Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I will readily admit that I was oddly mesmerized by the spectacle of director Michael Bay’s first ‘Transformers’ film. I will readily admit that I thought that director Michael Bay’s second ‘Transformers’ film was the worst BIG movie I had ever seen, that is until M. Knight’s ‘The Last Airbender’ came along and effortlessly snatched that title away. Even Michael Bay himself hated ‘Revenge of the Fallen’. In fact, just like I have no intention on seeing ‘The Last Airbender 2’ if such a thing should ever happen, so grating was ‘Revenge of the Fallen’ that I decided I would go ahead and skip this movie ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. But yet here I was, trapped in a movie theater, dispatched by the powers that control me, to watch this movie. The spectacle and awe that was the first ‘Transformers’ movie is long gone, so now we need something more. Needless to say, we didn’t get that with the second movie and I’m forced to report we didn’t get that with the third movie either. But… and this is faint praise to be sure… ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ at least was far easier to sit through than ‘Revenge of the Fallen’.

The story supporting this version, while ridiculous, at least had me involved early. Until things started to blow up repeatedly. The space walk was a sham and the space race was really a contest between the Americans and the Russians trying to get to the moon first to investigate the UFO that crashed there. Yay! America won! As Optimus Prime tells us, voiced by the oppressively impressive tones of Peter Cullen, that ship housed a technology that would’ve turned the war on Cybertron and saved the planet, but it was not to be.

Four plus years later, Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) is back, he’s living in DC, he has another impossibly hot girlfriend in Carly (Rosie Huntingtion-Whiteley) and he’s unemployed. At his apartment he has a couple of Autobot pets who have replaced the offensive Homie-Bots of the previous film and actually provide some legitimate comic relief this time around. The debate is whether or not this is the type of movie that needs comic relief.

We’re not going to worry about Sam’s personal problems too much, his relationship with his omnipresent girlfriend, his girlfriends boss (Patrick Dempsey), Sam’s new boss (John Malkovich), Sam’s parents (Kevin Dunn, Julie White) because the truth of the matter is it doesn’t add much to the movie. It could’ve if stuff had blowed up less, but it didn’t. The important thing about this movie is that Optimus is overjoyed that they’ve located the ship of his old boss on the dark side of the moon, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), leading to Optimus reactivating him and all is good. Not really. Because that gosh darned Megatron (Hugo Weaving), looking all messed up and stuff, has a plan and it involves that super tech we mentioned earlier that was on that ship and the freshly reactivated Sentinel Prime.

In a nutshell, the Decepticons want to bring Cybertron to earth. It’s a little crazy and watching it actually take place didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but that’s what those nutjob robots want to do. Sam, his girlfriend, Major Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and a retired Sgt. Epps (Tyrese Gibson) can’t allow that to happen. And if you’ve seen the trailer then you know that Optimus told us that this fight is on us. Uh… right. A little help over here Bumblebee.

As I mentioned earlier, in 2007 watching robots transform and cause a ruckus was truly something to see. In 2011, not so much. It’s still a spectacle, it’s still visually magnificent, but only in an incrementally evolutionary way. What now?

The answer to that would be ‘nothing, really’. We did have the seeds of an interesting Sci-Fi themed story laid out, but that was quickly scuttled in favor of explosions. We have more of watching Shia LeBeouf running through a decaying city screaming his head off, surviving impossible events, and for whatever reason being the point man for a group of hardened soldiers. We have more of some ridiculously hot, marginally talented actress, following Shia around, yelling her head off while also keeping her makeup and hair remarkably intact. Revlon was on their A-game in this movie, let me tell you. About that hot actress, while I didn’t really mind Miss Huntington-Whiteley all that much, my fifteen year old was none too happy with Meghan Fox being replaced. Aside from the fact he finds Ms. Fox more attractive, but aesthetically speaking, Huntington-Whiteley’s blondness and the fact she wore white all the time (that didn’t get dirty) clashed with the decaying backgrounds causing her integrate poorly into the film where Meghan Fox and her darker tones and darker coiffure choices seemed to blend in better. That’s what my boy said, not me. I thought they were interchangeable. All I know is that the director spent more time searching for bizarre angles to shoot this young woman than trying to tell me a decent story.

At a running time over two and a half hours, I probably went numb at the ninety minute mark but the movie still had its shining moments for me. Watching the Decepticons vaporize the good citizens of Chicago was pretty damned awesome. Observing the human soldiers take flight in those fancy Banshee style glide suits, even though they did this descending into a Decepticon fire fight which made this a mighty stupid act, was also pretty damned awesome. Watching the hot girlfriend get into Megatron’s grill and tell him how things are going to be, while one of the dumber scene transitions I’ve ever seen, was so sublimely ridiculous that this also made it sublimely awesome. But back to the overwhelming nonsense of this movie, and I’m sure they told me why, but I still don’t quite understand why the Decepticons wanted to move their entire planet over here. I know it has something to do with slave labor but how did they plan to get six billion people up to that airless planet to build stuff? This is why I stopped thinking about this worthless story, one that didn’t need to be worthless, and just watched stuff blow up real good.

Do you like to watch stuff blow up? Do like to watch robots transform? Do you like to watch Shia LeBeouf run and scream? Do you like to watch a hot chick wear inappropriately tight clothes and shot from inappropriate angles. Do you enjoy really long movies with very little story to tell? Then I have a movie for you and it’s called ‘Transformers’ and it came out in 2007.

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