is far from bad, and is actually quite fun, but could still use a little work.
According to the film, everything you were told about the moon landing was a lie. The real reason for our race to the moon was to examine a crashed robot ship on the dark side of the moon. Upon discovering this, the Autobots race to the moon to retrieve what they believe to be a weapon that could save their home planet. However, they have fallen into an evil Decepticon trap(that's De-cep-ti-con), and Earth becomes ground zero for a full-scale invasion. Once again, the Autobots and Sam Witwicky are called upon to save the human race.
As a whole, the Transformers franchise is a love-it or hate-it franchise. If you are the kind to expect deep philosophical questions, great performances, and a little thing called character development in your films, then look elsewhere. There are very little, if any, of these things present throughout this film. What takes its place, however, is an exercise in pure, unrestrained awesomeness.
All the action is significantly ramped up from the previous installments, and we get much more robot-on-robot fights that are sure to satisfy the ten-year-old boy in all guys. Unlike the previous film, in which the fight scenes were almost incomprehensible due to the shakiness of the camera, Bay steadies his hand and delivers a clear view of the devastation and destruction. Love him or hate him, Bay is brilliant at displaying loud and fierce carnage. And yes, it's all very cool.
The fact that there is a story at all is a major improvement. This alone makes it miles better than its predecessor. The plot is straightforward, simple, and actually makes some sense. By this time, we've seen the whole Earth-as-a-battleground thing done in this series before, but it works much better this time.
Amidst all the shifting robots and explosions, it's easy to forget about the human characters. Shia LaBeouf returns and is the same as he is in the other movies - merely likable. After Megan Fox's unceremonious retirement from the series, her replacement, model Rosie Huntington-Whitely, is charming and gives a likable performance, despite her lack of acting experience. Together the two make a very convincing couple, unlike Fox's shallow character. Quite a few veteran actors, like John Turturro, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand make appearances as well, and while they make the most of their screen time, they often feel out of place and unnecessary.
That one word - unnecessary - is really a good word to describe much of the film. Some of the characters, like Turturro's and Sam's parents, feel unnecessary. A lot of the annoying gross-out humor, though toned down significantly from the previous films, is still very unnecessary. And many may say that this film itself is unnecessary.
There's a lot wrong with Transformers 3. Action takes the place of good writing and deep, relatable characters are given the boot in lieu of special effects and eye candy. But if you expected anything else from a movie based on a series of popular action figures, you're simply kidding yourself.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is by no means a great or even good film. But for what it is, it's a lot of dumb, mindless, spectacular fun. And if any of the things mentioned in the opening of this review sound appealing to you, you owe yourself a viewing of the "best" Transformers movie yet.