Saturday, July 2, 2011

Transformers 3: Revenge of the Dark Side of the Fallen Moon.

If you're wondering why I got the movie title wrong, or jumbled it all up, it's because that's about how I feel about the movie. Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, really isn't a new movie at all. It's basically a mashup of the first two films, but somehow not consistent with either of them.

Yes, it's better than Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, but it's worse at the same time. It's still insultingly bad at times and a jumbled mess, but at least it's not as offensive as Revenge of the Fallen. The reason why I say it's worse is because of all of Michael Bay and Shia the Beef's assertions that they understood that Revenge was bad and they promised that Moon would be better. However, instead of going back to the drawing board, they just reguritated the same shit. Saying that Transformers 3 is better than Transformers 2 is like saying that someone throwing up in your kitchen sink is better than someone throwing up on the kitchen floor, simply because it's easier to clean up. It's still someone throwing up where they shouldn't.

Normally, I have rules about spoiling movies, but I'm about to pick this movie apart. If you just want my recommendation, I'll give it here and you can stop reading. There are some entertaining action sequences and the effects are still pretty top notch. Even the 3D is pretty good. It's more of the immersive type of the 3D that adds depth, rather than the type of 3D where they just throw stuff at the screen.

The story and dialog are still pretty bad and the attempts of humor are just silly and childish at times. The movie is way too long at 2 hours and 30 minutes and the middle hour of this movie just drags on. Ultimately, it's just not all that satisfying and ends up being kind of boring.

If you have to see in the theater, do a matinee (3D isn't a waste) but honestly, it's a rental at best.


Spoilers ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is going to be a long one. Read on if you dare!

We begin the movie with a shot of the final days of the war on Cybertron. You see a Autobot ship trying to escape carrying Sentinel Prime, which is odd because Revenge of the Fallen explained that all of the remaining Primes killed themselves thousands of years ago protecting the Matrix of Leadership, but I guess those were different Primes or something. Anyway, this ship is carrying some special technology that is supposed to end the war. As the ship escapes, it's shot down and somehow manages to crash land on our Moon. Convenient huh? Anyway, us humans detect the crash landing and this is what actually starts the space race to get to the Moon. Which actually, isn't a bad premise.

I'm not sure why this is called the Dark of the Moon, as this doesn't actually occur on the 'dark side' of the Moon. Also, there is technically no dark side of the moon either, but I'm not going to get into that. The 'dark' of the Moon refers to the fact that once the astronauts land on the Moon, they go communications dark, so they can investigate the crashed ship. They find the ship, some dead robots and technology. I guess they took notes and brought some samples back, but whatever they brought back gets hidden away in somewhere and then they never go back to the Moon again. This seems kind of odd considering you just found advanced alien technology and robots. You'd think we'd go back as much as possible, even if all the missions were top secret.

Plus, after the government was clearly aware that Transformers had been running around on the Earth for two films, you'd think someone that was around when all of this happened might have decided to dust off those old, top secret files, but it just seems like everyone had forgotten about that whole Moon thing.

Also, don't Transfomers have advanced sensor technology or something? None of them couldn't have just scanned the Moon at any point looking for familiar energy signatures. It's weird how all of this ancient Transformer stuff keeps crash landing on the Moon and Earth in all of these films. You'd think they would know better by now.

Anyway, so after the whole Moon opening sequence, we are brought to the present day. The Decepticons are hiding again, and the Autobots have placed energon detectors all over the place to help sniff them out. Oh wait, there's the advanced sensor technology it seems they should have had all along. I guess they do have the ability to detect their own technology. Um...okay. I guess placing a few of these on the Moon before coming to Earth wasn't an option I guess.

The Autobots have nothing to do while the Decepticons are hiding, so they are still working with NEST and Josh Duhamel, who seems like he really had nothing to do in this movie. The Autobots are now helping the US government find terrorists and kill them. This seems like a pretty fundamental shift in Optimus Prime's philosophy, because in the last movie it seemed that he wanted no part sharing weapon technology with humans because of our capacity for war. I guess they don't have problems helping them kill terrorists though. Oh yeah, Optimus said in the first film that they don't harm humans, too. I guess that doesn't apply anymore. It's a good thing the Autobots landed in America then.

The Decepticons are hiding in Africa and Russia, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Why aren't they using the base they had on Jupiter in the last film? Did they dismantle it for parts? Megatron is still beat up from the last movie, and wears a hood now. Again, I'm a little confused why he wasn't able to repair since you see other Transfomers able to reattach limbs and such. I'm also not clear as to why a giant robot would need to wear clothing. I don't think the hood is going to do much to disguise that fact that he's a GIANT EFFING ROBOT! I guess that's why he's in Africa hiding with all the wildlife. There aren't any humans around to notice. Not that a large truck transforming into a robot would stand out in the middle of a desert.

Anyway, the Autobots finally track down a Decepticon in Russia, who turns into a giant, metal sand worm thing that's like ten times the size of any Autobot. Why this thing can't kill any of the Autobots, I don't know. Seems like that's a pretty big tactical advantage. Anyway, during this fight, the Autobots recover a piece of the technology recovered from the Moon all those years back. Optimus recognizes it and gets pissed at the government for not sharing what they knew about them. They decide to go to the Moon to investigate for themselves, and this demonstrates one of the many issues I had with the movie, as they just casually show that the Autobots had a ship that could get them to the Moon. Where was this ship when the came to Earth in the first place? If you remember, in the first two films, the Transformers always crash landed on Earth in a proto-meteor form without being in a ship, so they obviously had a way to leave other planets without needing a ship, but not Earth I guess. Sigh...

They get to the Moon, recover a few pieces of technology and a not dead Sentinel Prime. Optimus uses the Matrix of Leadership, which as you remember from the last film revived the then dead Optimus Prime, but was also needed to operate the sun exploding machine. This Matrix of Leadership is quite handy. Sentinel explains that the advanced technology is for a space bridge that originally was somehow going to end the war, but now is somehow going to save Cybertron. I guess this is another Swiss army knife technology. Very creative these Transformers are. However, Sentinel explains that the technology they recovered was just a fraction of what they needed to make the space bridge and the rest of it is missing.

Now, it's time to hang out with The Beef. We catch back up with Sam Witwicky, who's living with his new model girlfriend in some giant apartment in DC that I'm not sure how either of them could afford considering he's unemployed. Also, they show that they met at the White House after Sam was given a medal by Obama. It seemed a little odd to me that a Brit would have a job in the White House and be in the next room over from the President. I guess they did a quick background check or something.

Sam is depressed because nobody realizes how great he is. He has saved the world twice, you know. His girlfriend and his parents (oh yeah, they're back, too) just want him to move on a get a friggin job. You see a sequence of job interviews where he acts like a spaz and it seems pretty clear why he can't get a job. Eventually, he gets hired by John Malkovich to work in a mail room. Sam seems irritated by this, as this is clearly a step down for someone with his skill set. You even get to seem him working. Fascinating, I know. I guess when you call a movie Transformers, you have to show looooong, boring sequences of some douchey kid working in a mail room, moping around his hot girlfriend's apartment and arguing with his dorky parents. Makes for a great movie.

Megan Fox has been replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who is no actress, but I didn't think she was as awful as I thought she was going to be. It's not like Megan Fox was a good actress either. She plays a character named Carly, or is it Marly? I swear you hear characters say both names. It's like they started with one name, filmed a bunch of scenes, decided to change it and then when asked if they should go back and redub the dialog on those other scenes, Bay said, "Fuck it! Nobody will notice. My movies aren't about things like consistency!" Anyway, the movie starts with a very long shot of her legs and ass going up a flight of stairs, which should tell you about how she's going to be used in this movie. Several times during the movie, you get shots of her basically being shot like a stripper and various cast members ogling her. Again, what any of this has to do with giant robots, I don't know. Bay sure likes his strippers though.

Anyway, she works for McDreamy who is some kind of auto collector or something. I'm not really clear as to what he does, other than he seems to be after Carly and Sam doesn't like him. Jumping ahead, we eventually find out that McDreamy has been working with the Decepticons for years. For something supposedly so top secret, it sure seems like there are just a whole bunch of random people walking around with full knowledge of their existence and carrying around evidence of it and it's all unchecked by anyone.

The Decepticons appear to be mobilizing again and the Autobots don't know why. The government doesn't either, but something is clearly up. Fortunately, we have Sam Witwicky, who despite being told by the government to take a hike, decides to investigate this himself with the help of his old buddy Agent Simmons, played again by John Turturro. Agent Simmons, who was disgraced and working in a deli in the last film, is now super rich after writing a book about the Transformers. Again, I guess they don't put a gag order on former heads of top secret agencies. Simmons has a gay, German assistant, played by Alan Tudyk (who I actually thought was kind of funny). Tudyk is also some kind of super computer hacker, which obviously comes in handy. It seems like characters in Transformers movies are always conveniently adept at random things when the script calls for it.

Anyway, they figure out the plan, which was basically that the Decepticons had the rest of the space bridge technology and Sentinel Prime has been working with Megatron all along. Sentinel is the only person that can operate the space bridge, so Megatron needs him. I guess Megatron's deal with Sentinel was not known to the rest of the Decepticons as they were the ones that shot him down in the first place!

Early in the movie, Optimus offers the Matrix back to Sentinel, but he declines it, which now seems very odd to me, because if Sentinel was planning on betraying him all along, you'd think he'd want to hang on to this very handy tool. I guess he didn't have a need for it, despite that it can resurrect dead Transformers and control sun exploding machines.

So the Decepticons activate the space bridge where suddenly all of these dormant Decepticons awaken on the Moon and go through the bridge to get to Earth. I'm not sure why they needed the space bridge to get from the Moon to Earth. If you argue that maybe they couldn't fly, then how did they get to the Moon? Were they all on the crashed ship? But, then that would mean they were all working with Megatron, too, since they were all Decepticons. None of this makes any sense! Also, several of these dormant Decepticons are ships. They couldn't have just flown to Earth on their own?

Plus, why were they hiding all this time? There's like a hundred of them and like ten total Autobots. Seems like they could beat them just through sheer numbers. Are Deceptions that ineffective at fighting? Between their numbers and the giant sand worm thing, I'm having difficulty understanding why they are having such a hard time with such a small resistance. Ugh...this is maddening!

Anyway, the Decepticons demand the Autobots leave Earth, stating that they only want to harvest resources and then they'll leave Earth alone. So the Autobots pile into yet another huge spaceship that government knew about. Hell, they even grafted a space shuttle to it, so I guess it wouldn't look suspicious or something. Here we find Tyrese is no longer a soldier and working on the space ship, which he describes an easy job. Anyway, the giant, alien, space shuttle-ship takes off with all of the Autobots in it and then Starscream immediately shoots it down with ease. Oh noes! All the Autobots are dead! Spoiler alert: They aren't dead!

Now it turns out the new plan is to use the space bridge to bring Cybertron here, and enslave humans to help rebuild it. Why they think humans would make good labor over the giant robots, I don't know. Also, if their plan is to enslave humanity, then why do they start out by killing thousands of humans indiscriminately. I guess they don't need all of us. Also, I guess nobody understands that if you introduced a giant planet next to our planet, the gravitational forces alone would destroy our planet. It makes sense maybe from the sense of bringing the planet here to take over Earths orbit, but maybe I'm giving them too much credit.

Oh yeah, wasn't the plan in the last movie to destroy our sun for energy? They didn't seem to be too concerned with human slave labor that time.

Anyway, McDreamy kidnaps Carly and takes her into the city. He reveals that his master plan to help the Decepticons is simply to 'not die'. So Sam rounds up Tyrese and some of his old soldier buddies, including Terry Tate: Office Linebacker (No, I'm not kidding. He's in this.), to go into the city and rescue her. Which begins the hour long action sequence that ends the movie.

You'd have to wonder why a small force of humans would think they have much of a chance against the Decepticons. Even Tyrese wants to quit the second they get to the city, but humans have apparently become much more adept at killing Transformers with small weaponry. They don't seem to have any problem running right up to a Transformer, placing a bomb on his foot and running away. Hell, even The Beef is able to kill Starscream by himself. Yes, Starscream, second in command of the Decepticons in every version of the Transformers you've seen is killed by a bratty little kid that probably couldn't beat up your sister.

Oh, and by this point, the Autobots have returned saying they had to let all this happen, so we'd understand the Decepticons could not be trusted. I guess you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right Optimus? Anyway, now the Autobots are back to fight the Decepticons and off they all go.

The humans find Carly, and this begins this insanely long sequence of the metal sand worm tearing up the building they are in and the humans sliding around everyone. Once they finally get on the ground, instead of getting Carly to safety, they just let her hang around. She's walking around, with her bee-stung-lipped mouth all agape as stuff is blowing up all around her. She's not screaming or taking cover or reacting to it in any way. You know, like normal people would. Then again, cool guys don't run from explosions.

She somehow happens to find Megatron, who's just chilling out against a building. Seriously, during the huge battle, Megatron is just sitting up against a building. Carly is not intimidated by giant robots, so she just walks up to Megatron and talks shit to him for like half a minute saying that he's going to be Sentinel Prime's bitch. That's enough to make him turn his back on Sentinel Prime. I guess advanced alien robots aren't immune to a girl getting in your head.

So as Sentinel is about to kill Optimus, Megatron (surprise!) shows up and shoots Sentinel. Then Optimus, is then able to kill both Sentinel and Megatron by himself in about a minute. Oh, and Optimus did this with only one arm, as Sentinel cut off his other arm a few seconds ago.

They destroy the space bridge and this destroys Cybertron along with it. That sucks.

That's pretty much it for the story. I have a few other points I'd like to make. I could keep tearing this movie apart, but I'm getting exhausted. I'll do this bullet point style.

- Once again, the Transformers, outside of Optimus, don't really have any actual character traits and aren't developed at all. In the first Transformers, you got the feeling that they actually had personalities and were friends. By the second and third films, their only character traits are that they have funny accents.

- What happened to Jolt? Did he get killed between the two movies. It just seems like Bay just randomly adds and subtracts robots from these movies. On the Decepticon side, Barricade seems to have returned, after being completely MIA from the second film and from the final battle in the first film. I guess he just shows up when he wants to.

- Also, they kill two Autobots, in very undignified manners. You're only upset, because it's all so pointless. If the Autobots had been developed better, these deaths might have carried more weight. Every time they kill a Decepticon, you don't care. Half of them don't even have names. There's nothing compelling about any of them.

- Bumblebee still can't talk, despite that he could at the end of the first film. For an advanced alien race, it seems they have difficulty fixing minor things. I guess it's just not that much of a priority. Still, you'd think after like five years, they would have figured it out.

- The racist Autobot twins aren't here, which is a good thing, but they are unfortunately replaced with two mini robots with weird voices. One of them is Wheelie from the past movie, back with his bad NY accent, and now he's joined by another mini robot named Brains, I think, who also spoke with a weird accent. I'm not sure why he's called Brains as I didn't remember him saying or doing anything even remotely intelligent. He did turn into a laptop though. I think these two were meant as comedy relief, only they aren't funny at all.

- I don't know how Bay has directed three movies about giant robots, while not understanding what robots are. Throughout these movies, the robots drool, bleed, spit, have hair and some of it sheds. There was more of it in Revenge, but it's here in Moon as well.

- In the first Transformers, it is established that Megatron crash landed on Earth several thousand years ago when searching for the Allspark, and the Allspark had been on Earth since 10,000 B.C. I thought it was established that control over the Allspark is what started the war between the Autobots and Decepticons in the first place, and they had been searching for the Allspark for several thousand years apparently. It just doesn't seem consistent with Megatron being around to make a deal with Sentinel Prime in this movie. Also, the whole thing with The Fallen from Transformers 2 happened in 17,000 B.C., so it's not like they weren't aware of Earth. Granted, there could be issues with the time here, as could have taken the Transformers thousands of years to reach Earth, but I shouldn't have to come up with excuses for them. This should be explained by the story.

- Plus, it seems like a lot of this completely retcons Sector 7 from the first film. In the first film, Sector 7 is established in the 1930's when they found the Allspark and built the Hoover Dam around it. Even though Megatron was discovered by Archibald Witwicky in 1897, he's been hidden in the Hoover Damn since the 1930's as well. It would seem that Sector Seven would have been involved in the space race somehow and I believe it's even stated in the first film that NBE-1 had something to do with the space race. Again, this just doesn't seem consistent with their own mythology.

- It seems like it might have been a smarter move to bring back Rachael Taylor's character from the first movie as Sam's love interest in this one. Here's a character that already knows Sam and is familiar with the Transformers. Plus, she's a known computer whiz, so when the script called for someone to hack into a system, you would have had an established character with those skills in the movie without having to tack them on to Alan Tudyk's character. You could have even brought Anthony Anderson's character back as well. Show them working on a government team working with the Autobots or something.

Hopefully, this franchise gets a reboot in a few years, with a writing and directing staff that actually understands things like consistency, what a coherent story is, and how to write characters with actual personalities. Also, it would help if they understand what a robot is.

After all of this mess of a film, people APPLAUDED as it ended! Seriously? You watched this and enjoyed on that level? Maybe they were clapping ironically? I really hope this isn't how far we have fallen that this passes for applause-level movie entertainment. I shudder for our future and the future of movies if this encourages more shit like this. It's just like how I die a little inside every time another Friedberg and Seltzer movie has a good opening weekend.

At the end of this trilogy, I've come to the realization that the Transformers movies are not about the Transformers at all. They are more about humans and some entitled brat named Sam Witwicky. This fundamental flaw, well, that and the fact that these are Michael Bay movies, are why this franchise was doomed from the beginning. It just goes to show you that just because Steven Spielberg puts his name on a movie, it doesn't mean it's going to be good. In fact, I'm shocked that at no point during the last six years or so he didn't step in and try do something.

One final point I wanted to make is...

Sam Witwicky: Worst Character in Cinematic History.

Well, maybe not the worst. I still think Bella from the Twilight series holds that title, but Shia the Beef's Sam Witwicky is a close second. Here's why.

In the first Transfomers movie, he's actually a normal, nerdy kid. He's thown into this crazy adventure and his reaction to it all is pretty realistic. I don't have a problem with that. He's fast talking and does that stammering thing he does, but it's not to a ridiculous level. He helps save the day and gets the hot girl that out of his league. This a typical nerd becomes the hero story and it works for the most part.

In the second movie, Sam's going off to college. He still with Megan Fox, who seems to love him way more than he deserves, yet Sam can't bring himself to say he loves her back. I guess he thinks he can do better, or something. Despite that she tells him that she loves him, he seems to think she's ready to break up him any minute now. So what does he do? He blows her off on scheduled dates. Yeah, that'll keep her around. She's so concerned after being blown off, that she drives out to the school to see what's up with him. I guess that's proves his theory that she's ready to dump him, right?

Another thing is that he seems to be upset with the Transformers, Bumblebee in particular, for cramping his style. You'd think he's be pretty thrilled about being an 18-year-old with a bitching concept Camaro that is also a giant alien robot, but he's not. He wants to go on his own. Only, every time he's about to get his ass killed by a Decepticon, he's screams Bumblebee or Optimus at the top of his lungs. I think I counted at least four times in Revenge of the Fallen when he does this. The first time is particularly annoying as he screams for Bumblebee to save him and after he does, he immediately starts to chastise him for making a mess. Um...okay. Thanks for saving my life for like the third time, but you made a mess! Get back in the garage, you bad robot, you.

Besides the screaming he stammers incessantly. Watch Revenge of the Fallen and notice the number of times he doesn't even speak words, but just goes something like, "No no no no no!" or "Go go go go go!" I don't know if the script actually called for this, or this is just Shia's idea of acting, but it's annoying.

In Dark of the Moon, he's now just moping around with a sense of entitlement. He's somehow managed to meet yet another hot, model girlfriend despite being unemployed and a whiny bitch. He's upset that nobody appreciates that HE (by himself, apparently) has saved the world twice and loves to remind anyone that will listen. His parents don't care and his girlfriend doesn't care. They just want him to get a job and move on with his life. Nobody in the government cares. Hell, even the Autobots have moved on. They probably got tired of Sam acting like an ungrateful bitch after the last movie. He's living in the past and that is generally always the sign of a sad person.

He doesn't stammer as much in this movie, except for when he's spazing out during his job interviews, but he does scream and shout a TON once the action gets going. It's embarrassing.

By the third film, there is absolutely to like about Sam or identify with. You almost want him to die just so you know he can't possibly be in another one of these movies. Someone had suggested that it would have been a better movie had they just completely gotten rid of the character after the second film and made this about Josh Duhamel's character. That would have made a lot more sense to me.

Anyway, the blame for this can go all around. He was written terribly, directed terribly and acted terribly. One of the failures of these films centers around this character and how they made him an unlikable douche.

The End.

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