Sunday, July 10, 2011

Movie Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Another Transformers movie, another missed opportunity to see the Dinobots go nuts in Michael Bay fueled CGI glory. Seriously, is it that hard to write 5 giant robotic dinosaurs with no respect for authority and an eagerness to destroy Decepticons in the most barbaric way possible into a movie? You’d think Bay would eat this shit up.

I hesitate to even try to  summarize the plot as it makes no sense if you think about it for more than 2 seconds. I’ll try to be succinct: long ago an Autobot ship carrying Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) and a game changing technology crashed on the moon. Optimus has a hissy went he finds out he wasn’t told about this but it’s quickly forgotten when he and Ratchet head to the moon and recover Sentinel Prime and the tech, a Space Bridge (cosmic ranged teleporter).

The Decepticons end up gaining control of the Space Bridge and plot to use it to warp in Cybertron to Earth. Earth has plenty of power resources and  handy slave labor force of approximately 6 billion to help tidy up the place, Cybertron’s a bit of a fixer upper. Humans and Autobots must unite to stop this from happening, ect.

The plot’s simply dumb. There’s way to many humans getting in the way of what we came to see, Transformer carnage. This is, to be fair,  a bit better than previous installments. I’m not sure if there’s a new cinema photographer or the change to 3D necessitated a steadier hand, but the action seems considerably less jerky and it’s easier to see the action. (see an excellent Mexican standoff between Ironhide, Sideswipe (I think) and 2 generics ‘Cons). The 3D itself is quite good, the best I’ve seen since Avatar.

The reviled twins of Revenge of the Fallen are nowhere to be seen, which actually makes no sense at all. It’s implied in the movie Cybertronians are on the verge of extinction, the entire species consist of 9 Autobots and however many Decepticons remain. The twins being MIA seems to indicate they died during the last 4 years (with no Decepticon sightings and Autobots assisting NEST with Terrans affairs), remember for all bling and jive talking, these two for the most part took out Contructionbot (that was NOT Devastator in Revenge).

Comic relief is taken over by Wheelie (apparently Sam got custody in the Megan Fox breakup) and a new character called Brains. Both are tiny about the size of a dog. Both are justifiably bitter they’ve been banished from the Autobot compound (again remember there’s only so many around). Both are also hilarious.

A couple notes:

  • There’s a subplot where Sam can’t get a job despite being an ‘ivy league’ grad, saving the world twice, and presumably letters of recommendation from the President and any number of NEST officers. Really? Ambassador to the Autobots seems like something viable
  • Sam’s mom and dad once again steal any scene they appear in. Sam has a fight with Ms. Legs and his mom goes ballistic “Sam you can’t screw this up. You’ve had two GORGEOUS girlfriends, there’s not going to be a third. Unless you know, you’ve got a huge d-“ “MOM!!”
  • Optimus now has a trailer, and no it doesn’t simply disappear when he transforms. It disconnects and acts as a portable armory. Sadly, no Roller Sad smile
  • Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and now Sentinel Prime remain the only recognizable Transformers at a glance. Remember how in the series/comics/toys Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp were identical. And yet thanks to the magic of ‘color’ we knew who was who at a glance. See also Sideswipe/Sunstreaker, Rumble/Frenzy, Bumblebee/Cliffjumper. Transformers mastered the palette swap long before Sub-Zero and Scorpion came along.
  • In particular I’m pissed about Soundwave’s treatment. Soundwave actually talks now, and gloriously sounds like Soundwave, however at one point there’s a Decepticon attack and I have no idea it’s him until he’s referred to by name. c’mon! Soundwave has a very distinctive look, at least TRY to get it right. Make him blue, not silver. Have the windshield of the car mode be the chest to resemble the tapedeck of old. Have a rocket launcher mounted to his shoulder. It’s not that difficult.
  • Megatron is still horrifically maimed from the ass-kicking he received at the end of Revenge of the Fallen. Really? Four years later and the big boss man can’t be repaired? It’s not like the Decepticons aren’t without resources. And yet Megs is continually poking at a hole in his head like an itchy scab, and he’s got robo-parasites crawling all over him. You telling me he’s in this shape and Starscream or Shockwave hasn’t just put him out of his misery and taken over.
  • I’ve heard complaints about to many Star Trek references with Nimoy voicing Sentinel Prime. I only caught 2 and both well within context of the plot (such as it is). In fact I’d have appreciated a quote or two from Galvatron (Nimoy voiced Galvatron in the animated movie)
  • The plan to transport to Cybertron to Earth seems terribly ill-conceived. Cybertron appears to be roughly 8 times the size of Earth. I’m no physicist, but I believe something called gravity would cause Earth to smash into Cybertron
  • My final point comes back to the incomprehensible plot: I don’t understand the timeline at all. Megatron supposedly crashed on Earth thousands of years ago. Yet according to Dark of the Moon, Megs was after Sentinel’s ship, which crashed in the 60’s. Wha….?

With plot holes the size of Cybertron, turn your brain off as you enter the theater. Enjoy the Bot on Bot action and when those pesky humans get on screen hope it’s a scene with Rosie-something’s legs instead of NEST nonsense.

2 out of 5 Stars    Sadly I have some minor OCD issues and will likely buy this on Blu-Ray to complete the trilogy, for everyone else rent

Trailer Breakdown:
Captain America: The 2nd trailer, still looks awesome and I look forward to it
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Is this a third trailer? Still looks interesting though I’ll likely wait for NetFlix

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