Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon


The third (and hopefully final) installment in the Transformers franchise is just as weak as its immediate predecessor and far weaker than the opening salvo in the trilogy.  The scenario setup had promise though.  The Apollo program and the space race were an elaborate front to get to the moon and check out a UFO which crash landed there.  This crashed ship turns out to be a casualty from the Transformers home world of Cybertron and naturally holds some cargo which both the Autobots and Decepticons desire.  These events are combined with more historical fiction including Chernobyl and with quality writing could really have taken off somewhere intriguing.  Unfortunately, Michael Bay chose to focus on an extremely uncharismatic Shia LeBeouf and his insecurities of unemployment, jealousy concerning his girlfriend, and wishing he had more recognition from his previous attempts to save humanity.  To extend an even bigger weakness, John Turturro is also back again and now seems like even more of a Daffy Duck sidekick instead of an actual human being.      
Michael Bay tries harder this time to make the hand-to-hand combat amongst machines work but anyone sitting in the audience will continue to find it quite challenging to tell the difference between Autobot and Decepticon until they somehow untangle themselves.  At the beginning of fight scenes, the action changes to slow motion to show the actual connection of machine on machine.  Right after that though, it speeds right back up into complete chaos.  Also, the humans scurrying around beneath their robotic feet while dodging falling bits of building somehow never get accidentally squished which should really give a lot of credit to the machines situational awareness.    

The Autobot leader, Optimus Prime, reprises his ministerial role and speaks only in philosophical platitudes which contribute nothing to anyone and is most likely why he receives far less screen time to perch on his soap box and preach at whoever is unlucky enough to be in the room when he begins a sermon.  His speeches resemble a page-a-day motivational calendar. 
The female lead this time, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is not Megan Fox but is interchangeable enough that it does not matter.  Casting also added ensured the new accent brought a British accent with her to make her even sexier to the American male audience.  The first hour of the film has her getting in and out of quite a few low-riding vehicles in extremely short dresses which have most of the audience straining to catch a glimpse.  I wonder if Megan Fox left this series before or after she read this script; she dodged a bullet here.     
The new additions of Patrick Dempsey, Francis McDormand, and John Malkovich hold their own with limiting material but Ken Jeong’s character is just flat out ridiculous.  John Turturro is already in the film to provide the lame comic relief; adding Jeong helped make the first hour even worse than it was already shaping up to be. 

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