Synopsis: Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. When a mysterious event from Earthâs past erupts into the present day it threatens to bring a war to Earth so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save us.
Release Date: July 29, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
If there were ever a time when Michael Bay would make an epic film this just may be it, with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The film is BIG, on all accounts. Big on story, big on effects, on action, and big on character. While referring to the film as an epic may seem like quite a stretch, this is Michael Bay after all–the director everyone seems to love to hate–he has mastered the fine craft of delivering movies on a large scale, and thus of epic proportions. This third installment in the Transformers franchise does not skimp on any element one might expect from this “type” of film, or a Bay film to be exact, but it is not the all around heart pumping popcorn flick extravaganza a viewer is hoping desperately for either.
Taking place a few years after the second film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, this third installment finds the Autobots working alongside humans, the United States government specifically under the command of Lt. Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and newcomer Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand), to “prevent mankind from itself.” The protagonist hero of the former films, Sam Witwicky, has no part in the government’s affiliation with the Autobot’s and is unemployed, desperately seeking a job. Every character from the previous films has moved on, changed, and adapted to new lives post the Decepticons and Autobots initial warring on Earth. Certain things have remained the same though, like the clear focus on CGI created robots doing really cool action stunts and making lots of noise.
The opening of the film takes place on the home planet Cybertron of the transformers, during the war between the Decepticons and the Autobots. The history of these two warring parties of the same race is profiled, as is the mysterious crash landing of an Autobot ship on the moon. As history is always ripe for manipulation and change in movies, Michael Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger really go all out on manipulating the facts. The race to the Moon, and the United States ultimate win, was fueled not by the Cold War and power but the need to discover the wreckage of the mysterious ship that crash landed there. The loss of signal that was encountered during the moon landing an elaborate cover-up so Buzz Aldrin (making an appearance in the film) and crew could inspect the vessel. This is the set-up for what is to come, and what fuels the biggest battle of all between Decepticons and Autobots.
Back on Earth in the city of Washington D.C. we finally meet Sam Witwicky again. As only Michael Bay could do, and do well, the scene opens on a close-up of a woman’s perfectly toned backside as she walks up the stairs in nothing more than a pair of panties and a white shirt. The introduction of the new love interest for Sam could not have been done any better as she straddles him on the bed and shows off her hotness with full impact; her name is Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley)–try to care. Thus begins the telling of what happened to Sam, his complaints over not being involved with the Autobots and the government, and his insecurity over his girlfriend paying the rent. Oh, and his car, aka Bumblebee, is no longer with him so he is now driving a beater that rarely starts. Go Sam!
Combine Sam’s issues with the impending Decepticon invasion, all set off by a trip to Chernobyl (history again, manipulated), plus add in a few side stories with old characters and new ones and you have the wholly dense (almost mess) that is Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It appears Michael Bay has attempted to make a more intelligent action film about warring robots and near helpless humans but the result is a slower paced, not very interesting, film. The second act drags painfully along, while the onslaught of new revelations and subplots is just far too much for a blockbuster of epic proportion. The simplicity that is needed to carry a film as big as this to the finale just is not there. As an action, special effects laden film it is remarkable; as a film that keeps the viewer going for the full two and a half hours running time, it has bombed because you feel every single second of those 2-plus hours.
It feels redundant to even speak about the special effects in Transformers: Dark of the Moon because there is nothing that can be said that everyone does not already now (unless you have been living under a rock for the past 5 years that is). I will take a different approach and comment on the effects that I found less than flawless–there is only one. In a scene where poor Sam is getting thrown around by a Decepticon the CGI/green screen effect is not up to par. The phrase “that looks fake” enters your mind. You then quickly forget it when Optimus Prime, Sentinel Prime, Megatron, or any other transformer enters the frame again. There you have it, one flaw noted in the entire film. It is possible more were missed but they were obviously well shielded by accelerated editing techniques and ridiculously amazing cinematography.
Michael Bay made a film called Armageddon in 1998. If one was to re-name this movie a great title would be “Armageddon Cometh, for alien robots”. The action that takes place on screen is for the most part between the Decepticons and the Autobots and it is intense. They rip each other apart like rag dolls, slice through one another like they were slicing a cake, and shoot each other to bits without hesitation. This is armageddon for the transformers race, and in the last thirty minutes of the film all hell breaks loose. If only the beginning and middle of the film were so impressive, as they tend to lag on the action front. One scene in particular that was quite good involves a bridge, and some animal-like Decepticons chasing the Autobots, tearing their way through traffic like wild beasts–this one was quite fun.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Michael BayLorenzo di BonaventuraDon Murphy
- Producer(s): Ehren Kruger
- Screenwriter(s): Shia LaBeouf (Sam Witwicky)Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Carly Miller)Hugo Weaving (voice of Megatron)
- Story: Ken Jeong (Jerry)
- Cast: Josh Duhamel (Lt. Colonel William Lennox)Frances McDormand (Charlotte Mearing)Patrick Dempsey (Dylan Gould) John Malkovich (Bruce)Leonard Nimoy (voice of Sentinel Prime)Tyrese Gibson (Robert Epps)John Turturro (Simmons)Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime)Roger BartonWilliam GoldenbergJoel NegronAmir Mokri
- Editor(s): Nigel Phelps
- Cinematographer: Steve Jablonsky
- Production Designer(s): Digital Domain
- Costume Designer: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)
- Casting Director(s): Kerner OpticalMova
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA