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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Movie Review

We've all heard the complaints: too much stupid humor, too much military fanboyism, too much blurry robotic chaos masquerading as 'fights' and too little screen time for the robots the movie was named after.

People of the world, Michael Bay has heard your cries. And his answer is Transformers: Dark of the Moon.


Let me get this out of the way first: Transformers: Dark of the Moon is awesome. Crazy, I know. After the horrible, horrible Revenge of the Fallen, the bar has been set pretty darn low for Transformers at this point. But Dark of the Moon not only snaps the bar in half, but it gives each pointy end to an Autobot and Decepticon and tells them to fight to the death with it.

Let's break it down: the first half of the movie deals with a conspiracy involving an alien ship crash-landing on the dark side of the moon in the 1960's. Turns out the ship was from Cybertron, and it holds the key to turning the tide of war between the Autobots and Decepticons on earth. The second half is what you pay to see, as the Decepticons wage all-out war against the human race!

Dark of the Moon feels like two different movies rolled into one. One is the first Transformers movie done right, the second is an apocalyptic wasteland in the vein of Terminator: Salvation. Michael Bay is usually faulted with a total lack of focus and tact in his films, but surprisingly he manages to tone down the toilet humor, the unlikeable parents and the unnecessary explosions, to ramp up the things that mattered most, namely, the Transformers themselves.

The human bits of the movie are bearable this time around. Rosie Huntington-Whitely's was pretty hot, and her British accent was easier on the ears. Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBouf) isn't such a dweeb now, and is actually useful. John Torturro's Simmons is still a delight, and the new characters come in, do what they have to do, and move on. If you're into robot violence instead, you'll get your fill here. Not only that, if you're a Transformers fan from way back (like, Generation 1 back), you'd enjoy some of the nods here and there. The space bridge, Shockwave, robot war ravaging Earth...it's like I'm watching 'The Ultimate Doom' in live action!

Speaking of action...the movie has loads of it. Bay seems to have perfected the art of robot war after two films. The action is more fluid now, the robots easier to pick out from the mess of metal shards they call bodies. Not only that, Bay knows how to sell each and every fight scene. At one point, Optimus swoops down on a group of Decepticons and just tears everybody apart, while a heroic orchestra piece underscores how mind-blowingly awesome the scene is. Don't be scared when you find yourself unconsciously pumping a fist in the air every time OP comes onscreen.

There are some disappointing parts of note. The alien conspiracy was needlessly complicated (You could have cut out some parts and scenes and it wouldn't have changed a thing). Shockwave was more or less an extended cameo, having nothing to do but be a mini-boss for the Autobots to practice on. And for those with a soft spot for Optimus Prime, it might be jarring for you to see him execute his enemies Mafia style. Bay has turned Optimus into a grizzled war veteran, who despite wanting peace, cannot escape the horrors of war.

It's a good thing then that the good parts outweigh all the bad. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is more or less what you'd expect from a Michael Bay Transformers movie, 2 films later. All the criticisms have been addressed and decimated, and you rest easy knowing at the very least, the Transformers movie franchise ended on a high, flashy, loud, explosive and entertaining note.

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