A few years after the events of the second film, we find Sam Witwicky is having a rough go; the poor guy can’t find a job, no one remembers him as a part of the heroes that have saved the Earth twice now, but he still has an awesome loft and a crazy hot girlfriend, yeah life’s tough.
Oh wait why am I focusing on Sam? He’s not the integral character in this film!
That’s right, the Transformers movie that actually features the Transformers has finally come!
The story goes: back when the United States landed on the moon, it wasn’t totally a race to the moon for bragging rights, instead there were waves that signalled radio towers that something crashed on the moon, and the moon race was on! Obviously you know what it was that crashed on the moon: an alien spaceship that carried Transformers, plus weaponry crucial to their war.
Meanwhile on Earth Optimus Prime and his boys have been hunting down Decepticons and… carrying out American government agendas?… Whatever, important thing is that the Autobots are kicking a lot of ass and it’s awesome, until a new government official comes in and naturally, starts being a douche.
Long story short: the Autobots are putting up with discrimination from humans now, despite their heroics, the Decepticons are plotting their revenge while scheming to obtain the weapon from the moon, and we get segments of Sam complaining about how tough his life is.
Sam is a pretty big puss for the first half of this film, which I think is the writing going with what the fans say.
I can not stress enough how happy I am that Megan Fox is gone from the Transformers franchise; chick can’t act, she was irrelevant to the Transformers universe, and to make matters worse she became the primary focus of the second film.
NOW we have a film that the characters are people the audience can get behind. Sam acts more the way he’d be expected in all three acts of the film, his bumbling parents hardly take up any screen time, Josh Duhamel is as solid as ever, and John Turturro has certainly stepped up his game to being less of the comedic schmuck he was in the past and actually delivers an agent Simmons who plays a key role in the story’s progression without taking up too much screen time.
The voice acting is, for the most part, just as well done as the Transformers films in the past: Optimus sounds awesome as ever, Megatron sounds menacing, and the comical characters have voices that deliver the goofiness but without crossing those precious lines that left many in a huff with previous films. My only complaints about the voiced Transformers comes with Soundwave and Shockwave: Soundwave, the monotone, robotic voiced Decepticon from days gone by sounds more like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. Shockwave, meanwhile, has gone from the poetic, educated sound that one would expect from the Decepticons’ top scientist to a lot of guttural growls more expectable from a Conan flicks.
One can’t mention the acting in this film without addressing the elephant in the room. Yes, Megan Fox is gone, some folks mourn the loss while others, myself included, couldn’t be happier to see her out of my beloved childhood franchise. Taking the role of Sam’s new girlfriend, Carly, is played by first-time actress and model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Despite this being her first outing as an actor, she stole the scenes she was in, and unlike Fox, it was for all the right reasons. Huntington is a polar opposite to Sam’s last romantic interest, the skanky has been replaced with a classy but still very sexy presentation, she doesn’t hog all the screen time, and she can actually act quite well. Good riddance Fox, hello Huntington.
Dark of the Moon is finally a reason to see something in 3D, yes I just said that. The visuals in this fim are stunning and and CGI is up to snuff for any purist, the cinematography is breath-taking at times, and the action is pure Michael Bay (translated means “a lot of crap blows up”)
This movie is very pleasing to the eyes; I’m a very big snarker when it comes to 3D, but this movie finally gives merit to why 3D is so mainstream now.
Sounds are Earth-shattering in battle and haunting in the scenes of desolated, war-torn areas. The mandatory Linkin Park track is there in the soundtrack, but the reworking of the original score is what made my arm hairs stand on end.
The new arrangements of the score from the previous films gave a great feel of consistency while supplying a feel of something new; without giving too many spoilers there’s a scene where, as the Autobots prepare to leave Earth, there’s a chilling rendition of the anthemic Arrival to Earth, making quite a musical parallel as the previous theme resonated with victorious fanfare, the rendition is filled with melancholy and fear.
The sound and music are expertly done, and have always been in my opinion one of the franchise’s strongest elements, second to the CGI.
I loved this film. The characters act how they should and most actually have development. Sam displays more character development in this film than he ever has, going from a whiney wuss with a chip on his shoulder and then marching into a journey that will finally make him a man, and with quite a bit less screen time as he received in the previous films. Comic relief characters such as Wheelie and Brain are handled with more maturity than Revenge of the Fallen had; there are no humping or testicle jokes in this film!
Megatron shows more character and, at times, is almost a sympathetic villain; he explains his actions, his reasonings and provides legitimacy for his deeds, making him a much more intriguing villain than just “I are mean because I are evil!”
Optimus in finally the hero that we’ve been waiting for, but with a slightly darker element to his character. Optimus, in this movie, is angry and has the persona of a warrior while keeping the noble heart that we all know and love him for. Optimus is betrayed, wronged and shunned by the very people he and his followers have protected. With this comes a darker hero who will do what must be done, but uncharacteristic lines such as “we will kill them all” give fans a half sense of “ohhhh sh*t!” but also a momentary “Optimus wouldn’t say that” moment.
Finally, this film is on a whole a much darker and mature movie-outing. Jokes about the male genitalia are gone and in its place is a very adult story presented with legitimate scenes of urgency and hopelessness. This movie is what Terminator wishes it could have offered… yes I also said that, too. As Chicago becomes the new Decepticon base of operations and people are savagely eliminated by their machine enemies and leave the city as a shattered and desolate wasteland of terror, you know you’re not watching Revenge of the Fallen.
I’m missing a lot of important stuff I know I must be, but for the sake of not making this review 80 pages long I’ll leave you with this: See this movie, it is a very welcome apology for how bad Revenge of the Fallen was and has become, in my opinion, the best movie of the series. If this is Michael Bay’s last hurrah with the Transformers franchise, then thank you Michael for ending this adventure with one hell of a ride.