Transformers: Dark of the Moon

In view of the technology's rising popularity, Paramount/Dreamworks were adamant to have this film either shot for 3-D or converted in post-production. Director Michael Bay was initially wary of the technology, calling it a "gimmick" in various interviews and noting the poor quality of post-production conversion. Vince Pace, the co-found of PACE 3D who developed 2D and 3D cameras with James Cameron reported in July 2010 that he was working on Transformers 3 and that it will be shot in on PACE 3D cameras. However, for scenes that required higher image quality or were in slow motion, traditional anamorphic 35mm film was used and converted into 3D in post production. ~IMDB

It’s been a while since Sam Witwicky and the Autobots defeated the Decepticons in Michael Bay’s previously scoffed at Transformers outing, Revenge of the Fallen. Since then Sam has found it nearly impossible to find a job, has been battling with the withdrawals of being recognized as someone of importance, and has somehow bagged an even more amazing out of his league girlfriend. Meanwhile the Autobots, who have been getting political and helping out the government, have run across an impossible object that opens up a brand new conspiracy on the moon landing in 1969. What the human’s find there is a ship that contains alien technology that could spell doom for humanity. The Autobots know they must reach this ship before the Decepticons as it contains something else of importance. This is part of the basis for Transformers Dark of the Moon.

Like many of you out there I hated the previous Transformers film. Like some of you I even barely managed to stomach the first Transformers film as well so for me going into Dark of the Moon I was ready to shake my head and scoff at Bay’s newest Transformers movie for the outrageously long 157 minute run time. As it turns out I was completely blown away by the film. The film looked amazingly detailed and jam packed with visually stunning special effects, the 3D (something else I had written off before even sitting down) was great,  and the story was more realized, even if there were a few forgivable plot holes. The film was simply well put together and epic looking on all counts, but that doesn’t mean Transformers: Dark of the Moon is 100% perfect. Let's not forget how much a commerce the franchise has been between the films and the car companies, but it doesn't end there.

The opening scene after the title shot of the film is your typical Michael Bay move. Open up on Carly’s (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) amazing looking legs as she walks, on her toes (to accentuate how good her legs look), up the stairs to bring Shia LaBeouf into the picture, slowly but surely focusing in on Huntington-Whiteley’s bottom, sans pants. Your typical Michael Bay move, but as the film goes on Carly surprisingly becomes more an integral part of the story rather then just eye candy. Gone are the days of Megan Fox walking around in skimpy clothing, posing for the camera without adding much substance to the overall storyline. If anything Huntington-Whiteley’s character is a bit of a red herring, but I’ll let you decide that for yourselves. However not all of the human elements are that great. LaBeouf, who somehow managed to rise from dorky Disney channel geek to action superstar overnight tackles his role as Sam Witwicky using the Chris Farley school of acting. I swear the kid spends half the movie yelling and getting flustered to the point that he looks constipated or something. He has his breakthrough moments but for the most part his direction as far as playing at being frustrated is very one dimensional. John Turtturo’s returning character Agent Simmons is another over the top player in the film. He’s not featured in every scene but in every scene he’s in he’s a bit much. Still, these two get the laughs and they are supported by a great cast, and as usual Alan Tudyk is hilariously amazing and Ken Jeong makes for a short but sweet role in the film as does John Malkovich.  

Another aspect missing from the Michael Bay school of film making is the repetitive and often used sporadic camera movements you find scattered throughout Bay’s films. I’ve read that this particular style was abandoned due to the 3D process for the film and I’m completely okay with that. What you get instead is more realized battle sequences that have speed but remain coherent enough for you to see the action instead of making them moments you can live with or without. With what Bay does with the Transformers in this installment of the franchise gives me hope that future mecha type films like Voltron and Robotech can and will have the blue prints to offer up battles and more life like CGI robots to further immerse their audiences into a much stronger sense of escapism within their individual universes.

Ehren Kruger takes on sole writing duties for Dark of the Moon this time around. Surprisingly Revenge of the Fallen fell on the shoulders of Kurger and men of the hour Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Transformers, Fringe) and it was terrible, but Kruger alone does a fantastic job putting together the type of Transformers story fans have been waiting for. The Transformers themselves are more ruthless taking on an anti-hero quality and the humans play more into the scheme of things rather then them just being along for the ride. While the film is a whopping 157 minutes long there were very few moments in it that I felt were complete drag, aside from when Sam’s parents come to visit. Seriously, if there are anymore Transformers films just cut them out, they add absolutely nothing to the franchise. Still, time just flew by as the story unraveled, battles were fought, buildings crumbled. It was simply mind blowing. I’ll give you its not a perfect film but for a Transformers film, this is what I’ve been waiting for. 

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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