Movie Review: Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon
You’ll want to make sure you stick with a small soda for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It’s not a short movie, by anyone’s estimation. What I find truly amusing, though, it the number of reviewers who have differing opinions on what this extra time means for the movie. Some think that the extra run time is just for the extra explosions, and other complain that there’s too much extra plot. Some even complain that there’s too much of both. It’s true, that there is a good deal of exposition to this movie, and several of the subplots could have been nixed entirely. Sam’s job hunt, for example. It does give a good back drop to Sam’s frustration at feeling useless, despite having saved the world, and I am generally a fan of John Malkovich playing insane. But it was a bit too long.
I did appreciate that Bay has moved away from robotic potty humor for this movie. No peeing robots, or giant steel ball jokes, thanks. There are some moments where you’re not quite sure why certain robots have taken on the personalities they have, and I was probably too easily distracted by robots with hair and mustaches. Overall, though, I approved. I especially liked how much they played up Starscream’s fawning in this one, but I could have done without the spitting. Sentinel Prime was very well done, with Leonard Nemoy providing the vocal gravitas.
The plot itself has several inconsistencies. The Autobots, despite constantly talking about how it’s bad to hurt humans, run off “like teenagers” to go attack a nuclear test site in the middle east. The timeline of which robot ship showed up when is problematic, including the supposed story of Megatron coming to Earth to take over it’s technology…. arriving WELL before there was anything on Earth even remotely resembling the sort of technology the robots tend to take over. It’s like Bay is trying to make a play for Beast Wars set-up. And every time I saw two robots battling out over a street full of running, screaming people, I wanted to yell at the screen. Seriously, giant robots have taken over your city? Get the fuck off the streets! The battle in Chicago is a great place to play “Spot the flats, ” though. Bay may be cruel enough to make his character run around in tight jeans and spike heels, but he’s at least not so cruel as to make his actress do it. At least, not all of the time.
Note to directors of any movie which involves running away from a disaster: Either be kind enough to have your character start off in flats, or have them be sensible enough to pick through the rubble of the nearest Payless for some damn Keds. Especially if the escape plan specifically calls for a lot of running or walking.
Outside of the CGI, Shia LaBeouf detractors may be interested to know that he actually appears to be doing a few stunts! Maybe there wasn’t enough CGI to spare for it. The acting is about on parr with any action movie. In a movie whose major purpose is to provide a vehicle for giant robots blowing things up, I’m not going to criticize the actors for not giving me Shakespeare. There are several moments of genuine emotional drama, provided more through music and camera angles more than dialog, which is fine with me. And I loved the various shout outs to other movies, including Nemoy pulling a line from Wrath of Kahn, and Alan Tudyk basically playing River Tam.
As a final note, I was really, really disappointed by the lack of women in this movie. I get that several of the combat teams were special forces, but there were plenty of places where women could have been sprinkled into the mix. Hell, they didn’t even have to give them character names. But I refuse to believe that when Sergeant Epps starts rounding up his Air Force buddies that he doesn’t know at least one badass female he’d want on his team. I’m not even in the military and I can think of three kick ass military women who I could call up if needed. N.E.S.T.? No women. Military forces invading Chicago? No women. I’d have to go back and check again, but I’m also fairly certain that none of the shots of military analysts included women, either. You’ve got The Mom, The Girlfriend, The Government Bureaucrat, and some scattered screaming, crying extras. Oh yes, and the aide whose sole job it is to carry around The Government Bureaucrat’s many purses. Way to write a strong female, guys.
I personally liked Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Then again, I’m the girl who squealed when Optimus rolled in with a tractor trailer for the first time, because that was my favorite Transformers toy. So I may be a bit biased.