Autobots! Transform and Roll Out!!
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but third installments of movie trilogies tend to be hit or miss. We’ve had some successes, such as the Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and some all-out disappointments like Spider-Man 3 or X-Men: The Last Stand. I believe Transformers: Dark of the Moon might find its way into the success column. Going in with absolutely no expectations whatsoever, I am happy to say that the movie was a highly enjoyable spectacle.
After the commercially successful, yet critically panned Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, one would think the franchise had nowhere to go but up, so for his final outing as director, Michael Bay goes balls out and sends his trilogy out on a high note. The Autobots and Decepticons smash together once again in an all-out battle for the planet, and instead of Devastator’s balls and Ghettobots, we get a fairly cohesive story, a few well-executed twists, spectacular action scenes that you can actually see (!!!), and some moments that will have die-hard fans cheering. The film gives the giant robots the sendoff they deserve.
But what would a Transformers movie be without some superfluous humans? Shia LaBeouf takes some crazy pills (as Thor so eloquently put it) and gives his most extreme portrayal of Sam Witwicky to date, channeling his inner Jack Bauer and screaming until his lungs bleed. Joining him is Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who, while looking like she has suffered a bee sting to the upper lip, delivers a surprisingly decent performance……for a girl who’s never acted before. Let’s face it, she’s the personification of Michael Bay’s “F-U” to Megan Fox. Simple as that. Also, to insert an actor’s name into a phrase that keeps cropping up this summer, “John Malkovich is in this movie?!” He is completely unnecessary, but you cannot help but smile at the pure ridiculousness that accompanies him on the screen. But the real surprise comes from Alan Tudyk, who steals many a scene as the German valet to John Turturro’s Agent Simmons. Words cannot describe. You must see it yourself.
On the more mechanical side of things, Leonard Nimoy returns to the Transformers universe as the voice of Sentinel Prime, predecessor to Peter Cullen’s Optimus. A living legend, even just doing voice work, Nimoy taps into the guttural sound he used for Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie (1986) and commands the respect worthy of an Autobot leader. Noticeably absent from the film are Mudflap and Skids, the pair that caught flak from audiences and critics in Revenge of the Fallen. Instead we’ve traded them in for the trash-talking Wreckers, a trio of Autobot commandos who kick A LOT of ass and take several names.
At 157 minutes, the film could have benefitted from some trimming. For example, there is a fairly drawn-out sequence involving a collapsing skyscraper and a Decepti-Kraken, as well as a number of ridiculously over-the-top comedic scenes that are highly distracting. Every scene with Mr. and Mrs. Witwicky could’ve easily found their way onto the cutting room floor.
I see this movie making a lot of money. Fans will enjoy it, and if you’re an average moviegoer who saw the first two films, you might think it’s the best of the three.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is now playing in theaters everywhere.