Movie Name: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Studio: Di Bonaventura Pictures
Release Date(s): June 23, 2011 (Moscow International Film Festival)/June 29, 2011 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
During the battle for Cybertron, a ship called the Ark was created to end the war between Autobots and Decepticons. The Ark crashed on Earth’s moon and its discovery sparked the race for the moon. Now, the Autobots have learned of the Ark’s discovery during the moon mission and set out to awaken Sentinel Prime. Unknown to the Autobots is that they are playing right into the Decepticons plans and their actions could doom Earth. When Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) get caught up in the battle, Sam finds himself at odds with the Director of National Intelligence (Frances McDormand) and competing with Carly’s boss Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey)…and the fate of Earth and Cybertron could hang in the balance.
Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a follow-up to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen released in 2009. The 3-D movie was released to negative reviews (though most believing it was better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), but the movie also was a box office success. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Achievements in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, and Best Achievement in Visual Effects, but also received nominations for Razzies for Worst Supporting Actor (Patrick Dempsey), Worst Supporting Actor (Ken Jeong—also for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Hangover Part II, and Zookeeper), Worst Ensemble, Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actress (Rosie Hutington-Whiteley), Worst Director, Worst Screen Couple (Shia LaBeouf/Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), and Worst Screenplay.
The Transformers movies are pretty bad. The first movie found some critical success, but the second film was generally panned. I actually was slightly interesting in this third film due to the space tie-ins. The movie was slightly better…just slightly.
The story for the movie does have some interesting backstory. I like the idea that the U.S. borrowed from Transformer technology, but it makes little sense in relation to the other films (a slim explanation that the information was deep, deep cover was weak). The movie however devolves into the classic Transformer film problem of putting the humans above the Transformers…and you have to love that the great military leader Megatron is tricked by reverse psychology by a twenty-something in the end.
With humans as the feature, the movie is once again overloaded. Shia LaBeouf has a new girl to bore with in Rosie Huntington-Whitely. I love in films when they replace “the love of their life” characters…this one is particularly rough since Megan Fox appeared in two films (she allegedly angered the Bay by comparing him to Hitler). Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, and Josh Duhamel return, and Kevin Dunn and Julie White return as Ron Witwicky and Judy Witwicky. The movie adds John Malkovich as Sam’s weird boss and Ken Jeong in a small (unnecessary) role. Alan Tudyk and Frances McDormand are fair but it really should be about the Transformers. Patrick Dempsey is over-the-top from beginning to end and Buzz Aldrin takes the space program back a step with a cameo as himself.
The Transformers are voice by some fun actors. Peter Cullen continues as Optimus Prime, and Hugo Weaving returns as Megatron. James Remar plays Sideswipe and Frank Welker steps in as Shockwave. Leonard Nimoy has a fun turns as Sentinel Prime (he took over when Sean Connery did want the role). This was Nimoy’s second run at the Transformers since he played Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie.
The movie also demonstrates a slight visual improvement. One of my biggest problems with Transformers is that the Transformers all look alike. The movie attempts to make the characters a bit more distinguishable. I wish that the Transformers had all looked like Sentinel Prime who looked like one of the old Transformers (designed after Sean Connery). I wish that Shockwave had looked a little more like the old Shockwave…he was one of my favorite Decepticons.
Transformers still isn’t a good franchise, but this movie shows some improvement. It remains a weak series filled with unnecessary characters, but it at least there is some fun. The Transformers continue to truck on with Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014 which gets rid of Shia LaBeouf.