Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Credentials: 7.0 out of 10 ( Certified Rotten ( out of 100 (

Plot: Apparently that whole “space race” thing back in the day was just an excuse to investigate an alien robot ship that crash landed on the moon. Meanwhile in the present day, our unnecessary hero Sam (Shia “Beeftown” LaBeouf) is finding himself very unlucky on the job-hunting front. I’d like to feel sorry for him, I really would, expect inexplicably Beeftown has traded in his old gal pal and her horrible attitude (Megan Fox) for a newer, sexier and British-ier version (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Anyway, eventually the good Transformers (Autobots) and the bad ones (Decepticons) hear tell of the ship on the moon so they all start hatching plans to claim its precious cargo.
Thoughts: There was one question I went into “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” hoping I would get an answer to. (Actually, there were two if you count: “Why am I doing this to myself?”)
                The question was: What in the blue hell happened to the word “side” and why isn’t it in the title of this movie?
                Sadly, I did not receive an answer.
                What I did end up getting, however, was mildly entertained.

                It looks like director Michael Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger put forth a little bit of effort this time.
                “Transformers: Dark (SIDE) of the Moon” is without a doubt the best of Bay’s three stabs at making a movie about warring robot aliens.
                The action scenes are loud and overlong in true Bay fashion, but I never got lost during a single one. I always knew who was fighting who and… even stranger… why.
                Bay pulls his camera back and lightens up on his usual frantic editing, and actually lets his audience see blow for blow robots fighting each other. And guess what? It’s a beautiful thing.
                This time around, Bay and his team spent some time designing their robot leads. Instead of a sea of greys and airplanes, the transformers manage to distinguish themselves. They do this despite the fact that very few of them, especially the bad ones, get to do much talking.
                So the action is solid, but as I said it goes on for too long. The hour plus climactic battle scene will likely tire out even the most hardcore fans. Seriously, you can only watch so many buildings blow up before the shine wears off.
                The story is… nearly intelligible. It gets sidetracked periodically, and is way too bloated but I think this one made the most sense of the three.
                Some advice for Michael Bay and company. I can’t tell you enough how little we care about these characters. We want to see robots fighting and hot girls. Everything else is just parsley on the plate. So please stop using so much parsley! A sprig will do just fine.
                I don’t understand how Bay can so affectionately embrace his image as Hollywood’s oldest teenager and yet still refuse to just skip the useless attempts at character development in the “Transformers” movies.
                Just stick to what you’re good at Bay, indiscriminately blowing stuff up. Leave the character stuff for the pros. And for the love of all that is holy STOP making three hour long movies! You could chop at least an hour off of “Dark of the Moon” and not lose anything of value.
                On to the acting. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has ratcheted it up to 11 in this one.
LaBeouf does his usual, goofy, Corey Matthews circa latter day “Boy Meets World” nonsense, but this time he’s not alone.
John Malkovich AND Ken Jeong are both in this movie. That is a whole lotta crazy. And the thing is: Bay doesn’t seem to have any interest in reining in either one. He turns them loose on an unsuspecting movie going public, and waits to see who can chew the most scenery in the shortest amount of screen time.
                Neither hangs around very long, but I think Jeong’s paranoid schizophrenic edged out Malkovich’s excessive tan and OCD. By a hair.
                Even the Transformers are hamming it up. Many now sport silly haircuts and have outrageous Monty Python accents.
                What about newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whitelely? Critics haven’t been kind to her, saying outrageous things like: “She makes Megan Fox look like Judy Dench.”
                The truth is Rosie is NOT a good actress. But the part doesn’t call for one. Heck, Fox did it for two movies. All you have to do is stand around, look hot, pout and occasionally react to stuff.
                Rosie pouts and reacts just fine and she’s way hotter than Megan Fox. Plus she doesn’t have a raging personality disorder. Good trade.
 “Transformers 3” has its fair share of laughs. It loses the robot balls, racism and animal humping from part two and goes back to some real, honest comic relief. Aside from the nonstop over-the-top performances, a few of the smaller Autobots provide some chuckles here and there.
Even better: Sam’s parents are kept mostly in the background.  
            Lastly, it only took three movies, but finally Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson get to do stuff!
            “Dark of the Moon” is the “Citizen Kane” of Bay’s “Transformer” movies. Granted, that’s not saying very much considering the quality of the other films in the series. It’s still not very good and I would never, EVER sit through it again, but it could be worse. It could be “Transformers.” Or it could be even worse and be “Revenge of the Fallen.”  
            One question remains: What did you people do to the word “side?????”
            Well, that and why in the good goddamn did you cast Hugo Weaving and then give him almost nothing to do for three whole movies?
             Bumblebee tuna.

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