For the first time in the Transformers franchise, I was able to follow the story. I did not grow up with these characters, play with the toys or watch the cartoon. I’ve seen the first two films but struggled to find anything to like about them or even remember what was going on.
The latest film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, is still not a very good movie. They keep bringing back the stupid characters and they continue to do stupid stuff. The movie evokes memories of Pearl Harbor, which is not a good thing. Also it’s still about robots who turn into cars because that looks cool.
That said, I’m not going to disrecommend this film. Michael Bay is actually doing something right. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of 3D or perhaps he actually read the reviews, but the action is very good. Sure every sequence goes on too long, but there is creative concepts and execution that doesn’t cause nausea. (Unless you’re queasy by patriotism and if that’s true you’re a communist.)
Shia LaBeouf returns again as Sam Witwicky, somehow the only person on Earth who knows what to do when Transformers are fighting. He’s trying to get a job and is having troubles. He is also a bit jealous of his new girlfriend (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) and her friendship with her successful boss (Patrick Dempsey). LaBeouf gets to play more of his comedic side that hasn’t been seen since Even Stevens.
None of this is important and dropped almost immediately once the transformers return! It turns out the Space Race was all about getting to the moon first to investigate an Autobot spaceship. (Doctor Who did a cleverer twist on mixing aliens with the moon landing this season. I’m just saying!)
Yadda yadda yadda, there is something in that ship that could determine the end to the on-going war between the Autobots and Decipticons. Only Sentinel Prime holds the key. He’s voiced by Leonard Nimoy playing an interesting variation on his Fringe character. Once it skips all of the stupid stuff involving Sam’s parents, John Turturro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and Ken Jeong the plot actually becomes a bit interesting. There are twists that pretty much make sense and a quasi-satsifying conclusions. (Although the final plan was also done in Doctor Who during Season Four of the new series. I’M JUST SAYING.)
Bay has said this will be his last Transformers film and he goes all out. Chicago is destroyed in the coolest possible fashion. He destroys a national monument that hasn’t been destroyed before (unless you count the Planet of the Apes remake). He’ll probably never be able to top the last hour of action. It’s just unfortunate it still feels that none of it matters as much as it feels.
The music is insane in how epic it is. There are so many shots of doom and finality. Sam needs to save his girlfriend because she’s “the one.” Having lines of dialog say how special this is needs to match up with the film. There were stretches of the film where it was unnecessary and worthless. If Bay actually had some restraint—I think we all had a good laugh at that concept—and edited out about 20-25 minutes of this film, this would be easy to casually recommend. Instead it’s almost sorta good.