Best Movies of All Time + Transformers



Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a 2011 action film directed by Michael Bay that serves as the third and final installment in his Transformers trilogy. The film starts with a flashback to the 1960s, where a spacecraft has crash-landed on the moon, spurring the space race of the 1960s. The movie posits that the Apollo 11 lunar landing was actually a mission to recover information about the crash itself. Fast forward to present day, and we have the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) working with the United States. The franchise's main hero, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has graduated college and is now desperately trying to live his life to the standards he set for himself after achieving the status of "hero." He lives with his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) and struggles with their relationship as well. One day after finding a job at a high-end company, a Decepticon attacks and tries to kill Sam, forcing him to seek refuge with his Autobot friends. The team then learns of the government cover-up from the lunar landing, sending Optimus into a fit of rage for having not been told the information earlier. He awakens Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy), who was piloting the spacecraft that crashed on the moon, to try to collect devices called "Pillars" that will supposedly help defeat the Decepticons once and for all. As time continues to pass, however, a number of allegiances fall into question, and a full-on, climactic battle for the planet ultimately ensues.

You know, when I was watching this film last night at a midnight showing, I couldn't quite put my finger on what wasn't completely right with it. After writing that synopsis, however, I think I've hit the nail on the head. There's definitely some issues with screenplay with this most recent of Transformers films. It's not that the story they're telling isn't compelling; rather, I think that the filmmakers tried to intertwine one too many stories within the context of the film. Even at over two-and-a-half hours long, the plot seemed very, very crowded, and it gave me the sense that Bay wanted to throw as much into the film as he possibly could, considering this is supposed to be his last Transformers flick. When you take the screenplay all the way down to the actual story, then we're actually given something rather compelling, with a number of twists and turns to keep us guessing. But because there's so much excess weight bogging everything else down, it all just seems a tad convoluted.

While I'm on the subject of over-use of a certain facet of a film, I'd like to talk about the number of big-name actors that appear in this third Transformers movie. As is expected, we see the return of LaBeouf who actually performs better than I expected. In my breakdown of this film's trailer, I pondered whether LaBeouf's performance would exceed what he had done in the past, and while he's not blowing anyone away, you can definitely see that a level of maturation has occurred. The introduction of Miss Huntington-Whiteley is actually a very good one, and I'd dare to say she's a step up (acting-wise) from Megan Fox. We could all debate about the sex appeal of the two women, but when it comes to straight-up acting, I think I'd take Rosie any day. We do have a couple of our cast regulars, with the likes of Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro returning; however, because of the flood of other big-name stars, I felt like their roles were pushed a little towards the background. When you've got the likes of Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong and Alan Tudyk making appearances this time around, it'd be tough for any actor to try to push their way into the spotlight. I did think that the cast was a little over-crowded in that no one really had the chance to excel to the best of their ability. Still, it was nice to have an extra splash of flavor now and again.

As usual, some of the intangibles are rather stellar. The visual effects continue to blow me away even if they are a little too fast-moving at some parts. The action sequences in these films move so quickly that it's hard to get any real bearings on how spectacular the visuals are. Also, the musical score by Steve Jablonsky continues to impress me - he knows how to craft an excellent, action-oriented score.

Overall, I actually thought that Dark of the Moon was the best Transformers film to date. Sadly, with how unfavorably I reviewed the past two films, that's not really giving this one much credit. Still, despite it's obvious flaws, there's still plenty of entertainment to be had with this one. Just go in expecting your typical Michael Bay picture, and I'm sure you're going to have an enjoyable time.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: C+
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2011, action, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, life, Michael Bay, movie review, Oscar nom, Patrick Dempsey, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, scifi, sequel, Shia LaBeouf, Steve Jablonsky, and more:

Relevant to: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON + Transformers