Sunday, August 7, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon had a lot of promise, especially after the first couple of trailers indicated that it would be more story-driven than purely a special effects display. Needless to say, I came to truly appreciate how misleading trailers could be after seeing this movie. The story begins with the 1969 moon-landing, explaining an alternate history in which the United States' true reason for lunar exploration was to be the first to recover a crashed Autobot vessel. Apparently the Russians had already recovered a very important part of the alien craft and was hiding it in the radiation-strewn land of Chernobyl.

The story starts to really lose me after that, just when the main human characters enter. The plot becomes so convoluted by the end of the film that the only thing left to do is a 1 hour action set piece to finish the movie. This film, while admittedly an improvement over that Revenge of the Fallen debacle, still fell far short of the promise that its trailers portrayed. Michael Bay has apparently abandoned all pretense and has stopped feigning interest in capturing any kind of emotion (or comprehension, for that matter) in his films, which I suppose might not be a bad move from a monetary standpoint (worldwide this film has grossed over 1.1 billion dollars). As a fan of movies, however, it's very disconcerting for the future of cinema if others choose to copy this seriously flawed template.

Not everything is bad in this film, though it was hard to find a bright spot. Shia LeBouf is a terrific actor and still manages to put in a decent performance. The special effects are also undeniably terrific, but there's only so much of that I can stomach. 3/4 of the movie being mindless action scenes begins to wear on me after a while. I can't imagine trying to endure this film's bloated running time in 3D and the ending of the film, as well as some of the ridiculous plot points, really ruined this one for me. Anyway, if you like the clanging metal robots and don't care about cohesion or intelligent storytelling you might want to see this one. I, for one, found it nearly unwatchable. I give Transformers: Dark of the Moon two stars, and that's probably generous.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.