Zechs tackles the final installment of Michael Bay's Transformers' trilogy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). Is it the summer blockbuster as many had hoped? Or is it just meaningless summer garbage?
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*WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!*
I wanted to start off by giving one more warning for any who dared see this film in 3D. I can usually take 3D films, but this was the first one that after watching my eyes hurt. The 3D effects and the film itself are quite good. Just be warned that if any of Michael Bay's camera work made your eye's hurt before, multiply that pain by ten thanks to the 3D.
So in the "final" chapter of Michael Bay's version of Transformers, the Decepticons unleash their final and greatest scheme yet. After getting wind of the plan, Sam Witwicky goes into action with his Autobot allies. With all parties racing to unlock the secret of the Space Bridge and its creator, Sentinel Prime.
So was it better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)? Yes, it was. Was it better then the first film? Honestly, I have to confess that is a no. Yes, the action is ramped up and we get more bot action than the previous two films. It's just that if this is the finale... it left me feeling empty. Though I guess that's what you get for going to see a Michael Bay film. Nothing on story just all out action with pretty props.
I will confess there is plenty of good points of the film that I did enjoy. Leonard Nimoy as the misguided and treacherous Sentinel Prime was a great villain, and one of the best highlights. You could understand why he turned his back toward the Autobots and sided with the Decepticons. It's just that for me, when you have the actor who originally voiced Galvatron cast in a Transformers movie, you'd think they use some of those quotes like they did before? Nope, instead Bay has him go all Spock quotes on us.
The final fight between Sentinel Prime and Optimus is leagues better than the last battles from the previous two films. However, for me the events just seemed too rushed once we got to Optimus vs. Megatron. You'd expect just one massive fight between the two. But no, just a few punches and boom: finale. For two such bitter foes you'd think Bay would have focused on them more. I mean, sure Megatron's death was just "wow," but it had no spark to it. His death would have had greater impact if he had a more active role in the film, rather than just being in one place and then another.
Alas that's the biggest issue of this film: focus. There were numerous times during the movie (I lost count) where one minute a character would be here and then in another spot with no transition. For me the biggest culprits were Patrick Dempsey's character, the Igor Decepticon (What was the point of him to just utterly vanish?) and Bumblebee, but there were numerous other characters Bay just teleported around that jarred me while I watched the movie.
Also distracting were the annoying side human characters. John Malkovich and Ken Jeong are utterly wasted here. Josh Duhamel feels so under developed again and you hunger to see his character more, but Bay just denies us that pleasure. The only human side character who made an impact was Alan Tudyk, who steals the show in every scene he's in, and Tyrese Gibson, who must have a better agent then Duhamel because he gets the meatier role here. John Turturro for some reason again entertains me with a character that he should have no business making me enjoy. The new female lead is pretty much typical Michael Bay eye candy, yet I have to confess I like her more then Megan Fox. That's pretty much one of the best things writing and acting wise they did in the film. Frances McDormand isn't bad and isn't as highly stereotypical as the human ass from the previous film.
As for LaBeouf, he pretty much brings the same game plan as in the previous two Transformers movies. It hasn't really stopped or hindered his character before. Though if we were provided some real closure, like Sam getting the recognition he deserves for being the human hero of his world, it would feel like the end.
On the Transformer side, the Autobots is greatly represented in the film. However, there should have been way more screen time given to the Wreckers. We barely see them cut loose, and it feels like there's a deleted scene giving us just that. Once again Optimus owns and so does Bumblebee, who returns to his rightful place as the Autobot we see the most of. Best of all, there was not a single sign of the infamous twins anywhere. The small Autobots who act as comic relief aren't bad but they aren't horrible either - they're just meh.
On the Decepticon side is where the true waste is. Starscream is ugh. It's a shame that he's treated so pathetically here. We're given little screen-time with him and Megatron, which is a shame since that's one of the few things that continues to hold up Revenge of the Fallen for me. Don't blink or you'll miss the Barricade appearance (he so would have been better suited for the car chase earlier in the film). At first I thought that the filmmakers finally got Megatron right, but after his crowning moment of making the Lincoln Memorial his throne it just goes downhill for him. That was my favorite part of the film - just that image of Megs on that seat after blasting the statue of Lincoln to hell. I wanted such an epic fight between him and Optimus, but it was nowhere to be found. That really is the greatest crime this movie committed. The ending was so rushed I felt like if I just closed my eye for a second I would have missed it.
Really the only three Decepticons who shine in this movie are Soundwave, Laserbeak, and Shockwave. Laserbeak really just ups that creep factor as we see him taking out willing human helpers of the Decepticon cause (the whole "tea party" puts this movie on the same creep level as the youngling massacre from Star Wars). Soundwave (who's voice they STILL didn't get right) also gets his crowning awesomeness of villainy on throughout the film. The scene where he coldly executes Autobots will haunt kids who see this film for years to come. As for Shockwave, I confess my disappointment as his role is nothing more than the Darth Maul of Transformers. The bot only has a few scenes, one line of dialog, and is pretty much the Decepticon Front Line Enforcer. He's a character you know that if they focused on would made the movie a hundred times better since every scene he's in is utter gold. It's kind of sad I got so much more satisfaction out of him and Soundwave being scrapped to heck then Starscream or Megatron.
So given all this hate I've heaped on, would I see this movie again? Yes, I would. Like I said before, it isn't bad like it's predecessor. Is it the best summer movie? Honestly, I still feel Thor is the god of them all. This movie is still worth a watch, just that don't expect good closure. When a movie that's supposed to be the final chapter can't get that right, why bother rushing it at all? Despite how much I hated on this film, it's the most disappointing movie from the summer, *cough* Pirates 4 *cough*. Nor is it the best, it's just an entertaining summer film that'll bring you excitement, laughs, and some joy. Plus if you see it in 3D, you can't go wrong with a movie that actually delivers something as opposed to other films that don't.
Honestly, I'm rather curious to see where the Transformers movie franchise goes from here. Will they reboot completely? If they do, what can they use? Really all that's left to warrant another Transformers movie would be Unicron. Other than that. I hated certain elements of this film like any fanboy would. Despite that, I enjoyed it. It's like a middle ground Transformers film for me. It's good, but not spectacular either.
1.5 out of 5
Review by: Zechs
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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