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Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon Review
A Darker Tone = More Focused Film?
The Transformers series and director Michael Bay sure has taken a beating since it's previous film, Revenge of the Fallen. Bay was under fire for the robots with "balls", the robots who talked as if they were from the worst parts of New York City and for exploiting whatever young beautiful actress is in his films, yes everyone remembers all the favorable shots of Megan Fox in both Transformers movies.
Bay is really a simple man, he likes explosions on a big scale, then a bigger scale to which he blows up that scale and makes another scale on top of that and blows it up in slow motion, for the dramatic effect. In that sense though, Bay is the perfect guy to have directing the Transformers films. When you have these alien robots constantly fighting each other with advanced weaponry, you will get alot of explosions. So Bay is right at home with this series and that is exactly what he stuck with in this film and it worked. It also helped that he had a competent script with a much darker tone then any previous installment. The plot helped move the film again at a decent pace but a hit a few lulls mostly in act two with a plot point that was very, very worthless. A few plot points and characters seemed worthless to make it a very bloated running time, just like the other movies.
The film once again follows Sam Witwicky as he is struggling trying to find a job. It bothers him even more that he saved the world twice already and yet he can't secure himself a job anywhere. He is now living with his new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) who works at a car dealership with a sleazy boss played by Patrick Dempsey. Eventually he does get a job with a very quirky boss played by John Malkovich. Sam also has a creepy dude constantly watching him played by Ken Jeong. (Two very worthless characters)
Elsewhere, Lieutenant Colonel William Lennox and the Autobots continue to search the Earth ridding it of any Decepticons. At one point early on they are lead to the site of Chernobyl to investigate suspected alien technology. In Chernobyl, Optimus Prime finds a fuel cell from a ship that was supposed to be the one saving grace the Autobots had in the war that took place on his home planet Cybertron. That ship was never found and seemed to be lost forever. That same ship crash landed on the dark side of the moon and was found by Buzz Aldrin in 1969, while the government never bothered to tell the Autobots.
The film moves at a solid pace but could have done without the Ken Jeong and Malcovich characters to shorten the running time. The film does manage to still have some great comic relief from John Turturro while he is also accompanied by Alan Tudyk (Firefly). The two of them have some of the funniest scenes in the entire film. The film also more so then the past films does a good job of showing the relationships between the robots, especially Optimus Prime and Sentinel Prime. Sentinel was the mentor of Optimus way back when, and is superbly voiced by Leonard Nimoy.
One of the new Decepticons added into the film was Shockwave, and some of the best action sequences involved him. Mostly that of the destruction of the skyscraper that is so frequently shown in the trailers. One disappointing element of this movie is that yet again, Megatron is a pushover. I get it, he is banged up from previous fights from the last movie, but come on years have passed since then. I feel robbed that we didn't get to see him and Optimus go at it throughout this series, the one time we did, it lasted maybe a minute.
On terms of acting with this film, Shia Lebeouf's acting just involved running, screaming frantically, which isn't his fault as he doesn't have much to go on. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley does exactly what you would expect from any beautiful woman in a Michael Bay film. Frances McDormand almost served as a human villain considering how cold her character was, and Josh Duhamel still makes me think he would have been a better choice for the role of Captain America then that of the Human Torch (Chris Evans).
The other difference with this movie as opposed to the previous films is the fact that the fights between the robots are actually watchable. Before it was tough to make out who was who sometimes, but in this one it isn't so much of a problem, the 3D may have been the difference in that regard. The soundtrack also featured Linkin Park yet again, no big surprise even though they continue to get worse as a band. On a side note now that we mention music, it did make me laugh that they did have a Dark Side of the Moon reference at one point.
It's not all that surprising to hear that this is the last Transformers movie for both Shia Lebeouf and Michael Bay as they don't want to move on with their careers. Let's hope that the studio doesn't push for another Transformers movie to come out in a few summers, or at all. Don't get me wrong though, I did enjoy this movie despite some of it's flaws. I truly believe it is arguably the best Transformers movie to date, and is up there as one of the best films this summer. (which isn't saying much thus far)
The film is a solid conclusion to Michael Bay's trilogy and while it is also nice to know that they are done with this film series, it's sad to know the studio still wants to make more. However, this film succeeded were the previous film didn't in the fact that it improved upon what everyone wanted to see which is the action. In terms of spectacle, this is the biggest film of the three. In terms of action, this has the best action of the three. The first film still may remain to be the best film but this comes as a close second and there is nothing wrong with that.
The finale to the series could have been better if the script was tightened up a bit and rid of pointless characters that only added to already bloated running time. The middle of the film seemed to have been stuck in neutral but really hit it's stride in the final act when it gets back to the bigger action sequences of the film where Bay, as a director, can really shine. All in all, if your looking for a film this summer to sit back and mindlessly enjoy as you eat some popcorn, look no further then this blockbuster.