It would seem that Michael Bay may be seeing the error of his ways. I remember by the time that Revenge of the Fallen had found it’s way out of theaters that I would ask questions like- “Why do we need the human characters?” “Can we just have a movie with only Transformers in it?” “Why all the forced toilet humor?” And even though it seemed like Bay had started to tone it down a little and just focus on his craft of blowing shit up, Dark of the Moon still had that wasted human element to it. I liked the character of Sam Witwicky and think that Shia LaBoeuf is a great actor, but after three movies of the character, his parents and his girlfriends, I’m kind of ready for a Transformers movie just about…. Transformers. It seems like the movies are at least 70% CGI with the Autobots and Decepticons onscreen for the majority of the movie so why not just have a movie focusing on their war against one another? I don’t mind the human characters acting as support but I don’t need a lovesick kid running around trying to prove his self worth to everyone.
Now come reports that the next Tranformers movie will still indeed be a sequel to Dark of the Moon, but will feature less comedy and not so many human characters. Josh Duhamel has been pretty candid about the fact that neither himself nor any other actors have been contacted in regards to the fourth Tranformers movie, courtesy of E! Online:
“I don’t think anybody’s doing it,” Josh Duhamel told us last night at the launch party for Sony PlayStation’s new PS Vita portable entertainment system. “I know Shia [LaBoeuf]’s not doing it. I don’t think Tyrese or Rosie [Huntington-Whiteley] or anybody else is doing it.”
“Whenever these movies make that much money they’re going to make as many as they can,” he said. “[But] I haven’t heard anything about it. They haven’t called me.”
If there were human characters that I didn’t mind, it would have been the soldiers including those played by Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson because they were all business about killing Decepticons and not how their girlfriend thought about their socioeconomic status.
I’d love to see the Autobots engaging the Decepticons on different planets throughout the galaxy as they did on the cartoon and the Transformers animated movie in the 80’s. I honestly doubt that the budget would be affected by having less “real” shooting locations, especially with how much money the studio knows that it’s going to make off the franchise. They could make the fourth movie about Optimus Prime trying to find his inner human whilst also looking for a female Transformer to settle down with and the movie would still gross almost a billion dollars worldwide. We can only hope that Michael Bay remains serious about toning down the cheesiness and five year old humor in his Transformer movies until the movie is finished. Am I expecting some sort of Academy Award winning performance from Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime? No. Nor am I looking for a deadly serious movie with the complexity of something like Inception because we all know that Transformers is a popcorn summer action flick. Just give us something true to the Transformers mythos and we’ll be happy.
Okay, you should all know the drill by now. Don’t go into a Transformers movie with some sort of hope that it will change your life, or that you’ll glean some sort of valuable information after viewing it. Yes, by now we should all realize that there are good robots called Autobots, and bad robots called Decepticons. And more often than not these robo-factions are beating the bionic shit out of one another…brutally. That fact resonates loudly in this latest and last (at least according to Bay) installment of the franchise. I was actually ready for it to be over, but after this one it leaves me strangely wanting more.
So in case you haven’t seen the widely marketed trailer for the film, there is another cover-up/slash conspiracy in our government regarding the robots in disguise. The moon mission back in 1969? Just an excuse for our government to investigate a crashed transformer ship on the moon’s surface. This ship, known as the Ark, was an Autobot vessel carrying not only their leader – Sentinel Prime, but a technology that could somehow save Cybertron. I’m going to refrain from spoiling everything in this review, so if you want to know who lives and who dies then too bad!
What ensues (Or so it seems) is a race against time to find the technology and Sentinel Prime on the moon before the Decepticons do. It’s a little more complex than that but I’ll just say that the first hour and half set up the final hour worth of non stop action.
Let’s start off with what I liked about the transformer characters in the movie, and I’ll follow it up with those I hated because you know that was inevitable. On the Decepticon side there were a couple of newcomers. Laser Beak, Soundwave’s minion, was actually pretty creepy and cool – unlike Frenzy from the first movie. Soundwave by the way is no longer a satellite in orbit like in part two, he’s a car, but I won’t spoil you with which one he is. Shockwave is our next contestant who, while bad-ass, plays almost no role except to be a complete a-hole. That’s fine with me by the way. Megatron and Starscream return, with Megatron looking extra menacing with half his face missing and robotic spiders crawling in and out of his head. I will let slip to you that the Decepticons are very deceptive (Yes I wrote that.) in this movie and the story is a step above that of Revenge of the Fallen which isn’t saying much, but it’s acceptable.
Now onto the Autobots. Sentinel Prime is superbly voiced by Leonard Nimoy (who also played Galvatron in the 80’s animated film.) and was the leader of the Autobots before the role was handed down to Optimus. Optimus is back and better than ever, his truck trailer now tagging along to transform into a mobile armory for him. Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe and Bumblebee all return, but there are also a few new Autobots gracing the screen this time. Dino is an almost ninja like Autobot, using multiple blades to fight his enemies. Que, is basically an homage to the James Bond movies, and sort of serves as the movie’s Wheeljack, supplying the humans and fellow Autobots with weapons. I actually completely hated how his head looked like the skull of a balding old man with gray hair sticking out of the sides….epic fail. The Wreckers are a group of Autobots who maintain their only transportation off of Earth: Top Spin, Leadfoot and Roadbuster. Though one is completely silent, the other two have thick Scottish accents which I was digging. They even transformed into heavily weaponized Impala race cars!
The only other two Autobots were Wheelie (from part 2) and Brains, who were so inconsequential that I don’t even need to cover them. Actually Mr. Bay, I’d like to claim my 25 grand for spotting the Twins in this movie because you just replaced two annoying robots with another set! Pay up!
Enough about robots though, let’s get to our human characters. Shia LeBeouf is back as our leading man Sam Witwicky (For his last stint as the character supposedly), who is struggling to find a job after college, but somehow has no problem struggling to find amazingly hot supermodel girlfriends. After Mikayla dumped him, Sam managed to snag Carly who is an English gal and looks like an effin’ Victoria’s Secret model! Oh wait, I forgot that she actually is a Victoria’s Secret model in real life! For someone just getting into acting, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley works on screen just as well if not better than Megan Fox. I don’t think at one point I ever once thought of Megan Fox since the first shot we are treated to is of Whiteley’s very gifted behind. You’ve done it again Michael Bay!
But back to Shia. He’s back and still goofy as ever, but in the likeable way, not in the Jar Jar Binks way. Sam’s parents were back, but it was thankfully brief this time instead of the overload we received in Revenge of the Fallen. The rest of the gang is in rare form with Josh Duhamel (Lennox), Tyrese Gibson (Epps) and John Turturro (Simmons) returning. Unfortunately in regards to the roles of John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Ken Jeong and Alan Tudyk they made the movie’s cast seem a bit bloated. Many of their roles, though funny, were ultimately unnecessary. At this point you may ask why I left out our boy Patrick Dempsey. The reason I did that was because I thought his character added a new element to the movies that was missing. *SPOILER INCOMING*
In the prequel book to Revenge of the Fallen (The Veiled Threat by Alan Dean Foster) Starscream employed the forces of African rebels and a corrupt Italian businessman in his battle against the Autobots while Megatron was gone. So it was good to finally see a group of humans siding with who they see as the winning side in the Decepticons, and like Dempsey’s character Dylan Gould says at one point –“You think they gave me a choice?” And I have to admit as a non Patrick Dempsey fan, he played the role of the douche bag to perfection.
So overall I have to give Dark of the Moon 3 out of 5 grizzlies.
Bay has definitely made up for the monstrosity that was Revenge of the Fallen, but just barely. The visuals were stunning, especially the Decepticon assault on Chicago. It seemed like Bay did everything for that whole segment except flash a message across the screen that said –“Suck it Skyline and Battle: LA!” It would truly seem like this is the last of the Transformers franchise under Bay because there was a whole lot of robotic death going on, but I’m sure they could come up with something for another installment.
The storyline wasn’t as terrible as Revenge of the Fallen, even though the whole ‘Pillar’ aspect seemed to echo the process of the sun harvester from the last movie. All I can say is at least they had a few twists and turns along the way. The cast was great, even the notable faces who didn’t have a whole lot to do. It makes me think most of them lost a bet to Bay and had to be in his next transformers movie. I will definitely look forward to seeing Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in more movies to come. She was as hot as Megan Fox (if not hotter) but was not a terrible actress. I almost can’t think of any English actors who suck unless they are doing an American accent in a movie. (You’re terrible Bale!) So what did everyone else think of the movie? An improvement at least? Or was it just a special effects laden piece of dog crap?