Dark of the Moon
- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by David Medsker
here is a saying that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. This expression is clearly lost on Michael Bay, because he has managed to make an even worse “Transformers” movie than he did the last time. If “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” could be politely described as ridiculous, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” is flat-out ugly. The characters, both human and alien, are nasty little buggers, but that’s not the worst part: the worst part is that the movie is boring. All this carnage takes place – the city of Chicago, reduced to rubble – and none of it means a thing. A force full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is having a hard time finding a job, since he can’t really tell prospective employers that twice he has helped save the world from alien robots. His smoking hot girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) is supportive, though Sam is jealous of her boss, suave automobile collector Dylan (Patrick Dempsey). Through back door channels – and when you see the movie, you’ll realize that that is both an accurate description and a bad pun – Sam catches wind of a plot by US forces to retrieve valuable cargo from a long-lost Autobots spaceship that crash landed on the Moon in the early 1960s (hence our sudden desire to explore space during the Kennedy administration). What the government doesn’t know, though, is that they’re playing right into the Decepticons’ hands.
The basic plots to all of the “Transformers” movies are rather simple. Why, then, are they so cluttered with unnecessary stuff? The silly rivalry between Ken Jeong and a coworker at the office? The mild-mannered assistant who suddenly opens a can of whoop-ass? Both scenes produce laughs (and it’s always nice to see Alan Tudyk land a role in a major motion picture), but they’re distractions, the gag for the sake of a gag whenever the movie is losing momentum. To use a sports phrase, the movie is fake funny. Its meanness, however, is very real. LaBeouf’s Sam is unrecognizable from the kid who met Optimus Prime in high school, spitting out nothing but insults and back talk even when the moment doesn’t call for it or, worse, it could get him thrown in a hole in the ground where no one would ever find him. If this is their idea of character development – we get it, he’s bitter over not being treated as a hero – it was not well thought out. It’s difficult to care about your lead when he’s acting like a jerk most of the time.
The fight sequences, meanwhile, are just as incoherent as they were in the previous two movies. They sure sound good (it’s the one thing they get right in the “Transformers” universe), but it’s difficult to focus on the action when there are so many moving parts. As the Autobots and Decepticons laid waste to downtown Chicago, the only emotional investment I had was in the buildings, and how shameful it was that they were being destroyed. When the audience is rooting for the inanimate objects on screen, you’re doing something wrong.
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is deeply disturbing across the board, from the Oscar-caliber actors taking a big paycheck (et tu, Frances McDormand?), to the senseless destruction, to the backwards approach to storytelling (blow shit up, fill in the holes with jokes). It’s one of the most cynical movies you’ll ever see, and one can only hope that the ever-fickle moviegoing public will finally realize how contemptuous these movies really are.
Two-Disc Blu-ray Review:
There are no bonus features on the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." No, bonus, features. There is, however, a coupon for $10 off the Ultimate Edition of the movie (with Blu-ray 3D!), which will supposedly be filled with goodies, at which point this release becomes landfill fodder. Will you allow DreamWorks to dupe you into buying the same movie twice while pissing on Mother Nature at the same time? If you must own this movie, please, wait for the Ultimate Edition.