Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Blu-ray Review
By Patrick Luce Sep 30, 2011, 15:08 GMT
The Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Sideswipe led by Optimus Prime, are back in action, taking on the evil Decepticons, who are determined to avenge their defeat in 2009\'s "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen". In this new movie, the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in a perilous space race between the U.S. and Russia, and once again human Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has to come to the aid of his ...more
Although the film gets good by the time the end credits roll, Transformers: Dark of the Moon has a lot of goofiness that weighs down the movie in the beginning, and makes it hard to give the film a chance to get going.
The plot moves a little faster than the second film in the franchise, but too much time is spent on wasted character scenes that do nothing for the film.
Once again directed by Michael Bay (who was born to direct a film where giant robots cause massive destruction in high definition) and written by Ehren Kruger (who handled writing chores on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), the film has returning cast Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro (who is just plain wasted in the film), Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White.
They are joined by new faces Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (stepping into the romantic lead role in place of Megan Fox), Patrick Dempsey (breaking out of his nice guy Grey's Anatomy persona), Frances McDormand (another wasted actor), John Malkovich (who adds some laughs, but seems to be in the wrong film), Alan Tudyk, and Ken Jeong (who acts the same as he does in every film role he takes).
The film opens with a quick history of the war on Cybertron and how the Autobots’ leader Sentinel Prime (voiced by sci-fi legend Leonard Nimoy) fled the planet in a ship called The Arc and with a device that could save the Autobot race. The Arc crashed on the dark side of the moon, and was never heard from again.
It then jumps to 1961 as U.S. officials at NASA discover the presence of the craft on the moon and the discovery spurs the US/Russia space race. In some great filmed sequences, Bay crafts historical events around his Transformers story as the astronauts land on the moon in 1969 for the historical first walk on the surface, but have a larger secret mission at the Arc.
Jumping to the present, the Autobots are continuing to help our government deal with Decepticon threats along with other human terrorist threats to the planets. They have been broken into small strike force teams and work with a special squad led by U.S. Army Lt. Colonel William Lennox (Duhamel).
Following an investigation at Chernobyl, Optimus Prime (once again voiced by Peter Cullen) discovers a fuel cell from the Arc and that the humans have been lying to him about how much they knew about Cybertron and his race of robots. This puts him at odds with the Director of National Intelligence Charlotte Mearing (McDormand) and leads to him rescuing and restoring Sentinel Prime.
While all of this is happening, the film jumps back and forth to Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) and his struggle for a normal life after saving the world twice. He received a medal from the President of the United States and a college education, but can’t find a job.
To make matters worse, he is living off his hot girlfriend Carly Spencer (Huntington-Whiteley) who works for rich business man Dylan Gould (Dempsey). Sam is instantly jealous of Gould (who seems to be putting the moves on Sam’s girlfriend) and resents how he is forced to get a job in the mailroom of Bruce Brazos' (Malkovich) Accureta Systems.
Some of the film’s worst scenes involve Sam at work and his interactions with Malkovich and Jeong. Thankfully, Bay doesn’t spend too much time with Sam’s career choice, and thrusts Sam back into the Autobot/Decepticon war. Sam discovers there is more to Gould than meets the eye, and that the Decepticons might have been behind getting Sentinel Prime reactivated.
After suffering through the first half of the film and its lame attempt at comedy, the second half finds Bay and company remembering this is a Transformers film that is meant to be action packed. The Decepticons, led by a wounded Megatron (Hugo Weaving), and a new ally (trying to stay spoiler free) attack the Earth in force by opening a gateway to Cybertron to bring hundreds of Decepticons to the world.
The film’s final showdown is a special effects overload rollercoaster ride as the outnumbered Autobots and their human allies head to a Decepticon-controlled Chicago to stop their enemies from bringing the entire planet of Cybertron to Earth.
This final act saves the movie with lots of action, killer effects, and a pace so fast it keeps you wanting more. Sam, USAF Chief Robert Epps (Gibson) and a squad of retired soldiers hit the streets of Chicago to take out the Arc device and rescue Carly.
Naturally, they run into Decepticons Shockwave (voiced by Frank Welker) and Starscream (voiced by Charlie Adler) – who seems to have an axe to grind with Sam. The encounter includes an incredible sequence where Sam and company are in a collapsing building.
The film’s action stays cranked up until the end credits with Optimus taking on out the bad guys with a viciousness that he hasn’t shown in past films and that really saves the entire movie.
The final showdown simply rocks and makes you wish Bay and company would have cut the goofiness of the first half and just kept it a straight up action film more in line with the first film (which had some comedy but seemed to focus more on the action of the Transformers).
Regardless of how you feel about some of the lame comedy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon looks incredible on Blu-ray and some of the action sequences feature a great blend of CGI and stunt work.
Bay knows how to film this kind of movie, and makes the CGI completely believable. Yes, it gets a little explosion heavy towards the end, but you expect that from a Transformers movie (not to mention it is needed to make up for the first half’s horrid performances from actors who have their talent wasted in the film).
The Blu-ray looks incredible, but fans of the franchise might be more than a little disappointed at the lack of special features (or at least the version I was sent lacked features despite being a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack).
While it is better than the second film in the franchise, Transformers: Dark of the Moon takes a long time getting good. The film opens well and ends strong, but the middle kills the really great premise. The overall story feels like a classic Transformers tale (Decepticons trying to win the war at the cost of Earth and the Autobots standing up for the little guys), but too much time is wasted on Sam’s need for a job/normal life after saving the world twice.
Fans of the franchise will find plenty to love (I geeked out as Optimus Prime went medieval on Megatron at the end), but the casual viewer might wonder why they are continuing to watch these films.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CJosh Duhamel Biography -
Josh Duhamel Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMegan Fox Biography -
Megan Fox Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesRosie Huntington-Whiteley Biography -
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesShia LaBeouf Biography -
Shia LaBeouf Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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