Movie Review: Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon

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Movie Review: Transformers 3 – Dark of the Moon (2011)
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong
Voice Cast: Peter Cullen, Leonard Nimoy, Hugo Weaving
Plot: Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf), after having worked with the Autobots twice before to save the world, is now out of college and is having some difficulty finding a job. Sure he’s friends with giant robots who work with the government. Sure he’s gotten a medal from the president. Sure he’s living with a hot English supermodel (Megan Fox’s character apparently broke up with him between the last flick and this one). However, life’s still tough for poor ol’ Sam.

Upon getting a job at a data analytics firm, Sam witnesses a Decepticon assassination of a human employee, and immediately seeks out the Autobots to let them know about it. Turns out the ol’ US of A allies haven’t been totally honest with the Autobots, and our space race was about getting to a spaceship on the moon – a spaceship that came from Cybertron with technology that could help the Autobots win the war. And along with it, their leader Sentinel Prime (Nimoy).

Sam and crew have to race against the clock to thwart the impending Decepticon invasion and save the world – again.


Whatever you thought of the first two Transformers flicks, love ’em or hate ’em (personally, I wasn’t a fan of the live action movies), this is definitely more of the same. The best thing you can say about this movie is that it’s better than what’s come before. However, just because one piece of crap doesn’t smell as bad as another shouldn’t indicate that it’s anything other than a piece of crap. However, this piece of crap has everything you’d want in a flick: hot girls, fast cars, slow motion, sweaty dudes, and giant robots kicking the crap out of each other.

So why am I being so harsh on this movie? Mostly because it’s the kind of thing a 7 year old could understand, made PG-13 only because the robot violence is so graphic (seriously slow motion decapitations and parts spewing about) and adult language.

Gone are many of the things that made the second flick suck so much:

1) No more racist twins (instead we’ve got short little robot comic relief, which are less racists but still sound like they’re a little racist).

2) No more incomprehensible plot (instead we have a 30 minute kids cartoon plot extended to 2.5 hours by slow motion action scenes)

3) No more robot testicles, pee jokes, or John Turturro’s butt shots

4) No more Megan Fox (although, to be fair, the new chick doesn’t really have a lot of opportunity to show off her acting chops in this movie – she’s mostly there to look at)

However, there are a lot of problems with the movie:

1) Pacing. The Transformers movies have all suffered from an amount of pacing issues, where there’s action for like an hour and half of the movie…and it just starts to get boring. The guy sitting next to me at this pre-screening must have checked his phone like 8 times in the last 40 minutes of the movie because, well, it was past time for the movie to be over.

2) Equal screen time for characters. Basically, this movie proves once again that Optimus Prime is an ass-kicker…however, the rest of the Autobots can’t really finish a fight without him. They can barely hold their own until he shows up and wipes the floor with whoever he’s fighting. It was a little sad that they rely on him so much to finish a fight. No wonder the Autobots aren’t doing so well in this war.

3) Megatron. The dude is in this movie what Cobra Commander became in the animated GI Joe series once Serpentor entered the scene: redundant. A joke. Unnecessary. I want to see the leader of the Decepticons – the tyranny of the universe – actually do some cool stuff!

4) The ending. No spoilers, but after all’s said and done there’s no falling action. You get 30 seconds of camera panning around the heroes, 2 lines of dialogue, and credits. It’s like they got bored making the movie and just needed to cut it short after the fighting stopped. I was a little disappointed.

There are a lot of things that this movie does have going for it, which were certainly enjoyable:

1) Plot: While not stellar in any sense, the story was similar to what you would find in the animated series. Anyone 7 years old (or able to be in touch with their 7 year old self) will enjoy it well enough. Sure it’ll riddled with plot holes – but nothing like the previous flick. So long as you don’t ask “why” at any given point in the movie, you’ll be mindlessly entertained.

2) Special Effects: They are at the top they’ve been in the series. Despite my personal feelings on the design of the robots (ie: I hate them), they do look really good and they’ve done a good job of adding more color to the good guys – so it’s a little easier to understand what’s going on and who’s doing what during the action scenes.

3) Stunts: I was downtown about a block away while they were filming many of these in Chicago, and they are stellar. Guys jumping off the top of buildings, gliding through buildings – it’s intense! Some of the best stuff in the movie.

4) Explosions: There’s a lot of them.

5) Hot Women: There’s one of them. She does an okay job.

6) Sweaty dudes: If this is your thing, you’re in luck. Although, they are significantly less sweaty than the previous movies.

So here’s my summary of the flick: Transformers 3 is more of the same. If you liked the first two, you’re in luck. If you hated the first two, avoid this movie like the plague. I found myself hating it less than the previous flicks…but again, that’s not an endorsement. It just stinks less. The spectacle of the flick will certainly help you to forget it’s glaring flaws, and the kid in you will help you focus on the spectacle.

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