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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Updated on December 25, 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Ehren Krugar

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Ken Jeong, Glenn Morshower, Buzz Aldrin, Bill O. Reilly

Voice Cast for CGI characters: Hugo Weaving, Peter Cullen, Leonard Nimoy, Jess Harnell, Charles Adler, Robert Foxworth, James Remar, Francesco Quinn, George Coe, Tom Kenny, Reno Wilson, Frank Welker, Ron Bottitta, John DiMaggio, Greg Berg, Keith Szarabajka

Synopsis: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.

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The Never ending battle between the Autobots and Decepticons Continue...

Although some of my readers know how much I hate Michael Bay's version of "Transformers", and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if many of you think that I never cared for the franchise as a whole. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. In spite of my hatred towards Bay's half ass portrayal of "Transformers", the truth is that I'm actually a huge fan of the "Transformers" series. Not just the original version that I grew up with, but I also grew to love the other various series as well; which includes "Beast Wars", "Beast Machines", "Transformers the animated series, and others.

Hell, "Transformers: The Movie" used to be my all time favorite film as a child, as I used to watch it every single damn day. In fact, I can still recall memories of playing with my Transformer figures and hot wheels (to substitute for the characters that I didn't have at the time), then acting out the entire animated movie; scene by scene. Seriously, I used to love that movie so much as a child that it wasn't even funny. Even when my tastes in films became more refined growing up, I still held a soft spot for the original movie that I went out and bought the special edition DVD upon it's release. Contrary to popular belief, I am a huge fan of the Transformer franchise, and I've always made it a point to watch every single adaptation of the characters. Whether it be a new series like "Transformers Armada", "Transformers Cybertron", or whatever, to even watching this garbage that Bay puts out. That's why it saddens me sometimes thinking about what this franchise could've been.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't expect any kind of Academy Award winning story from a franchise that was squarely designed to sell toys from the beginning. However, I do expect a story that remains faithful to the heart of the series, and who the characters are. A story that not only entertains, but one that'll make you want to relive those precious moments as a child. One that makes us want to see characters like Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and Bumble Bee succeed rather than seeing them reduced to mere background supporting characters. Sure, the original animated film wasn't that great in comparison to others, but at least it was entertaining. You actually cared about the war between the Decepticons and Autobots. The final showdown between Megatron and Optimus Prime was an epic fight to behold, and it certainly resonated a lot of emotional weight in the animated movie. Whereas the Michael Bay's version, the fights go by so fast that it makes it almost impossible to root for any of the characters. Not only that, but you really don't get as much insight to who the Autobots are to even care about them as deeply, as you would if you watched any of the animated cartoons.

Having said all that, I doubt most audiences will care about anything that I just said here. However, it just saddens me to be quite honest. Next to the "Star Wars Prequel" series, I wanted to like this franchise so much. If only to relive my childhood memories. Unfortunately like the "Star Wars Prequels", the more I tried to like this franchise for what it is, the more I found myself resenting it even more. Why? Because outside the first movie, you really never get much of a sense of who the characters are, and the fight scenes are nothing more than random CGI eye candy with no emotional weight to it at all. However, I have to give credit where credit is due. Unlike the last two garbage films produced by Bay, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is surprisingly better than expected.

According to the film's story, before the war shifted from Cybertron to Earth, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy) evacuated on a ship that carried a new source of technology. Allegedly this new technology was so revolutionary that it was said to hold the key to shifting the tide in the Autobots favor, and ending the war with the Decepticons once and for all. Unfortunately, Sentinel's ship lands on the moon back in the 1960's. Hence, the space race was born, as the movie explains it was actually a cover-up for the government's true purpose of going to moon; which was to investigate the alien spacecraft. Upon learning some of the secrets of the ship, the government kept their findings confidential from the public, and most government personnel. Hell, even the Autobots are kept in the dark about this conspiracy, as this does cause severe problems later on.

Meanwhile, the Autobots continue working with the United States Air Force in not only hunting down Decepticons, but aiding us in our efforts to combat other threats like terrorists. All the while, the Decepticons are biding their time, as they scheme to make one last run to vanquish the Autobots once and for all; while enslaving mankind. However, where would our story be without our everyman, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), who has seemingly cut all ties with his last super hot girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox), and he's recently involved with another super hot girl in Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).

According to the movie, Sam was recently given the medal of honor for saving the world twice with his Autobot friends, but like all of us in this age, he struggles to find a decent job. Forced to live off his girlfriend, as it seems he couldn't land a job to save his life. Carly not only supports him in every fathomable way, but she's also highly successful. And, her boss is an ex-boyfriend of hers that showers her with expensive gifts..... Why is she dating Sam again? Oh well. Far be it from me to question what the heart wants, but I doubt seriously in real life Sam would end up with a super hot girlfriend....let alone twice. I'm sorry, but I just don't see it. I guess Sam must either have one helluva a charming personality to these women, or he's that damn good of a lover behind closed doors. I'm just saying. Then again, who am I to judge?

To get back on topic here, Megatron organizes a conspiracy that runs so deep within our government that allegiances will become strained, and people will be betrayed. Unlike the last two movies, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" isn't that cut and dry when it comes to story, as you can tell the screen writers for this movie did an excellent job with the script. Seriously, the concept of tying in the Transformers story arc into the space race in the 1960's is a work of pure genius. Sure, some critics have called it absurd, but I thought it was rather interesting to say the least to see how Bay's writers meshed those elements together.

Unfortunately, the film still fails tragically on execution. Sure, Shia does his best to carry the movie, as he's plays the only character that's worth caring about in this film. As for his new love interest, Rosie, she's nothing more than eye candy for this film; just in the same way that Megan Fox was in the previous ones. I do apologize if that sounds sexists, but it's true. Throughout the movie if she's not staring blankly into space, she's acting flamboyant and flirtatious in very skimpy to tight fitting outfits that leave little to the imagination; while delivering her lines as if she just barely got out of acting school. Don't get me wrong, I like looking at pretty girls as much as the next guy, but couldn't Bay have picked a better actress than her for this final movie? Your telling me that out of all the actresses in Hollywood that he could've picked, he chose to go with a Victoria Secret model that has no previous acting experience whatsoever? This is the best you can do? You really are a louse, Michael Bay.

Anyways, as I said earlier, the premise and script seemed very well organized, and it definitely had a lot of potential there. Unfortunately, the film gets lost in execution, as the later half of the film becomes so water downed into a bare "rock' em sock' em" robots slug fest that you barely start to care. Sure, the lead up to the final fight scenes between the Autobots and Decepticons was probably as great as any lead up that I've seen in any movie, but the character development around the Autobots themselves is so minimal that you really don't seem to care about them at all.

Sure, if the story had focused just a bit more on possibly the relationships that the Autobots had with some of the humans like Sam and his military buddies, then it might've given us more reason to care. Instead, Bay skips that part completely to head straight into the action; which is a big mistake on his part. Hell, even Jon Favreau once said when he made "Iron Man" that character development isn't something that should ever be skipped when establishing who the key characters are, as it helps the audience feel a much more emotional attachment to the protagonist's plight. Something that Michael Bay's version of Transformers often skips. Sure, he does a great job establishing every man, Sam Witwicky, but when it comes to the other characters, they're not that remotely interesting.

At least the animated movie made you actually care about the Autobot's plight against the Decepticons. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about Bay's Transformers trilogy. Sure, the trilogy as a whole had it's moments, and it's a lot of fun to watch if you're just looking for a good popcorn film to watch without thinking too much. However, it could have been so much more, as the story was laid out perfectly in this movie to be a great film. It had irony, plot twists, and it had a villain that used to be close to Optimus Prime on a personal level; as well as Sam's feelings of being insignificant, as he's currently unemployed in a struggling economy. Seriously, all the elements are there to make a great epic movie, and the final showdown between the Decepticons and Autobots should be nothing less than stellar. Unfortunately, it gets lost in translation, as the latter half of the film is rushed and falls into way too cliches.

As for the special effects, I think fans will definitely be happy, as it's everything you'd expect from Bay. Although I might criticize Michael Bay a lot for how he's handled this franchise, I will give him credit for always being a visionary when it comes to visual effects. Unfortunately, the 3-D cinematography wasn't that great either, so I wouldn't see this in 3-D if I were you.

Overall, I wouldn't go out on a limb to say that "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is a bad movie, as it's definitely entertaining, and I think audiences of the previous movies will come to love this one as well. Definitely worth a two and a half out of four. It's not a great summer movie, but I think Bay fans will get what they paid for. A lot of special effects, a hot girl, humor, and things that go boom! What else can you expect from a Michael Bay film? I just wish it could have been a lot more...

David Letterman's Top Ten List By Optimus Prime

You Got The Touch by Stan Bush

Optimus Prime Vs. Megatron/Galvatron


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      @optimus grimlock

      Again, as I said earlier, the issue with this movie has NOTHING to do with how faithful the film is to the original transformers, as Bay himself even said that this entire franchise wasn't particularly based on one singular version of the transformers. Plus, there's been many rewrites to the transformers history over the years, so it doesn't really matter if Sentinel was in the transformers generation 1 or not. No, the issues that i had with bay was that he failed to establish who the characters were beyond the first film. Sure, Sam's character was well developed, but you hardly ever got a sense of who Optimus Prime or any of the other Autobots were; which made the fight scenes less than stellar, as it gave audiences less reason to root for them on a personal level like we would cheering for Rocky Balboa in a movie. You get what I'm saying to you now? However, as I said earlier, we'll have to agree to disagree.

      by the way, you're wrong about the origin of Optimus Prime. In fact, you can watch the origin episode called "War Dawn" on my hub review of the animated transformers film if you like to watch it.

      In the episode, the first built aerial bots were sent back in time to meet Orion Pax (later renamed Optimus Prime). When they meet Orion, he wasn't a soldier for the Autobots at all, but he was mortally wounded by Megatron and the earlier models of the Decepticons. This caused the aerial bots to take him to a scientist autobot. Now, I'm a bit hazy on the scientist's name exactly, so his name might be sentinel prime, but I'm not sure. The point is he wasn't the leader of the Autobots either, and he certainly didn't die in a great battle either, as I remember watching an episode a few weeks ago where it showed that he was still alive on cybertron.

      Anyways, the scientist rebuilds Orion Pax into Optimus Prime, and that's how he was born. It's a pretty cool episode if you want to check it out on my hub. Just scroll down past the comments section, as it's one of the videos below it. It's separated into 3 parts, so I hope you enjoy watching it. Anyways, thanks again for stopping by buddy. :)

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      @Taco Tagger

      Yeah, I won't argue with you there. I miss those days myself. Although I think you can probably add J.J. Abrams to that list, as the last two movies he's made in "Super 8" and "Star Trek" were both pretty solid films that featured a great story along with interesting and well developed characters too.

      Unfortunately unless you want to browse through some of the independent films out there, most big budget movies are turning out to be nothing more than commercialized garbage to promote a product rather than telling a story effectively.

    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 6 years ago

      actually sentinal prime was mentioned in the original cartoon series at the very beginning. He was the leadey on cybortron and died in the great battle then Optimus took over. I liked how they used him in the movie with megatron it worked well. I've been saying for a few year I need to watch the 1st show over again 97 episodes. They had a headmasters serires that went in depth of primes origins that sounds cool. I hope they make a fourth and dammit I want the dinobots in it!!!! O ya its better then harry potter(i know u wont agree but I put a spell on u sounds gay as hell)

    • The Taco Tagger profile image

      Jim Jimbo 6 years ago

      yea, I miss the good old days when people actually tried to make a good movie that blended a good plot, good CG when needed, and excellent characters that were well developed and we cared about. Seems like the only people doing that anymore are Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, and a few select others.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      Yeah, I agree with you there. Although I hope Bay decides to cast Sarah Michelle Gellar instead, as I thought she did a great job voicing April O'Neal in the animated movie. Not only does she have the look of April, but she can also act too. Although something tells me if it's between Gellar and Whitley, then Bay will probably end up going with the latter of the choices, since I can't imagine Gellar agreeing to doing those cover girl type poses all the time throughout the movie, as I have a feeling Bay is going to try to promote the tmnt the same way he did "transformers" with lots of action, a hot girl and things that go boom! lol. Your typical bay movie right there.

      Then again, he must be doing something right, as he's already proven with "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" that it doesn't matter what he does, he knows how to make a film that'll make lots and lots of money. I guess that's all most producers in Hollywood care about these days; which is kind of sad.

    • The Taco Tagger profile image

      Jim Jimbo 6 years ago

      I could see Whitley being April O'Neal actually. As far as an actress I've never seen her act and so for me she would fill the "look" of April but not the feel. As for Bay rebooting TMNT I will cry. I can feel my childhood being snatched from under me little by little with this dude because I know that a Bay TMNT is something that will be 2 1/2 hours long, will be nothing but destruction, terrible acting, terrible story, and will have a camera far zoomed in that I will never get to see anything that's going on even if I wanted to. He needs to be ... put down...

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      lol. that's true. i think out of all the main actors that have been in the franchise thus far, the only ones that really have a career outside the franchise is Hugo Weaving and Josh Duhamel. Everyone else on there, I don't think they'll do well outside the "Transformers" movies.

      Although I know Bay is also directing a reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" soon, so he might use Rosie Huntington-Whitley again to play april o'neal. lol.

      Plus, I honestly don't believe anything Bay says anymore, as he even admitted since directing the first movie that he would openly lie about what his plans were for the franchise to keep fans off their toes, so I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that the whole "this is the last movie" bit was just another lie. lol.

    • The Taco Tagger profile image

      Jim Jimbo 6 years ago

      Oh I have no doubt that a fourth film is going to be underway. It's not like many of the actors in this franchise are doing much of anything other than Transformers right now anyway lol

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago


      lol. that's good to know. Yeah, I'm with you there about almost all your points, except for Sam though. I thought he was a great character to use as the main protagonist in the first movie, as it helped introduce audiences to the Transformers in the first movie. Unfortunately, his character doesn't really seem that necessary in the sequels though, as a part of you tends to think he'd be more in the way if anything else. That's why I think if they had planned this out better to where Sam should've been reduced to a supporting character in the second movie, then have Josh Duhamel be the main character in the second movie to where audiences can get a better idea on who the Autobots are personally, as the military works directly alongside them.

      Then by the time this movie comes out, they could easily make the autobots the main characters; which would've helped added more emotional weight with Optimus' final showdown with Megatron and the new mystery villain if you know what I mean. Oh well. I guess with bay, it's all about the special effects, hot girls, and things that go boom! lol. Anyways, thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts with us Nate, as it's always good seeing you. :)

      @The Taco Tagger

      lol. Sadly, I'd have to agree. Unfortunately though, I heard there's a possibility that there might be a 4th film; even though bay said this would be the last one. lol. can you believe that? i hope that's not true, but i guess we'll have to wait and see. lol. anyways, thanks taco for stopping by.

    • The Taco Tagger profile image

      Jim Jimbo 6 years ago

      so yeah, I hated the Transformers movies, the first one was passable.. but the other two... bleh. The best part of those movies is that Letterman short. That was awesome.

    • NateSean profile image

      NateSean 6 years ago from Salem, MA

      This was actually the first movie I went to see in a long time and honestly there are only three things I like about it.

      1: They kept the sexual humor strictly confined to the first forty-five minutes.

      2: John Turturro kept all of his clothes on.

      3: The Arcee Twins were apparently melted down for scrap metal.

      Personally, I wanted Sam to die about twenty minutes into the first movie but that's just me.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      people told me the exact same thing about the last "Transformers movie." Not this one, but the "Revenge of the Fallen" one. Well one person told me that it's not a great movie, BUT if you turn off your brain, then you'll love the movie. Idk about you, but any movie where you have to intentionally turn off your brain, it makes me wonder how good said movie actually is. Well hopefully the next sequel to "Green Lantern" will be better. Maybe they should hire Peter Jackson to do the sequel instead, as i bet he'd do the character justice.

      Plus, I'm looking forward to the sequel of "X-Men First Class", as I know rumors have it to where it's going to coincide with the Kennedy assassination; which should be interesting if it does happen.

    • chasemillis profile image

      chasemillis 6 years ago

      Yes! Everyone said that Green lantern was awesome and I thought it was ok. It could have a ton more action than it did. Here's hoping the sequels are much better

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      @optimus grimlock

      Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree then. I don't know if I would say that Rosie was any better of an actress than Fox was, as I thought they were both equally horrible if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, she's a very beautiful girl, and I think she definitely showed a lot more emotion as you said. However, her delivery on lines still felt like she was reading them off a script.

      As far as pissing off fans go, I think I may have not made myself clear enough in this review. the problem with this movie wasn't so much that Bay made changes to the transformers story line, as I certainly didn't have an issue with those changes. After all, anyone that knows a lot about movies will tell you that ALL ADAPTATIONS are subject to changes when being brought to the big screen. That's just reality, as most people should know. Hell, if you look at the "Transformer" history, there's been a lot of different versions of the transformers over the years; with various rewrites to their history. Therefore, the changes aren't the problem here, as it was more about Bay's lack of character development outside of sam witwicky.

      In the first film, they could get away with it, as they were introducing audiences to the world of the transformers. However as the series went on, it never delved into more about who the autobots were on a personal level. The epic showdown between Megatron and Optimus Prime should've been a fight to remember. After all, Megatron did kick Optimus' a$$ twice in this series out of the two times they fought, and their final showdown in this movie should've been the equivalent of a nerd standing up to a bully. You remember the epic scene in "Back to the future", where george mcfly finally stood up to Biff after being bullied all his life by him? Or how Darth Vader seemed like an unstoppable bad a$$ in the first two original Star Wars movies, which led to the epic climax between him and Luke Skywalker in the third movie? Well, the final showdown between Megatron and Optimus should've been similar to those great scenes. Instead since the series rarely develops who Megatron and Optimus are from the first movie, it makes it hard to really root for them on a personal level.

      Something that even all the other different "Transformer" shows have done better than what Bay did here. Don't get me wrong, I think for what it is, "Transformers" is definitely a good popcorn flick that most audiences will come to like anyway. All I'm saying is that like the "Green Lantern" movie of this year, the "Transformer" movie franchise as a whole fails to reach the potential it could've been. Sure, it had the potential to reach it, but Bay screws it up by focusing too much on the visuals rather than the characters themselves. That's all I was getting at. However, I do respect your opinion though, as I guess we'll have to agree to disagree then.

      Anyways, thanks for stopping by Grimlock.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      @Kaziporosh, Louisxfourie

      Cool. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us guys, and for stopping by.


      I don't disagree with anything you just said to be quite honest. I think from watching the movie, it seemed like Bay had a great premise going that could made this movie a great film if he taken advantage of it. Unfortunately, it just falls short on execution; which is rather sad if you ask me. Anyways, thanks for stopping by, and sharing some of your thoughts with us. :)


      Thanks Chase. I appreciate the compliment, as that's very nice of you. To be honest, I think if Bay had wanted to, this could've been a helluva a lot better than what it actually was. Unfortunately like the "Green Lantern", it fails to reach said potential that it could've achieved. By the way, I agree with you about "x-men first class", as that movie was freaking awesome. I just hope the sequel to it will be just as good. :)


      Thanks Myi4u. I appreciate you saying that. :) Well if you do decide to see it, then I'd advise against seeing it in 3-D. Although I've read some reviews that said it was great in 3-D, I honestly thought it was barely noticeable at best. Then again, Roger Ebert said that he felt the same way, but he feels it might've been the theater's screen being incompatible with the 3-D. therefore, I guess it depends on the theater you go to.

      If you want, you should check out Ander's review on this as well. He writes an even more thorough review over this movie than I do, so you should definitely check it out if you're still undecided on this film. Anyways, thanks for stopping by again. :)

      Here's the link to Ander's review:

    • CJamesIII profile image

      CJamesIII 6 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Just like part 2, this was way too long! The story of 3 was better than 2, but just too long. I saw it in 3-D, and I don't think it mattered or added to my experience. As for the girl, she seemed "flat," she lacks the depth of Megan Fox. The series is alright, but could have been much better. A great sci-fi series would be Indiana Jones or Star Wars!

    • kaziporosh profile image

      kaziporosh 6 years ago from Bangladesh


    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 6 years ago

      The 3rd was by far the best and truest to the series. Yes bay made his own story and it pissed 78.5% of transformers fans off but it was better then him making go-bots!!! The new chick was 100x better then fox the showed emotion and had the most important line in the movie "You'll never be more then sentinel primes bitch"

      O yes this is my new all time favorite movie!!!!

    • louisxfourie profile image

      Louis Fourie 6 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      GRATE MOVIE 3D was fascinating.

    • myi4u profile image

      myi4u 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Well, well, I didn't like the Rose girl though. Still thinking whether or not to see this movie. 3D would be fascinating! However, there are just too many mix reviews. Great review by the way, as you have covered as many aspects in the movie as possible!

    • chasemillis profile image

      chasemillis 6 years ago

      Hahaha you nailed this review perfectly! Hot girl - check, intense action scenes - check, lots of booms - check!! Everything flowing together - kinda check? Ha I'd give it a 3/4. It's was hard to compete with the recent X-men movie. That movie was freaking awesome!!


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