Monday, June 19, 2017

Movie Review: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011)

Director: Michael Bay
Year: 2011
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 34 minutes

It is discovered that the Ark, an ancient cybertronian ship housing a powerful weapon, crashed on the dark side of the moon many decades ago. This secret has been hidden by the government, and now, the Autobots want to make sure the cargo of that ship and its pilot, Sentinel Prime, don't end up in the hands of the Decepticons.

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is the third installment in the "Transformers" franchise. It is once again directed by Michael Bay and is written by Ehren Kruger, the only returning writer from previous sequel, the comedy-laden mess known as "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." We have to assume the writers who did not return to this third movie were the ones responsible for the twin douche-bots and the endless string of sex jokes because that sustained level of goofiness and raunch are absent here. Also noticeably absent is Megan Fox, who has been written out of the movie. In her stead is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who plays Carly, the new girlfriend of Sam Witwicky, once again played by Shia LaBeouf. Also returning are Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White. One thing that certainly hasn't changed is the plot. The Autobots must find the ~big, powerful object from cybertron~ before the Decepticons use it to destroy all of mankind. As you may expect, a gigantic robot battle is sure to ensue, but not before lots of running around, havoc, and dozens and dozens of cars.

It's hard to critique movies like this because, while we can call them "stupid" until the cows come home, what did we really expect? They are "Transformers" movies! We can say the dialogue is horrendous, but again, this isn't meant to be Shakespeare, it's the third "Transformers" movie! It is supposed to be a big, dumb, calamitous action flick that puts entertainment above all else. So therein lies the question: did this movie entertain us? The answer to that timeless question, for us, is HELL NO, and we attribute it to poor writing, bad character development, and its entire story in general.

The biggest problem with this installment, by far, is its pacing. This movie is really, really boring, and it's not like it lacks action. It feels like the action here has no purpose. It's little more than mindless chaos for the sake of making bigger, badder explosions than its two predecessors. Much like the previous installment, at one point, we checked to see how long the movie had left before it would be over. When we did, we realized it still had an hour and a half to go. Michael Bay really needs to take a course in getting to the goddamn point. The formula is the same recycled plot with even more mayhem and even bigger explosions. After finally saying "I love you" to one another in "Revenge of the Fallen," Megan Fox is written out entirely for Huntington-Whiteley, not that she gets anything to do. We don't get to know her character at all, but it's not like we need to when we have entire segments of her upskirt as she walks up the stairs! John Malkovich and Frances McDormand are also cast in this third movie because reasons! We also get introduced to Shockwave and Sentinel Prime, and again, there is no character development for these antagonists.

We have been accused many times of being Michael Bay haters. This is simply not true. If you use the "tags" function to the right of these reviews, you'll see we have liked several of Bay's movies, from "Armageddon" to "13 Hours" to "Pain and Gain." Hell, we even think the first "Transformers" movie is fine! Bay can be a good director, explosions and all when he wants to be, but he's lost his (All)spark when it comes to the Autobots and the Decepticons. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" proves when he's only out to make things atrociously more loud and obnoxious, good things don't happen. This is only a minor improvement upon "Revenge of the Fallen," but it's still not enough to make it a decent, cohesive movie with plot points, characters, and action that matter.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 35%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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