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Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

by Jeff Tufaro – Incoherent Ramblings of a Nerd

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Best Bad Quote:

“Why do the Decepticons get all the good shit?”

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I’ve just returned from watching Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, the third installment of the the supposed Michael Bay Trilogy. Now, for those of you that don’t know me extremely well, you need to know that I am, and forever will be a Transformers fan. I’ve collected many of the toys and was quite into the Beast Wars CGI Animated Show (if you’ve never seen it, it’s a worthwhile children’s show with an honest story arc). The third film, isn’t a complete and utter shitfest like the second, but it by no means lives up to what a final film of a trilogy should be or do.

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When Revenge of the Fallen came out, I wrote a post on Facebook that explained why Michael Bay Hates Transformers. (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=135703253848/) Let me know if that link doesn’t work, still figuring this out. I was livid at TF2 and how abysmal it was all around just a poor, rushed effort. So in a way, it helped me have the lowest expectations possible for TF3. And yes, I still think Bay feels the Transformers are a burden and not a blessing.

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Once again, we are thrown into a world where Humans are the main focus of the film and Transformers fall to the wayside. I was struggling once again to figure out who exactly the Autobots and Decepticons were. Granted, they DO slow things down and mention their names on both sides, for the most part. So they do a better job, but not a great one. I’m glad Sideswipe is there, but who the hell are the Wreckers? I don’t remember them, does anyone else? Where’s Mirage, Brawn, Pipes, Hound, Ultra Magnus, Kup? Anyone? No? Ok, fuck them I guess. I have a HUGE problem when a franchise invents new characters when there are literally hundreds to choose from (Dragon Ball ahem.)

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The story in a nutshell is simply (spoilers to follow, proceed at your own risk), the moon landing was a cover up to investigate an alien crash landing (the Autobots ship the “Ark” on the moon). Now, this kind of bugs me, because in the original cartoon the ship Optimus and his crew takes is the Ark, but it’s a nod I suppose.  I’ll take what I can get at this point.

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So Optimus is pissed they never told him it crash landed on the Moon (didn’t he ever wonder what the fuck happened to this important ship?) and out of nowhere comes Frances McDormand with the intel (where’s this bitch been for the past 3 years, sippin’ Mojitos?!).  Now it’s a race against the Decepticons who are just NOW apparently on their way to the Ark which has a item that can change/end the war for good. Man, timing is awesome.

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Now let me get this straight, why didn’t anyone just do this shit in the first film? See that’s the problem, simple continuity flaws bog down films.  What was wrong with a Unicron storyline that doesn’t affect your continuity? What would’ve been so wrong if the Autobots and Decepticons unite to fight a common foe and then ultimately must end it all (sort of the Return of the Jedi in a way, but no I dare not compare THIS film with that by any stretch of the imagination).

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My problem is, I still don’t care about the humans and their stories. The comedic level on this film is high and borders on stupid at times (most of it coming from the humans). But it’s not as bad as the racist robots in the 2nd, but man do they try hard.  Optimus has little to do, and with the addition of Sentinel Prime (which is fantastic that it’s Leonard Nimoy who was in the original Transformers Animated film), even more time is taken away from the other Autobots. And I simply, and will never, get over the fact that Bumblebee can’t talk.

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Let me wrap my mind around this shit. Optimus gets the shit kicked out of him in TF2, DIES, comes back to life and continues to get the shit kicked out of him against the Fallen, but he’s JUST fine come Dark Of The Moon. Yet the Autobots with all their amazing technology can’t fix Bumblebee’s voice modulator or whatever? It’s stupid and dumb but since it’s the third film, it’s the third time..so that’s the law of comedy I guess. I mean, that’s if it were funny the first time, but it wasn’t.

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When you’re watching the film know this – Transformers are weaker than the main characters. More Transformers die in this film than any of the big stars. I don’t know why, the humans weapons barely do anything yet they escape every situation known to man. So, that’s nice, I like THAT universe. Josh Duhamel can beat Optimus with that retarded logic. Kill off a John Turturro, and not extras.

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From the first film, we know that the war is being lost by the Autobots. It simply is, so towards the end of this film, there’s this moment where Optimus is like, “It’s time to kick their dicks into their throats”. And then the next 20 minutes is Sam and Epps, with their NEST friends in a building that’s falling over. All I could think of is Jurassic Park: Lost World where 40 minutes of the film is spent in the giant trailer dangled over a cliff. It’s literally that stupid and I had little patience for it.

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Can I please please please see the fight between the Autobots and Decepticons? I mean it’s an all out invasion and shit is nutty, it’s WAR. Yet I’m forced to watch Sam save his insanely hot, yet plastic looking girlfriend, three or four times. I get it, humans can do shit too, but so can Transformers.

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One part that cracks me up is this, it reeks of Bayness. Sam says this, “Bumblebee’s going to meet up with the Autobots by the river”. But the next thing we see is Bumblebee and three other Autobots are captured. Just like that, I mean, what kind of logic is that. Hey they’re going to fight together, nevermind screw that, they’re captured, just so we can have an elaborate scene where Bumblebee kicks ass (ok, so that part is pretty great to watch, but it’s still another logic flaw to me).

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Sam kills Starscream. I’m not even saying anything else, that says it all. I know it’s three words, but between those three words is my brain shitting a nugget of confusion dookie that I don’t know what to do. I could elaborate but why ruin it? It’s so dumb for reasons I can’t fathom. In the animated film at least they had the fucking decency to give Daniel a transformers type suit where he could transform and kick some ass. Why couldn’t that have happened here, then I would sort of buy Sam taking on Starscream, but I just don’t. It was a David and Goliath reference but I’m sorry, it doesn’t work with the way it plays before my eyes.

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THE GOOD:

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  • The CGI is and will be regarded as the most advanced and visually stimulating for the next five to ten years. (I did not watch this in 3D, I don’t believe in it, nor can I fit glasses over my glasses).
  • The action is well directed, easier to see and more clear as to what’s going on.
  • Leonard Nimoy, Peter Cullen do fine jobs in their roles.
  • The plot is halfway decent, less obvious holes than TF2, but this is by no means Shakespeare.
  • Shockwave, Soundwave, Laserbeak, and they’re evil and bad ass.
  • I like Shia and he does well with what he has to work with.

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THE BAD:

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  • Humans, with their trivial bullshit, weigh the story down and do nothing to make me like them more.
  • Not enough Transformers, I already knew their wouldn’t be so I was kidding myself.
  • Not enough Transformers on screen having dialogue among themselves,  talking, and generally getting to know them.
  • The film loses steam and the final act is mostly a bore despite what should be an exceedingly climactic final battle.
  • Starscream didn’t feel like trying to steal power in this film, even though that’s his main character M.O.
  • There’s just too many cooks in the kitchen and too many characters. Even though I love John Malkovich and Alan Tudyk as actors (and they ARE generally funny) serve little to no purpose and weren’t necessarily needed. You could replace 4 transformers for 4 of the human characters without taking anything away from the film.
  • Not enough nods to the source material in my opinion.
  • Shockwave is at the beginning of the movie and at the end. Guess he was vacationing in Cabo in the middle of it all.

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THE UGLY:

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  • It pains me this is the last film for Transformers. Not that I want a fourth one, but that I’m left with a general bad taste in my mouth. Can we reboot this please?
  • Michael Bay can direct action but he still has no love for the Transformers and it shows on the screen.
  • Patrick Dempsey bugs me as a bad guy, he’s the guy from “Can’t Buy Me Love”, and that’s that to me. He’s not bad, but I’d prefer him being a good guy.
  • The Autobots, essentially defeat an entire invasion on their own (9 Autobots I believe, 2 of which are minibots I guess) with some damage to Chicago. How did they actually lose a war when they’re all giant badasses? Couldn’t they get a break for a change?
  • Tyrese Gibson has a line that pokes fun at the films themselves that it’s almost insulting – “Why do the Decepticons get all the good shit?”. Yeah, why do they? Why don’t the Autobots have any good shit? Instead we get Wheelie and another retarded sidekick (Dookie, Shitface, what was his name, I can’t recall), and just a few other Transformers. Where’s THEIR reinforcements? I mean, if the Decepticons have SO MANY ROBOTS, why don’t they just rape the Autobots until they are all dead? FML.

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RANT ALMOST COMPLETE:

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Flawed logic is easily fixed, but yet, it’s mostly ignored here. The problem is this film is made by a man who did not grow up with the show. He has no attachment to it at all. Zack Snyder or Joss Whedon would give us the ultimate nerd fest Transformer film, but this isn’t a perfect world and we are stuck with what is given to us. I feel cheated and sad that this is what I’m left with. When I was about fourteen I remember thinking, one day there will be a Transformers film and it will pay homage to the 80s show, so perfectly. Sadly the day never came, and it hurts me so.

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Now, this film, isn’t a total loss and for those of you with little to no attachment to the cartoon will most likely enjoy it very much. I enjoyed most the action sequences myself. So where do I stand? I stand in the middle, feeling grateful I ever got to see a Transformers film in my lifetime but disappointed that I’ll most likely never get the one I actually wanted.

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Rating:

2 out of 5

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