Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Micheal Bay movies get a lot of attention, and a great deal of that attention is negative. Every time one of his movies is being released, the public floggings heat up. “Burn this man at the stakes!”, the collective naysayers cry, “His movies are all about SFX, with no story!”

Yeah. So?

Since when are Summer Blockbuster Action Movies all about story? Micheal Bay didn’t invent the Action Movie, he’s just better at it than anyone else. This isn’t high-art. If you go in expecting an intricately-crafted storyline, with real characters, each of whom travels their own arc, you’ll leave disappointed. Much like was the case in the first “Transformers”, the story in “Transformers 3” is not the point of the movie; it exists only to set up the next joke and/or action sequence.

In that low-brow sense, “Transformers 3” succeeds, wonderfully. Gone are the incredibly insensitive racial stereotypes of “Transformers 2”. Gone are the maddening attempts at some grand mythology. In their place is a cheeky movie that almost pokes fun of itself, while delivering some truly awesome action sequences.

Much of the fun of “Transformers 3” is in the cast of smaller characters, each of whom are allowed to go over the top, and really explore the inherent silliness of the movie they populate. John Turturro steals the show any time he’s on screen, even more so than was the case in the first movie. Frances McDormand mostly plays it straight, but she’s got her moments. Ken Jeong channels the role he played in “Hangover”, and it’s still funny. Not surprisingly, though, it’s John Malkovich who does the most with his bit-part. That man couldn’t phone it in if he tried.

While LaBeouf’s schtick was simply annoying in “Transformers 2”, in the third outing he’s returned to the loveable goof that gave the first movie just a touch of heart. As for our new addition, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, well, uhh, she does a good job looking hot.

Needless to say, the SFX are absolutely perfect, and an incredible achievement all on their own. The best news is that, FINALLY, the 3D looks good. For “Transformers 3”, Bay used James Cameron’s fancy new 3D cameras, and it works! Anyone who’s grown tired of paying extra for a 3D movie that looks like those Viewmaster toys from the 70′s can rest assured that the 3D in “Transformers 3” is on par with “Avatar” (and, oddly enough, “Jackass 3D”).

Bottom-line, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” doesn’t quite recapture the magic of the first in the series, but it comes close, and if you go in expecting nothing more than a few funny jokes and ridiculously bombastic action, you’ll likely leave satisfied.

2 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Great review Joseph! Not sure I would’ve agreed though…

  2. Angus says:

    Nice review, loved the film personally. Feel too many reviews are slating it which I guess could be due to the inferior and disapointing installment “Revenge of the Fallen”.