daniel cohen reviews the third Transformers film …
Plot: When the Autobots learn a Cybertron ship crash landed on the Moon in the early 1960s, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen, voice) goes to retrieve the cargo which holds Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy, voice), Optimus Prime’s former master. The Decepticons try and reach Sentinel Prime as he is the key to unlocking a powerful weapon that could spell doom for the planet.
Yes, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is better than its predecessor. But that’s like saying my bagel was over-toasted, but at least it wasn’t burnt. It still doesn’t taste good. I give director Michael Bay credit for actually listening to the criticism and making changes. The days of farting robots, Transformer balls, and offensive stereotypes are long gone, but this movie still holds many of the problems that the previous two had.
Why do these films have to be so long! Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is more 150 minutes. This isn’t The Godfather! I might even like this movie if it was a crisp 90 minutes. It would be one thing if the film had a sensible plot, but it rambles on for an hour before we actually learn what this is all about. I enjoyed the story between Optimus Prime and the new Sentinel Prime voiced by Leonard Nimoy, but the rest of it is just repeating the plot from the previous movies.
As far as the humans go, the acting was fine overall. Rose Huntington-Whiteley plays Carly, Sam Witwicky’s (Shia LaBeouf) new girlfriend. She doesn’t have much to do, but is unquestionably a better actress than Megan Fox. Sam Witwicky is actually kind of a dick this time around. He walks up to high level government agents and is basically like, ‘do you know who I am bitches! I saved the world twice!’ Speaking of government agents, Frances McDormand plays one of them, and is a breath of fresh air to the franchise. The man who embarrasses himself all over the screen, though, is Ken Jeong, which is a shame, because I usually find him funny. Unfortunately, he’s given the worst comedy in the film as he pulls down his pants and is infused with awkward facial expressions and painful dialogue. The humor in general is horrible, but at least Sam Witwicky’s parents, who I’ve always loathed, are barely present.
Even with the humor toned down, whenever robots aren’t on screen, the movie is painful. We get pointless sub-plots about Sam getting his first job that I could care less about. John Turturro is back and annoying as ever. There’s one scene where him and Sam storm a seedy underground club for an important piece of information but it turns into nothing more than incoherent screaming and non-sense. Can we just see Optimus Prime cutting people? Enough with the humans please.
The last 80 minutes is all action, but it’s greatly improved from the last movie. You can actually tell what’s going on. Unfortunately it’s way too drawn out. How many times do I have to see a robot shoot another robot? It’s repetitive to the point of fatigue. The climax just doesn’t end. This is Michael Bay’s world, and we just suffer in it for more than two hours. And he still manages to cram in plenty of annoying robots with silky blue hair that look like they belong in a Spencer’s Gifts. And when we finally get to the final fight we’ve been waiting for, you are completely short changed, just like the last movie.
Even though the action is better, there are still sequences where I couldn’t tell one robot from the other. I know who Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are, but that’s about it. I know Ironhide is one of the major Autobots, but it’s been three movies, and I still couldn’t tell you what he looks like. They all run together.
I would say this is on par with the original, maybe a little worse. If you loved the first movie, I’m sure you’ll be all over this. I’ll give the film credit for at least keeping my interest as I cared about what happened to Optimus Prime. And I can’t deny the truly spectacular action and special effects. I’m always a grumpy gus when it comes to excessive amounts of CG, but the robots really do blend in with the environment pretty damn well. I don’t even think about it being CG.
My biggest gripe goes back to the length. It’s just way too long. When the credits came on, it was as though I had awoken from a 10-year deep sleep. There’s plenty of entertaining elements, but Transformers is exhausting, and I’m naïve to think it’s the last one.
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Barely Passable Entertainment)