By: Lawrence Foster
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
After the horrendous Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (TDOM) had a lot of proverbial flowers to buy its hurt and betrayed fans. Luckily for fans of the series, toys, cartoons or just fans of summer blockbusters, TDOM instantly becomes the best of the three Transformer movies.
It blends by far the best plot of the trilogy with amazing action sequences, laughs and actual emotion. That’s not a typo; I just credited a summer blockbuster directed by Michael Bay with having an above average plot, and imagery and sequences that resonate with moviegoers emotionally.
The beginning of the film is great, other than a horrible JFK CGI character. According to the film, the great space race was done in an attempt to see what had crash-landed on the moon. Normally, I loathe alternate histories in movies, but this one actually worked.
What lies on the moon is of great importance to the Autobots and Decepticons, but I won’t go any further on that because I don’t’ want to ruin anything for anyone.
The human hero of the first two movies Sam Witwicky (masterfully played by Shia LaBeouf) is struggling with finding and job and adjusting to not being part of something big. Sam has saved the world twice and his struggles with adjusting to “normal” life really flesh him out as a character.
As most everyone knows, Megan Fox was not invited to come back for the third installment and wouldn’t you know it, without her the Transformers series churns out its best movie.
For those fearing that Fox’s main contribution that of eye-candy, would be left out fear not. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is absolutely stunning and two seconds after she is introduced you will be asking yourself, “Megan Fox who?”
Huntington-Whiteley is Sam’s new girlfriend, Carly and she is quite successful. I was nervous about Bay selecting Huntington-Whiteley because she is pretty green as an actor, but the chemistry between her and LaBeouf is much more believable and intense than that of LaBeouf and Fox.
The rest of the cast is ho-hum at best. Josh Duhamel (Lennox) and Tyrese Gibson (Epps) return and haven’t evolved since the first film. John Turturro reprises his roll as Simmons and he … just rubbed me the wrong way. I know he is supposed to be comical relief, but I wanted to gouge my eyes out and about half of the time he was on screen. Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong (Mr. Chow from the Hangover movies) are new to the cast but are forgettable and fail to deliver any laughs, although they try really hard to be humorous.
That is my only real complaint with TDOM: It tries to hard to be funny at times. With someone like LaBeouf, laughs don’t have to be forced. He will get them out of the audience.
One of the big surprises of the film was the impact 3D had on it. Recently in films like the Green Hornet or the Green Lantern, it seemed as if the 3D was tacked on as a way to get a few extra bucks out of the audience.
TDOM, however, is a film that must be watched in 3D. The final hour or so that is spent in a war-ravaged Chicago is the reason 3D exists.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the best summer movie to date and easily the best of the three Transformer films. Rumor has it that Bay and LaBeouf are done with the series. If this was indeed their swan song with Transformers, they did a way better job of sending off the franchise than Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimey did with Spider Man 3. But that is another story entirely.