Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Markiss McFadden, Kenneth Sheard, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong, Glenn Morshower.
Written by Ehren Kruger.
Directed by Michael Bay.
Michael Bay represents the very best and the very worst of Hollywood. On the one hand, his movies make a lot of money and help drive the Tinseltown economy. On the other hand, his movies make a lot of money even though they suck. Either way, we're stuck with the man who brought us such cinema classics as Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, and Bad Boys I and II along with both previous Transformers installments. Not bad for a guy whose directorial debut was a Playboy centerfold video. Bay's latest big budget monstrosity is Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Shia Labeouf reprises his role as Sam Witwicky, a nerdy fellow who assisted the robotic Transformers as they saved the world from the evil robot leader of the Decepticons (Megatron, voiced by Hugo Weaving) in the previous films. Missing from the current film is Sam's old flame Mikaela (Megan Fox), whose character has been unceremoniously dismissed via her "dumping" of Sam, apparently because she was "mean" (Stay classy, Michael Bay). Replacing Fox is the foxy Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who plays Carly, a British executive assistant to Dylan, a millionaire car collector (Patrick Dempsey).
Carly supports the unemployed Sam as he desperately tries to find work in the Washington D.C, area. You see, despite his Ivy League education, a medal from President Obama and his celebrity status from saving the world (twice), Sam is somehow unable to qualify for any job.
Kevin Dunn and Julie White are also back as Sam's oversexed and embarrassing parents, in town for a visit as he tries to keep his relationship with Carly from deteriorating as he finds a job in the mail room of some sort of data company led by Bruce (John Malkovic), an over-tanned eccentric hot head who runs his business like a concentration camp.
In the meantime, all sorts of people associated with the American and Soviet space programs of the 1960s and 70s are being murdered by evil rogue transformers, due to their knowledge of the real reason for the space race: the crash landing of an alien spaceship on the Moon. The crashed ship was investigated by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (apparently willing to lower himself into playing himself in a Michael Bay film - but then again, so did Malkovic and Frances McDormand - more on that later). The 1969 astronauts toured the crashed ship and brought back a few artifacts, as did the Soviets (using a lunar robot) later on.
Meanwhile in present day, National security advisor Mearing (McDormand) is working to keep the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, from starting too many wars as the robots (in disguise, of course) take down bad guy operations all over the world (like an Iranian "illegal" nuke plant). Sam comes under fire from the Decepticons when one of his co-workers Jerry (Ken Jeong) makes contact with him and divulges the conspiracy, Jerry is also one of the former space program people in the know about the crashed Autobot spaceship on the Moon.
Sam tries to warn Mearing about the new Decepticon uprising as the autobots travel to the Moon to recover the barely alive remains of one of the fallen warriors from their home planet of Cybertron (named Sentinel Prime - voiced by none other than Leonard Nimoy) from the crashed ship. They also recover several "pillars" that can be used to teleport things from Cybertron to Earth.
Turns out Sentinel is a betraying jerk who teams up with Megatron in a plot to teleport the entire Cybertron planet to Earth where humans will be either destroyed or forced into slavery by their robot masters. Sam enlists his old nemesis Agent Simmons (John Turturro) to convince the government of the evil plot, and leads a team of soldiers to Chicago, where Dylan (also involved in the evil plot) has kidnapped and taken Carly.
Sam, Lennox (Josh Duhamel), Epps (Tyrese Gibson) and a whole bunch of other soldiers strike out toward Chicago, where a long (and I mean LONG) battle takes place between the humans, good transformers and evil transformers as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The good news for fans of the series is, in terms of Michael Bay films, Transformers; Dark of the Moon delivers. The bad news is - Michael Bay delivers another overblown movie built on sepia-tainted slow-motion hero shots and gratuitous hot babe scenes involving Carly.
The problems of Transformers: Dark of the Moon are many, including the convoluted story that is harder to follow than tax code. The extended battle scene flips between duel after duel between humans and robots it would seem that Michael Bay has a bad case of ADHD. The strange relationship between the characters and their dialogue moves by so fast you actually stop caring about it and hope the action gets going again soon. When the action does resume, you realize you ought to be careful what you wish for.
Stranger still is the weird assembly of somewhat reputable actors who were willing to be seen in the movie. Oscar-caliber folk like Malkovic and McDormand come to mind, as well as Nimoy, who utters the line, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," as justification for Sentinel's evil. Such things are perhaps Star Trek blasphemy, since Nimoy used the same line in The Wrath of Khan.
I was hoping that Transformers: Dark of the Moon would be a lot more fun than the silly preceding Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but I was once again disappointed with overblown piles of special effects, crammed together with a script that could have been written on the back of a napkin. All that action and visual stimulus are so overdone and deliberate that I found myself extremely bored; not a good idea for an action movie. Please note that the film is rated PG-13 for (among other things) "...intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence" (heavy on the "prolonged" part for sure).
Some adults may enjoy all that action involving the big robots who all seem to have some sort of earth-based dialect (Hispanic, British, Russian, etc.) and the cool computer graphics. Little kids, who are supposedly the target audience for all the toys that come from the marketing of the Transformers movies might become a little bored with the complicated plot. They also might not understand why Michael Bay lingers on a shot of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's butt or the salty dialogue between Sam and his parents.
Word is this will be the last Transformers movie (at least for a while). Wish I could say the same thing about future Michael Bay projects.