Video credit: Paramount Pictures
Transformers: Dark of the Moon was released nationwide yesterday in IMAX and 3D. In New York, Times Square was shut down for the media circus to celebrate the release in grandiose style, with the red carpet premiere streamed live on the official movie website. For weeks, the public relations machine has been hard at work drumming up interest in the latest installment based on the popular cartoon series. I headed to my local theater to see if the film would live up to all the hype.
In all honesty, I have been looking forward to Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I enjoy a movie with impressive effects and how can a gal resist big guns and even bigger explosions. Let me be clear, I was not expecting a substantive plot or incredible acting. If the past two films have taught us anything, it is not to hold out hope for a truly great movie. Yet, at the end of the 2 hour 37 minute feature, I found myself disappointed. No, that is not a typo. Transformers 3 times out at 2 hours 37 minutes!
Transformers: Dark of the Moon picks up one year after the end of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Megatron was damaged, but lives on in hiding with a select few Deceptacons. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the remaining 7 Autobots work with the United States government on covert operations to help ensure political peace. However, the story truly begins in 1959 when a craft from Cybertron crash lands on the moon, kickstarting earth’s space race with the United States and the Soviet Union competing for first contact.
The integration of the US/Soviet moon missions could have been an interesting plot point. However, it becomes nothing more than a vehicle to include archival footage of President John F. Kennedy and President Richard Nixon, along with 2 of the worst impersonations of these presidents I have seen.
Skip ahead 50 years and we meet up with Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). Freshly graduated from college, his previous adventures with Autobots have earned him a presidential medal and a new hot girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Sadly, like so many in today’s tough economic times, Sam has been unable to find a job where he can mean something. While his plight is understandable (how do you go back to being just another person after you have saved the world . . . twice?), it begins to border on annoying.
Sam’s misfortune gives us a device to meet some of the supporting cast, such as Bruce Brazos (John Malkovich) who ends up hiring Sam as a mailroom messenger. Also introduced in Dark of the Moon are Jerry Wang (Ken Jeong), a former NASA engineer who works at Sam’s company, and Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), an investment banker with a penchant for classic cars. Wait, there’s more! The geek set will appreciate some familiar faces/voices, including Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity) and Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek, Fringe). That concludes the spoiler portion of this review. While it is great to see these beloved actors and I hold great respect for them all, the comedic timing seems a bit off and borders on forced.
My main point of contention here is editing. Considering the complete plot, it is an interesting integration of an important time in mankind’s history and the science fiction story now embedded into the memories of most. There actually is a lot of story in Transformers: Dark of the Moon; however, an hour in and few action scenes will leave even the die-hard fans wondering why they paid the $15 to see this movie. Towards the end of the movie, the action heats up, culminating with a full on battle scene unlike any other. Make no mistake, this is an epic fight in the biggest arena possible! Sadly, this battle begins to drag on – almost to the point of wondering if you really care which side wins.
Look, Michael Bay brings an incredible elegance to Transformers. The stunning CGI provides an experience that truly helps bring the Autobots and Deceptacons to life, I doubt anyone would argue that. As always the voice acting is unmatched. Each voice actor allows you to connect with their character. For me at least, is a large part of why I actually enjoy the movies.
I have no doubt Transformer: Dark of the Moon will be the summer blockbuster it is anticipated to be. As for my recommendation, I say wait and Rent It . . . on BluRay, of course. While you wait, you should absolutely check out the Soundtrack because the music is amazing! Watch the video for Linkin Park’s single from the movie, “Irredescent” below.
Video credit: Linkin Park