Wednesday, August 3, 2011

TGD Movie Review: Transformers 3 (Yeah, I Know You Probably Saw It Already)

I finally saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which I will henceforth refer to Transformers 3 because the unique name for each movie when it is obviously a sequel to the first annoys me (that goes for you too, Pirates of the Caribbean), and though I was probably one of the lastI cannot, in good faith, go see a movie without typing a review here.  I'll make it quick and painless, unlike the third Transformers movie was.

The Plus Side: You expect awesome special effects and amazing action from Michael Bay and the Transformers franchise.  You get it here.  I don't know about you, but the destruction of an entire city playing out on the big screen is always a draw for me.  No matter how bad the story and acting is, if you throw explosions, guns and giant robots into a movie, I will spend at least some portion of it gasping, "Whoa, awesome!" to myself in the middle of the film.

The story wasn't a complete throwaway, either.  It was interesting to see government conspiracies tied in to historical events as they might have related to the Transformers.  The space race and moon landing cast in the light of the arrival of giant alien robots was an interesting spin.

There was some humor as well.  Of course, a lot of it was Shia Labeouf doing his best upset Tom Cruise impression, but it worked sometimes.  The smaller Transformers were also amusing from time to time.

The Down Side: The majority of any audience which attended this film, I guarantee you, went to see the action.  Someone needs to let Michael Bay know this.  Does some story need to be there?  Sure.  But he spent way too much time developing a plot that was basically full of holes anyway.  Ultimately he tries to make it about Sam and his new girlfriend, but while time is spent trying to make the relationship seem special, nothing ever does.  You end up not really convinced that the two of them are in love and it seems more like it's just a new actress thrown into the cast to stand there and look pretty with her mouth agape as crap blows up behind her in slow motion.  I, for one, am okay with a movie that doesn't take such story aspects seriously because it knows it isn't necessary.  Because of this attempt at a deeper story than the film needed, it takes a while to get to the action, which are the parts of the film that you will actually enjoy.  The first half hour to forty-five minutes moves far too slowly.

There is also more to be concerned about in this movie than in the previous two if you are taking small children to see it.  There is a significantly larger amount of swearing.  There is also more featured death.  not blood and guts so much, but you do see human beings being blown into particles quite often.  Also, many of the robots seem to bleed as what I can only guess is bright red transmission fluid leaks from their necks and mouths.

As far as the humor goes, for every interjected joke that made you chuckle, two made you groan.  A lot of the comic relief stems from Transformers which have been introduced into the film as randomly and mysteriously as the toys used to be developed.  This causes the viewer to be snapped out of whatever world the movie momentarily immersed them in rather jarringly.

The Wrap Up: If you're looking for a summer blockbuster with explosions and action, you will find it here.  You will have to sit through some garbage to get to it, however, including a random Lion King-esque scene on the African savanna between Optimus Prime and Sentinel Prime that I still don't understand the purpose behind.  Should you be prepared to put up with some nonsense in order to get to the most impressive action sequences of any of the three movies, you will be rewarded mightily.  It's better than the second film, but overall not as good as the first in my mind.  The fighting and action, however, is top notch and makes 3D worth it.

TGD Rating: I hereby award Transformers: Dark of the Moon three-fifths of a star.  It is worth going to see on the big screen, but it is most definitely a movie lacking substance.  It's a one trick pony, which would be one thing if it recognized and embraced that.  Instead it takes time away from it's success (blowing stuff up) to try and do more (like make you care about the characters other than the giant robots).  Your kids will be more forgiving than you will and will more than likely sit wide-eyes through the final ninety minutes.  Thus, take the bathroom breaks during the first half when you won't miss much.

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