‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’

After the evis­cer­a­tion that Trans­formers: Re­venge of the Fallen re­ceived by re­view­ers and audi­ences alike, it’s no sur­prise that the third in­stall­ment steps up its game some. 

But it’s not enough.

The over­long (and over­loud) ac­tion flick Dark of the Moon is little more than an ex­cuse to show what dir­ect­or Mi­chael Bay can do with a close to $200 mil­lion budget. The 3-D looks good, and care­ful at­ten­tion was paid to make sure it wasn’t just an af­ter­thought, like in many oth­er movies. Com­pared to Trans­formers 2, there is more plot this time, but it’s still pretty cheesy and laugh­able. Bay knows it’s the ac­tion that people care about, and he cer­tainly de­liv­ers on that front.

By this third in­stall­ment, Trans­formers fans should know that the Auto­bots are the good guys fight­ing for our free­dom, while the De­cep­ticons are the bad ones try­ing to take it away.

This time around, the Op­timus Prime and his gang of Auto­bots still can’t get along with Mega­t­ron and the De­cep­ticons. The hu­mans think they’re help­ing, but really they are just run­ning around, yelling and not mak­ing any real con­tri­bu­tion to the fight to save hu­man­ity.

Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) is one of those hu­mans. Sam is more ob­nox­ious than ever, and I wasn’t sure if it was the char­ac­ter or the act­or, though I lean to­ward the lat­ter. In Dark of the Moon, Sam is fresh out of col­lege and look­ing for his first job. He thinks he’s Mr. Big Deal, hav­ing helped save the world twice already, but em­ploy­ers don’t see him that way.

Sam’s life really isn’t all that in­ter­est­ing. He has pro­gressed from be­ing the kid with his first car, which turned in­to an awe­some ro­bot, to be­ing a bor­ing Mil­len­ni­al, Gen­er­a­tion Y-er or whatever we’re call­ing that age group these days.

Megan Fox has been un­ce­re­mo­ni­ously re­placed as the token hot chick Mi­kaela Barnes, Sam’s girl­friend. The new girl is played by mod­el Rosie Hunt­ing­ton-Whiteley (in her first cred­ited act­ing gig), who doesn’t seem to have any prob­lem with the over-sexu­al­ized cam­era angles and up-the-skirt shots re­quired of her char­ac­ter, Carly Spen­cer.

Oh, and her “act­ing,” un­for­tu­nately, isn’t any bet­ter than Fox’s, plus her Brit­ish ac­cent was dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand at times. But I guess most of the tar­get audi­ence was prob­ably just look­ing at her, not listen­ing to her.

Al­though I’ve nev­er been a big fan of Fox’s “act­ing,” it’s easy to see why she may have but­ted heads with Mi­chael Bay, re­portedly call­ing him “Hitler.” She either quit or was fired, de­pend­ing on what you read, but either way it wasn’t an am­ic­able part­ing. Bay and LeBeouf don’t miss the op­por­tun­ity to take a few shots at Fox in the script, either. 

Frances Mc­Dormand shows up to play some sort of gov­ern­ment agent, and I wondered what a wo­man with her cre­den­tials (Oscar win­ner, for starters) was do­ing in a silly sum­mer movie like Trans­formers. An­oth­er new­comer to the cast, Patrick De­mp­sey, plays a bad guy, but I nev­er bought it from him. Cast main­stays Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gib­son re­prise their (bor­ing) roles.

Trans­formers: Dark of the Moon cer­tainly of­fers more met­al (and ex­plo­sions, car crashes, etc.) for your money. And at 157 minutes, it al­most feels like two movies for the price of one. ••

Movie Grade: C

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus