By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Upon first walking out of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, it is easy to get carried away by the great effects and pure adrenaline that pours out of the screen. For two and a half hours, you canprofess that this was the most kick ass movie of all time.
However, once the dust settles, although DOTM is still the best movie of the Transformers trilogy and a great ride at the theater, it still falls just short of expectations.
DOTM completes Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy. After the Autobots discover news of a Cybertonian spacecraft landing on the moon in 1969, it sets in motion the ultimate Decepticon trap geared towards enslaving the humans.
Bay does something in DOTM that surprised the hell out of me. He tries to get a solid story running, and surprisingly enough, it actually works. Although the holes in the plot are all over the place, the story is actually able to support itself and keep afloat until the action hits. It is an interesting side note to the series and sets a good foundation.
Several of the new characters work well in the plot, especially Frances McDormand as the National Security Director. Also, any history buff will love the way that the Moon landing is used in the plot, especially when a very surprising and welcome cameo comes into the picture.
Shia LeBouf brings in more of his original Transformers Sam Witwicky into DOTM, being a smart-alec and running around from killer robots for most of the film. In a major shocker, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley does not completely destroy the film as Sam’s new love interest, and will immediately make male fans of the franchise forget about Megan Fox as soon as she pops up onto the screen.
When the action hits, it is absolutely incredible. Bay knows how to use 3D to his advantage, and has made a film that comes in second as the best 3D movie ever made behind Avatar. The visuals in DOTM are mind-blowing, as is the action. The final battle scene will be remembered by how it looked and how it continued to impress longer than expected.
The movie paces itself in three pieces; the first piece where the mystery of the moon landing is figured out, the second piece where the Decepticon’s plan is revealed, followed by the massive 45-60 minute battle for Earth that follows. And it must be stated how awesome it was to finally see the whole robots in the frame while they are fighting?!
DOTM is easily the darkest of the trilogy, and some of the deaths in the film will be hard to shake. With that comes Bay’s decision to really try and throw a great deal of information at the viewer all at once. However, Bay continues his hardest to try and screw up the film by adding in pieces that simply were not needed.
Like the first two films in the series, DOTM manages to over expand its running time with stupid characters that are just there for comic relief. The return of Agent Simmons proves to be one of those moments, as are the return of Sam’s parents. John Malkovich does nothing for the movie except show people how not to get a tan. Patrick Dempsey plays his role well, but he is shoehorned into the plot and it just doesn’t fit properly. The scenes that these throwaway characters are in do nothing to advance the plot, only holding back what could have been a shorter running time or more time showing fighting robots or straightening out the plot that is so convoluted.
In any film, the most important piece is the degree of the relationships between its characters. However, the strongest relationships in the film are not those between humans, but those between humans and robots. The two most emotional scenes in the film regard the relationship between Bumblebee and Sam, which is somewhat disappointing because there is so much potential that is unrealized.
*Beware…now we are going to head into Spoiler Territory*
The ending of the film is simply so abrupt and so disjointed that you can’t help but notice. Like the first two films, you have the standard large-scale battle scene and the fifteen second resolution when Optimus decides to get into the battle and kick some serious ass (After getting caught up in a guide wire…seriously…how does Optimus Prime let guide wire get the best of him?!), followed by a thirty-second monologue and credits. After such a huge final battle that keeps building up, the final scene on the bridge, an Optimus vs. Megatron vs. Sentinel showdown that was entertaining could have been better and lasted longer. For the end of a trilogy, you would be expecting more.
Also, there are some major inconsistencies in the way that the film progresses. Why does Sentinel switch sides in the first place? Where the hell did Rachet go? If Optimus wanted to help the humans so bad, why did he let hundreds of them die in Chicago before he showed up? If Megatron was so hell bent on building a space bridge in the first place, why did he come to earth looking for the All-Spark? Just stupid plot management skills will make fans scratch their heads on the way out of the theaters.
To call DOTM the best movie of the Transformers trilogy is like calling Revenge of the Sith the best film of the Star Wars Prequel trilogy. Compared to its predecessors, DOTM is leaps beyond the first and second film, but it still lacks greatness, standing on the verge but never quite going over due to Bay’s insistence of keeping characters and comic relief that drag the movie down.
For those who have not been impressed by the Transformers films before, this won’t change your mind. If you have loved the series thus far, prepare to have your mind blown by the most visually captivating and exciting film of the summer.
For fans of the franchise and the source material (such as this reviewer), it does not matter whether or not this film suffices as great summer entertainment (as it does). The source material has to be done justice, which Dark of the Moon does a good job coming close to, but just misses the mark. It is great to look at, laugh at and listen to, but is still leaves an empty feeling in your stomach, wishing there could be more.