Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon begins with a Forrest Gump-like altering of the moon landing. In the Michael Bay version of the moon landing, Neil Armstrong & Co. were actually on the moon to investigate an alien aircraft (i.e. Transformer) that crashed on the moon, the dark side to be exact. What was odd about the historical footage about the moon landing, the scientific discovery, the sense of national pride, the image of a giddy Walter Cronkite, was how there was both a sense of real human accomplishment and a sense of justified national pride. The irony could not be thicker watching Transformers 3. It was a movie filled with the most obvious patriotic propaganda since Rocky IV and the usage of computer technology has never been used for something so inane. On the plus side, it is better than Transformers 2, which was one of the worst movies of the last 5 years.
The Good of Transformers 3
On the plus side the effects are excellent and the 3-D is pretty good as well. And once again it is better than Transformers 2. OK now that I have discussed the good, on to the bad.
The Bad of Transformers 3
A lot was made of Megan Fox being replaced by some Victoria Secret’s Model. Even though most women will try to hate on the woman for being extremely hot by saying her acting is horrible, she is actually not awful. The problem with her is that she actually looks more unrealistic as Shia LaBeouf’s girlfriend than Megan Fox did. I prefer Megan Fox to the VSM because she has something resembling hips, but Fox at least resembled someone height appropriate for Mr. LaBeouf. And she looked like she came from the same planet as Mr. LaBeouf (barely). The VSM (I feel no need to learn her name because her film career is almost over unless she lets boyfriend Jason Statham impregnate her, thus guaranteeing her access to his inexplicably long lasting film career), on the other hand, looks like she could only date a billionaire or James Bond. She is that tall, striking and foreign. I could not even see her dating a rich athlete. She would be the one dating the team owner. It was laughable looking at her and Mr. LaBeouf be in a relationship. The woman is too striking to play someone with a soul that might slum it with Mr. LaBeouf.
As for the rest of the cast, Michael Bay has replaced the notorious Autobots in blackface from Transformers 2 with another black actor for Tyrese Gibson to interact with during battle scenes. Naturally they provide lots of “Why the Decepticons (the bad robots) have the good shit?!!!” type comments, so if you were afraid Michael Bay could not still tap the nerve of ignorant Americans who crave pathetic black dialogue, rest assured – it is still here in less offensive form than Transformers 2.
Oscar winner Frances McDormand is not awful as the token bureaucrat, but she loses her way when, like many women, she attempts to be funny. John Malkovich and John Turturro are completely wasted and lastly, is Ken Jeong’s time almost up? He was hilarious in his first few films, but nothing is worse than an artist who becomes self-aware of why people like him. His cameo offers the hilarity of a small Asian man acting aggressively as well as… wait for it… a bathroom scene with Mr. LaBeouf where it appears that they have been having sex, but in actuality it’s just a big misunderstanding. HAHAHAHA
The Robots are fine.
Here was one of my favorite exchanges:
Guy 1: How are we going to do this?
Guy 2: We have to get closer to the pillar.
Guy 3: No, we need to get higher.
Guy 4: But we only have one shot.
It is as if the person writing the movie was unaware that there would be a camera filming the movie, which could spell out some of the action and tension. The dialogue is atrocious in this movie. I feel at this point they should just rename Optimus Prime George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. Not since Rocky IV have I seen a movie with so much overt and non-organic Patriotism (I expected Optimus to tell the Decepticons that “everyone can change”). Tattered flags and impromptu speeches about the human spirit stand as such a forced contrast to the opening footage of the movie of genuine and justified patriotism.
Approximately 17 applause breaks during the movie. I am not sure if more needs to be said, but I will continue. I understand that seeing the first show of a sure-fire blockbuster will attract an interesting, over-zealous crowd, but this was obscene. The crowd looked like a gay bar had children with a Game Stop, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but combining gay culture with video game store loser-enthusiasm guarantees you an 11 on the excitement scale. But 17 applause breaks? It literally became every slow motion action sequence (about 9) warranted an applause break, which by hour 2 of the movie expanded to every time someone said or did anything that was not completely passive or required less than four words. But then I realized – this is the ultimate American movie!
- The stars are non human, just like our lives are centered around eliminating human presence, from the ATM at the bank to your smart phone that you are currently buried in.
- It never stops moving and throwing action at us to satisfy our inability to focus.
- It is filled with token Patriotic values that make no sense, but make people feel badass and clap and cheer loudly (even though Transformers are immigrants)
- The humor is terrible, which gets huge laughs (see CBS comedy)
In sum, the movie has great special effects, but after an incredibly long two and half hours I just wanted to get away from this dumb movie and the dumb people clapping for it. But roughly paraphrasing A.O. Scott of the NY Times, “it is the best 3D sequel ever made about giant toy robots from outerspace.”
GRADE: C- (barely)