Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Just Short of Nauseating

         
 

29 June 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Chaotic and without balance of character and action. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is another entry in the mind-numbing Michael Bay series where giant CGI robots go clash of the titans on each other. The beginning however has an awesomely absurd grandeur to it with a segment of the Cybertron home planet being destroyed followed by insertions of John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, and later, Richard Nixon advancing NASA in the space race. Upon the landmark moon landing in 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong stumble upon a spacecraft crashed by cyborgs. Then it’s the Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) story that consists of his supermodel range girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), his inability to land a steady job post-college and the stigma by C.I.A. that he was a messenger and not a hero in regards to his efforts in the previous two movie installments. With planet Earth at stake, the whiplash finale might be as long as forty minutes but feels like an hour. Who-gives-a-rat’s-ass fatigue sifts in. I will also mention that since I had to review the movie in 3D, I figured it would be the most nauseating Michael Bay experience yet but actually very little debris or machinery flies at your face at all. Instead the picture is just hindered by muted colors when viewed in 3D.

After the prologue, we get Carly walking up the stairs in her underwear for ten or fifteen seconds. Then we get self-deprecating dialogue from Witwicky. See, the political elite in Washington takes Witwicky’s contributions for granted time and time again so from scene one he has grievances in how unimportant he is. Before the dawn of possible Armageddon, Witwicky goes to entry-level work for his nutzoid boss Bruce Brazos (John Malkovich). He is less assured when he compares to how well his girlfriend is doing. See, Witwicky is creeped out by Carly’s playboy boss Dylan (Patrick Dempsey) who is some kind of auto enthusiast and also a Carly enthusiast. Witwicky bitches at girlfriend Carly more than he makes out with her. Jealousy.

Out of anywhere in the world, the Decepticons decidedly attack Witwicky’s office one morning. Witwicky drives his beat-up Dodge to C.I.A. headquarters and butts his way in, but head official Mearing (Frances McDormand) is not amused. Witwicky engages in some rat-a-tat-tat with Autobot Optimus Prime, who then awakens Sentinel (recognize the voice by Leonard Nimoy). There is some talk about the pillars, some discord between Autobots, and (plot twist) reveal of a traitor who swings to the dark side. Also some talk about the dark side of the moon in 1969 – let’s thank old man Buzz Aldrin in a cameo.

The Decepticons collect these magical pillars, at the same time establishing their pillar of power. They cast out Autobots from the entire planet, and with them gone, they can turn earthlings into eternal slaves. I’m not sure who we have to thank, but the Autobots return for an all-out war with the Decepticons that is mostly held at Madison Avenue Bridge in Chicago. Witwicky ushers the army boys in (led again by Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson from previous series entries). The Decepticons annihilate all the surplus human tax-paying citizenswho we shouldn’t give a shit about, but never the main cast (John Turturro, for one, is removed to being an onlooker, alas, he is admittedly funnier than he was in previous installments).

But the main question is can Witwicky be a man, i.e. be a hero? Well, the Decepticons have a human turncoat on their side and Witwicky can’t even manage to disarm one man, even if he has a gun and his opponent has nothing but a pipe. Fate o’ the world here, just use your gun, son.

(Arbitrary Spoiler Alert) The cyborg war roars on until fate steps in and the military figures out how to shoot the Decepticons in the eye. Optimus Prime strong arms his foe. The tractor lightning pulling what’s left of Cybertron to Earth generated from the evil pillars is intercepted. Good befalls evil. Big slow-mo hug between Witwicky and his object of love seals the end.

It’s at this point right here that you might want to know that I don’t go for endless machine-bashing effects movies with no developed characters, no logistical action and no thematic ideas. Hell, it’s not that I don’t love action movies. I like the Schwarzenegger flicks from the 1980’s and early ’90’s (“Commando,” “Predator,” “Total Recall,” “True Lies”). I even liked the loony but gargantuan scaled “Independence Day.”

Hey, if you look back to the ’90’s there is but one Michael Bay flick that I actually like. Bay’s “The Rock” (1996), had high energy personalities in its cast (Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, Vanessa Marcil). At the time it was justly criticized for excess but actually seems now in hindsight… to be a class act in the art of subtlety. Bay should learn from his past.

154 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ACTION & ADVENTURE / DISASTER CHAOS / MINDLESS WEEKEND MOVIE 

Film Cousins: “Bad Boys” (1995); “Independence Day” (1996); “Transformers” (2007); “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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