Saturday, July 9, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

I've said it before that I'm not a purist. With movies based on historical events aside, there are few films that I will completely nitpick. I like to go into the theater with an open mind and a fairly clean slate. However, I'm going to be very honest. My expectations for this movie were very low. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen left such a bad taste in my mouth, that it was still there after two years and I wasn't even sure if I'd watch the third installment of the Michael Bay franchise. According to Rotten Tomatoes, critics have given the movie a 36% approval rating and 90% of all users have liked it. It currently holds a 6.8/10 rating on IMDB. I think that's fairly significant considering how poor of a showing Revenge of the Fallen had.

More after the jump.

Shia LaBeouf reprises his role as Sam Witwicky, the unwitting young man whose explorer ancestor had discovered Megatron's frozen body in the Arctic in the late 1800s. Also in the movie are his parents portrayed by Kevin Dunn and Julie White, who provide an over-the-top comedic presence. Josh Duhamel is back as Lt. Col. Lennox whose NEST team has begun working with the Autobots to ensure that the Decepticon threat is kept as low as possible. Tyrese Gibson returns as Epps, member of the NEST team, and John Turturro has written the book on aliens, quite literally. 

Photo by Paramount Pictures, courtesy of
New to the franchise is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who was cast as the female love-interest of LaBeouf. I think she actually did a really great job. This is her first film and before she joined the cast of Transformers, she was a Victoria's Secret model. You can definitely tell that certain shots allowed Michael Bay to play up her assets. Unlike Megan Fox's character in the previous films, Carly (Huntington-Whiteley) can stand up for herself. It was actually quite refreshing to see her put her foot down on multiple occasions. Also in the film are Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich,  Frances McDormand and Alan Tudyk. I will not lie, Dempsey really outdid himself on the sleaze factor in this movie. In fact, I have decided that he will henceforth be named McDouchey. I don't think we got to see enough of Malkovich, but the parts in which he was featured were pretty funny. Alan Tudyk was absolutely hilarious as the personal assistant of John Turturro's character, Simmons. Ken Jeong makes a strong comedic appearance in the movie as well. The iconic voices of  Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are joined by Leonard Nimoy, who voices Sentinel Prime, who is Optimus Prime's predecessor.

Photo by Paramount Pictures, courtesy of
One thing that I noted about Dark of the Moon was, in fact, the comedy of the movie. It was a lot funnier than Revenge of the Fallen and I think that it had a great mix of comedy and action. By all rights, it is still an action movie, but in between explosions, you're able to breathe a minute and just laugh. It seemed like the first half of  the movie allowed for a build up in the story. The use of alternate history is employed really well again to create the conspiracy theories which surround the movie. The prologue is pretty epic, as the war for Cybertron is recounted and you see the real reason behind the US-Soviet Space Race. (My American history major side was really geeking out at that part!) You also get to see a real perspective of humanity. Sam is a college grad looking for his first job and it's freaking hard. (In today's economy this just rings true for so many 20-somethings.)

Photo by Paramount Pictures, courtesy of
Once the business of storytelling is over, the real action begins. Washington D.C., where Sam and Carly live, takes some brutal hits, but Chicago is turned into a post-apocalyptic ghost town and that is where the final stand takes place. I do not feel like any of the explosions are too big or it's too outlandish. I also think that it was a good addition to show that humans actually do get hurt. Well, Carly's white blouse seems not to receive a blemish, while the men are beat all to hell, but I digress. Once again, it's up to Sam, the Autobots, and company to save the world.

I was very pleased with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It took the story to a new, and good, place and I actually commend the filmmakers for redeeming themselves after the travesty that was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And though there are already rumors of a second trilogy, I think this was a great place to end the series. If you like anything about Transformers, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I would even recommend seeing it in 3-D, though I saw it in 2-D, I think the potential for 3-D is definitely there.

Did you see Transformers: Dark of the Moon? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

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