NeoBaggins Reviews Transformers: Dark of the Moon

NeoBaggins Reviews <i>Transformers: Dark of the Moon</i>

Michael Bay has approached the Transformers franchise with a slightly different method. Did it work?

Before I begin, I will recap my experience with the Transformers franchise thus far. But you can skip the mini reviews of TF and TF2 and start reading where it says "Spoilers".

When the first film hit theaters, I was excited with the trailers and TV spots that preceded it's release. I found out about a special 8PM showing days before it's official release, at a ghetto ass theater in walking distance. I only see films here if they are really mindless movies that I'm not super serious about seeing. When I got to the theater, it was packed, and long story short; the crowd was energetic, the film was awesome and reminded me of going to the movies back in the 80s', when crowd pleasing blockbusters were rare, and a big budget film didn't come out every other day to dull your senses and make you spoiled. I loved the film and the stupid narrative problems could easily be polished away if the sequel only tightened things up but a little. At any rate, Bay brought Transformers to the screen in a way that I am convinced that NO ONE ELSE would have. You couldn't ask for better special FX, production values and grand attention to quality for a movie based on a toy line. Say what you will about Bay, but he shouldn't have been able to make a successful live-action Transformers movie. It was miraculous because so much can go wrong so fast.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This was big, long and retarded. Instead of doing away with the problem elements of the first film, he amplifies them in the sequel. Eye-rolling, pretentious air of seriousness, coupled with dramatic music to scenes that earned no dramatic weight. It was a mess story-wise and had some of the most terrible ideas I've ever seen; Transforming-humanoid-Terminatrix-Bich and Transformer Dog balls. When the little robot humps Megan Fox'leg, I laughed... but not cause it was funny. Hope you understand that. But long story short, ROTF led me to have zero anticipation for the third installment. I didn't follow any news, didn't search for new robots online and the trailer was meh. But I noticed a different tone to the film from the clips, and that's what put it on my to-see list. But I wouldn't be rushing to the theater.

On July 1st, I returned to that ghetto ass theater for a 3D matinee of TF3. Why I mentioned "matinee", I don't know. The ticket still cost $11 fucking dollars. Then the concession line was ridiculous with one cashier. I came into the movie in the opening NASA sequence. I thought the NASA and JFK plots would take me back to ROTF with Bay trying to make something too serious out of something that's not that deep. But this element of the film was lite, and it didn't have all the exposition that ROTF had- but it was there.


New Girlfriend: They put this into motion quickly, and without grace or restraint. They show her ass first. And while I love hot women, I'm not a teenager, so it's insulting when someone tries to sell me something with ass like I'm an idiot. But the new girl is SMOOOKIING HOT and only a fruit-bat would say she isn't. I've seen a few disgruntled Fox fans on here calling her ugly as if they have dated anyone with an ounce of Rosie Huntington's looks. But it gets better; she can act, she's an active contributor to the story and her relationship with Sam is believable and well developed. She outclasses Fox in every way. She's a strong member of the cast in this film.

Plot: This is where ROTF started ROTFallen apart. It's ridiculous, as a movies plot would be that involves transforming copy machines, but Bay keeps it less convoluted and confusing that the films predecessor. There is one central plot without much confusion and it is executed fairly well. For a moment, I thought I'd been tricked when things got a little too wacky with the preliminaries leading into the core of the movie. The Asian man from The HangOver is obviously here because... he's the Asian man from The HangOver. He dies. Awesome. There's some confusion as to what the physics would be if an alien planet hundreds of times bigger than Earth poked it's head into our atmosphere in kissing distance, but it's forgivable for what the premise of these films are. But the Sentinal Prime twist early on is a nice touch. You can actually feel the betrayal. It's Leonard fucking Nemoy. He's supposed to be a good guy. The main human asshole is also a nice addition. He's well developed as a character and even more so as a villain. His betrayal is also introduced as a twist.

I think Cybertron was destroyed as well, and that's kinda confusing too. Isn't it every robots home? =(

Transformers and Characters: This installment has probably the most attention and development of the Robots. This was attempted in the last movie, with entire Transformer scenes of robot to robot dialog. But with the confusion of the non-transforming "Fallen" and robot babies falling out of juice sacks, it's hard to concentrate on the effort. But here, it is apparently different that Bay is making a different movie. When the junky truck, which is now Megatron, rendezvous with soundwave, who I had no idea was in the film, it gets your attention as to why they're meeting. You cared to know what they were going to say. Bay has built suspense. Who knew? But still, many of the robots are nameless and faceless and get very little personal shine. However, Peter Cullen and Leonard Nemoy are front and center. They are doing more than voice work here. They are breathing life into these two characters with convincing results. This is definitely an Optimus Prime movie. He never felt like a leader in the first film to me, and he's nearly non-existent in the second one and his story is muddy there as well. He kicks ass in ROTF but it's a bit hollow. Optimus is laying shit down and has an undeniable presence in TF3.

Most of all the important deaths were executed with anti-climatic results. Starscream dies uneventfully as well as Ironhide and Megatron. You don't really care when Ironhide dies and you don't really cheer when Starscream dies. They didn't work for it and I think Bay was relying on the weight of the previous films to provide the mood. But those scenes needed to be accented for full cinematic effect. There were good kills, but they had potential to be epic. My favorite is Sentinal Primes death. I like it because, Sentinal thought he was doing something good while doing something bad, and this would usually mean someone like Optimus ending up trying to hold on to SP's hand before letting go and falling to his death. Nope, Optimus blows his fucking head off. And it's a cold shot. I love it. No accident. He didn't care that SP went bad while trying to justify cloudy reasoning to preserve his race. Optimus didn't forgive him.

Shia is unusually on point in this film. He does his wisecracking frantic thing, but when the film calls for a tone of seriousness and drama, he's on his game- and he has to be. All the actors are doing there jobs. Rosie, Patrick Demsy, Josh Duhamel, the stiff FBI lady and a strong performance for Tyrese. The weakest link may have been the S7 guy, but he's comedy relief.

Action It's a Michael Bay film. There's a particular scene that was so undeniably, ridiculously awesome, that I was applauding before I even realized it. As was the entire theater. It involves Sam falling out of Bubble in the sickest Transforming moment yet.
A bit was spent too long in the final battles. Shockwaves, worm droid, destroys and chases the heroes for an extended period of time. But it gets interesting when a Decepticon enters the toppled building their in and attacks them. But I'll forgive the long ending considering it's supposed to be Bays last Transformers. So it's expected that it goes big and long here. What, Peter Griffin not going to acknowledge me saying "big and long"?

I'm tired of writing so, I'll sum it up. Bay tightened things up with the story and drama, and he won. And it may not even be by much, but in the right places. While you can strike twice when the original is the original, Bay did manage to bring that good time at the movies back to Transformers, full circle.

A perfect ending to the trilogy.
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