Jul 11, 2011

[Movies] Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)I'm a huge Transformers fan. I have been since my childhood when the original TV series was still on the air. I still have many of my original G1 Transformers with me and I continue to collect figures that tie in with the original series.

However, being a fan is never a good thing for a practical review of any movie, TV show or book. When you're too close to the subject that you're trying to review, you end up skewing things along emotional paths. Thus you get reviews that overly praise the material based on what you were looking for as a fan. And on the other end of the spectrum you get reviews that are overly negative since your fan expectations, which are different from your regular expectations, weren't met.

And thus my difficulty with this movie review. I love the core franchise of the Transformers series but I've come to hate the Michael Bay monstrosities he's released into the world. The first movie survived my initial scrutiny because of the fan in me being happy to finally see a live action Transformers movie., The sequel was beyond horrible and made the fan in me lost several thousand geek IQ points. And then this movie came along.

As part of my dedication to this blog continuing to feature reviews that are useful to everyone, especially non-geeks and and non-fans, I'll do my best to keep my head as I write this.

Transforers: Dark of the Moon is the third in the trilogy of Michael Bay directed movies and at best can be classified as a science fiction action movie. This time around the screenplay was written by Ehren Kruger, who also contributed to the second movie.

We are first brought back to the space race in the 1960's. Apparently the whole space race to the moon was spurred on by an event - an alien craft crash-landing on the moon. The ship turned out to be an Autobot vessel which contained a secret weapon meant to end the Cybertronian war with the Decepticons. Back in the present, the Decepticons have gone into hiding and the Autobots continue to assist the humans with various military concerns around the world, although still in secret from the general public.

Things change when a team is sent to investigate news of an alien artifact in the irradiated remains of Chernobyl. Once there, the Autobots discover that it is a component from the missing Autobot ship.Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) becomes enraged that their human allies have withheld information about Cybertronian activity and swears to venture to the moon in order to investigate the crashed vessel. There he discovers the inactive yet still functional form of Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), the last leader of the Autobots before Optimus. and with him is the fabled device that would have changed the course of the war.

Shia LaBeouf posing at the Transformers: Reven...Image via WikipediaOn the human front, Spike (Shia LeBeouf) has already graduated from college but now struggles to find a job. He now lives in with this new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whitely), who is much more successful than him at this point. And once Spike meets her boss, the dashing and charming Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), he becomes jealous of his attentions on Carly and continues to struggle with the frustration of not being able to help out the Autobots and the rest of the world having no idea of his contribution to save the world.

The movie is definitely your typical sort of popcorn bonanza. The special effects are indeed rather impressive. The acting was decent enough, especially given many big name stars involved in the project. The notable ones apart from the usual cast are Frances McDormand as Charlotte Mearing, head of the NSA and John Malkovich as the man who eventually agrees to hire Shia LeBeouf's character. And even the 3D for this project has been said to be rather good, although I can 't really comment since we only watched it in the traditional 2D medium. So if you just want the kind of movie that doesn't require your brain too much for an afternoon, then this is a good way to spend your money.

When you do engage your brain however, you will realize a lot of the weird errors and annoyances woven into the script of this movie. It has a lot of bad dialog that involves the characters stating the obvious in case you can't figure out things for yourself and other eccentricities. The movie has a lot of tangents that don't make a lot of sense such as the need to bring in Spike's parents for an odd cameo of sorts or even the need to have Spike hook up with former agent Simmons (John Tuturro) to go on a little side quest of their own. And don't get me started on the ridiculous characters of Wheelie (Tom Kenny) and Brains (Reno Wilson).

The voice acting of Leonard Nimoy did add an interesting angles to things, that much I have to admit. Then again I'm a huge Star Trek fan, so any excuse to watch something involving Nimoy tends to justify a fair amount of enthusiasm. Peter Cullen also did a good job, but then I doubt anyone else can really fill in Prime's shoes. And of course the geek in me had to admit that the madcap performance of Alan Tudyk as Dutch, Simmons' aide, was probably one of the best parts of the movie.

On the whole though, the movie has a lot of issues, depending on how much thought you put into the movie. It could be a great and amazing movie if you stick to the shallower parts of your consciousness. Or it can be a tortuous affair if you actually try to think about the plot for more than 5 seconds and try to figure out how the Transformers are supposed to work and such. Take your pick, I suppose. As for the non-fan part of me, the movie gets pretty much 3 ridiculous scenes of explosive destruction out of a possible 5.

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  1. Parang late na masyado ang iyong review since according to www.showbiznest.com, "Transformers 3 Grosses P210.33-M in PHL in First 5 Days of Showing". Parang napanood na s'ya ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Di ba dapat ang review ay pag malapit na ang showing? Kaya nga may advance screening para sa mga movie critics wahehehehe. Opinion ko lang charot. Wag mainis, mahal ang patis :)

  2. Arte naman Elmer - as if I get tickets to premieres all the time. =P

  3. Wushu... if I know, daming nagbibigay sa inyo ng premiere tickets :)

  4. Sira - if I did get tickets, then naturally the reviews would come out sooner. For now, we're still paying for movie tickets out of pocket - not that this is a bad thing. =P