Dark of the Moon (2011)
AKA: Transformers 3 (2011) - Working/ Alternate Title
AKA: Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D (2011) - 3D Title
AKA: Transformers: Dark of the Moon - An IMAX 3D Experience (2011) - 3D Imax Title
AKA: Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (2011) - Working Title
AKA: Robotrickim 3 (2011) - Israeli Hebrew Title
AKA: Transformer: Darkside Moon (2011) - Japan (English) Title
AKA: Transformers 3: El lado oscuro de la Luna (2011) - Spanish Title
(Première Date: June 23, 2011 (Moscow Film Festival - Russia)
(USA Wide Release Date: June 29, 2011)
When the first teaser trailers for Transformers: Dark of the Moon debuted my daughter and I were incredibly excited... for the first several seconds.
See, the teaser kicked off with an implied kick-ass story of a conspiracy surrounding the Apollo 11 moon landing. As soon as the fearless crew's landing site was obscured, the real mission began and we saw possibly the two most famous astronauts of all time moon walking to an alien space craft where the moon dust falls away revealing an unworldly face!
It looked incredible and my daughter and I nodded to each other with a smile, knowing this was our kind of movie. That was until the dread, hated, malignant, malicious words "From Director Michael Bay" were vomited across the screen in a mean-spirited font. We both jerked in our seats and screamed "AW!" in profound disappointment. Still, for just another two seconds we thought, maybe... maybe... maybe... until the words "And Executive Producer Steven Spielberg" also upchucked up on the silver... and we realized with no question that this must be yet another of those repugnant Transformers sequels that make us all wish we were dead once every few years, not to mention soiling the IMDB pages of a number of top tier actors who somehow agreed to "support" the creative dramatic nadir known to humans as Shia LaBeouf!
The most disturbing part of this is that this drain circling turd of a movie was actually warranted because the previous piece of shit film in the series, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen made over 400% of its budget back.
Over 400%, man! By way of comparison, the ultra low-budget classic that has been acclaimed for over forty years, Night of the Living Dead made back 263% of its budget of slightly over a hundred grand... in forty years. One of the worst reviewed films of 2009 made over 400% of its two hundred million dollar budget... in 2009. Holy crap... and it's everyone's fault! Every jackass who bought a ticket... you're all to blame!
Happily, this time I can excuse myself, because, although I reviewed it, I didn't pay to see it... nor did I pay to see this butt-wound of a motion picture. I refuse to. Piss on Michael Bay! PISS... ON... HIM!!!
So you can imagine my surprise when Dark of the Moon (yes, Pink Floyd should sue) started out as pretty damned interesting and engrossing... for about the same percentage of time that the teaser trailer was. After that opening that had so very much potential to be worth, at least, half-a-damn, the vague believability and intrigue of the set-up is immediately lost when credibility is date-raped behind a dumpster.
This logic piss-squirt takes form as yet another erotically beautiful woman, this time named Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), is able to act like she's not only sleeping with nausea-making non-actor "Shia the Cow", but that this is also a palatable experience. Ugh, you should see them kissing... its like he's draped a slice of raw liver over her face. The poor girl! I'm convinced that the only reason she didn't win an Oscar for making this believable is that the Academy refused to allow that golden statue on a Michael Bay Blu-Ray case.
From that point, any potential that Dark of the Moon had is quickly dispensed with as this "film" degenerates into yet another "Giant Robots Hitting Each Other" movie with an offensive story, offensive jokes, insulting characters and virtually NO PLOT whatsoever!
Bay and his goof-ball of a writer, Ehren Kruger construct an idiotic retread of a movie in which no sense is made at all. Basically, the "idea" here (it's not fleshed out enough to call it a "plot" or, really, even a "story"), revolves around that crashed ship proving to be from (who could possibly guess it?) Cybertron and carrying an all-important "Space Bridge" that could have (a butt-load of years ago) turned the tide of the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons! Unfortunately its pilot, Sentinel Prime, is almost as bad a driver as Shia is an actor. Hence its resting place in the ass-crack of the moon.
I'd call that guy a douche, but he's voiced by, no shit, Leonard Nimoy, who should be shown some respect. That is, even though his presence not only digs its heels into his portrayal of Galvatron in 1986's Transformers The Movie, but also slaps Mister Spock across the face as he says "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!"
Yeah, this Bay/ Kruger team is some kind of original, aren't they? Shit, fuck, piss, ass!
As this joke continues and Sentinel Prime is revived, we are distracted from the lack of anything worth watching narrative-wise when Bay and Not-Freddy shock us with the fact that such actors as John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk and Frances McDormand, not to mention the REAL Buzz Aldrin agreed to be in this dipstick. Slightly less surprising are appearances from the likes of Patrick Dempsey, Glen Morshower, the voices of Charles Adler, Robert Foxworth and James Remar and the returning faces of Josh Duhamel, John Turturro and Tyrese Gibson, all of whom should have demanded billing ahead of Shia. Not surprising AT ALL is the rearing of the terrible head of one Bill O'Reilly whose appearance as himself is the most believable thing he's ever done... and one of the more believable things in this cinematic seat-stain. Likewise, Kevin Dunn and Julie White skulk back onscreen as Shia's character Sam's probably humiliated parents, to keep things incredibly annoying and show just where Sam gets it.
Back are Hugo Weaving as Megatron and Cybertronian veterans Peter Cullen as the great Optimus Prime and Frank Welker as... well, just like Welker in most things, he plays a whole slew of characters (each of whom should have been billed higher than Shia)! Their presence is greatly appreciated, but largely wasted!
In case I've yet to make this clear, this movie sucks cat toes. It's like getting an anesthetic-free lobotomy!
The forgettable plot drags on until whatever transforms into the cows in Bay's mind come home. Megatron has been hiding in the desert, dressed up like a Jawa (not kidding - he's literally hanging around the desert wearing a hood). Shia the Cow and his poor girlfriend have been sharing their apartment with two obnoxious little Decepticon-defectors turned Autobots named Wheelie (Tom Kenny) and Brains (Reno Wilson), presumably because the Autobots don't want to have to deal with any of them. If this sounds anything like the travesty of the prior film's "Jetfire" smearing, wait until you see what they did to Wheeljack (AKA: "Que" as played by George Coe). You'll be interested to note that in the years since we've seen that character the poor guy has developed male pattern baldness. That's right, folks, a metal robot from another planet that can transform into anything not only has hair but it's arranged in a bald ring around his head.
Seriously, how can anybody look at that in any context and not come to the conclusion that Michael Bay just might be an asshole?
Some character turns out to be a turncoat, that other character suddenly finds new strength, this different character seems to be dead but isn't, buildings are demolished as an excuse to film CGI-assisted stunts, the long, drawn-out Alien Invasion keeps sputtering along, logic is ignored, money is spent on stupid special effects and all the while Shia's character continually attempts to prove he's tough and that he's been central to the plot all along (clearly because Bay, Kruger and Spielberg know that the audience won't be buying that). He even asks what he has to do to prove that he can help. I'm thinking the answer is that he would have to stop being a complete wuss that has every bit as much business being in a military operation as Yoko had being at a Beatles rehearsal. Not even Bumblebee (still inexplicably without a voice in this one, in spite of the fact that it was previously fixed) wants to hang out with Shia now. Hell, I almost started feeling bad for him.
One of the strangest things about this franchise is how uniform these once-iconic characters have become. Most of the Decepticons look exactly alike and are distinguishable, mostly by voice (if at all). They're all some slim variation on the silver-colored flappy metal that Megatron sports. Starscream (Charlie Adler) sounds vaguely like Starscream, Shockwave (Welker) has one eye, Laserbeak (Keith Szarabajka) is a bird. Just about every other one looks exactly the same with only minor variations. The Autobots, with the exception of Optimus Prime, fair little better. The creators seem to be in a race to see how silly they can make characters look and still carry a weapon.
The CGI itself is fair, but always looks like CGI, never like a convincing robot. Sure, I realize that there are no real Giant Transforming Robots to model this after but this movie cost 195 million dollars! We're allowed to expect a little bit more from a movie that cost that much... just as we are allowed to expect those who made it to give a shit about it and its characters. That doesn't happen. The robots in both Real Steel and Returner are more convincing (and less expensive) than this.
On top of all of this, the film is offensive. No, I don't just mean to fans of the Transformers. I mean this is literally offensive. It's jingoistic and violent in tacky ways that show that even the good guys would be a total shit show to have around. The Autobots, working with the United States Government, actually invade Iran and Russia at different points to "prevent conflict". I'm sure this flick did well with young douche-bag Republicans. I'm surprised none of the robots turned to the camera, winked and said "If you're not with us, you're against us!" Another time the "good guys" allow thousands (at least) of human beings to die horribly to prove a point and get their "I told you so!" moment. Oh goodie!
Virtually every racial stereotype is paraded out in the form of one Autobot or another because, you know, THAT's funny! But, hey, they're just ROBOTs, right? The filmmakers didn't INTEND to put such things in there... we're just PROJECTING. Right, Right, Right, fuck you and open your eyes. The cherry on the top here is the homophobia. I stopped counting the heavy-handed gay jokes right around the time I ran out of fingers to count them on. Bay seems to be repeating over and over and over again "I'm not Gay! I don't even like Gay People and that's FUNNY!" so often that it makes you wonder. Homophobic jackass.
That's the thing, though... Michael Bay, Paramount Pictures and even the slumming Spielberg are making these movies for awkward teen and pre-teen boys. That may make you say "Well duh, that's the target audience!" but, if so, you're missing what I'm saying. Every frame is filled with this intent in such a pandering and obvious way, it's hard to believe that even awkward teen and pre-teen boys didn't throw their hands up and demand to know why they're being patronized. Explosions and collapsing buildings (which stopped being "neat" somewhere around 2001) are laced through this forlorn film to keep its audience starting sentences with "Dude, remember that one cool part when...".
Homophobia, xenophobia and mild racist humor are threaded through every sprocket hole, as if to tell these awkward teenaged and pre-teenaged boys "don't worry, these feelings are normal". To top it all off, the none-too-handsome and incredibly awkward little guy (with the robot for a best friend) that Shia plays not only gets the girl, but gets a girl as awesomely hot as the Victoria's Secret model who plays Carly! She keeps all his secrets, understands him, won't even leave him for "McDreamy" and, the icing on the cake, walks around his palace of an apartment in her tiny little panties.
See what I mean? It couldn't be more obvious if they just came out and said "This could be you, guys! You, too could be travelling the world with giant robots from other planets who understand you, think you're cool and important and will be your friend, even when you're lonely. And you also get to come home to a girlfriend way hotter than that one cheerleader who keeps yelling at you to stop staring at her in homeroom! This... could... be... YOU!"
There are ways to tell such stories without being pandering jokes. They did it in the old Transformers TV series (with lower-quality animation, but on a much smaller budget). Michael Bay doesn't give a shit. Once again, Michael Bay doesn't make movies he makes PRODUCT! He exists to shift units and, for some reason, those pandered-to and insulted audience members just eat it right on up and keep forking over their parents' green to consistently feed Michael Bay's crap machine... to the tune of, so far, over one BILLION dollars. Let me sharpen that point for you... this film didn't just make over ONE BILLION DOLLARS... it is actually only sixty million dollars short of having made ONE BILLION DOLLARS over its budget. Yes, folks, those are numbers high enough to append "Only" to the front of "Sixty Million Dollars".
Yes, Yes, I realize, you've got to give the people what they want... but the question is... why do they want THIS? Mostly because the advertising told them they had to... and it delivered its highlighted goods to feed its advertising and put butts in those seats. There's a name for that kind of movie... it's called an exploitation film. Good job, Bay of Piss!
One last bitter remark about this flaccid flick... not even the biggest plot points are even vaguely original. Virtually the entire film is lifted wholesale from the original 1984 Transformers TV series. The "Space Bridge" plot-line (and its distasteful aftermath) is taken from the first season three-parter "The Ultimate Doom" and the whole Autobot exodus and "told you so" story is from the two part second season episode "Megatron's Master Plan". There was nothing original in this screenplay except the offensive additions and the almost-promising moon plot. But isn't that actually a GOOD thing, oh mister World's Greatest Critic? Isn't it fantastic that this silly series is finally paying tribute to its source material? It is, in fact, TOO good, because the plot of those five episodes (which, put together, would make a respectable feature-length movie) is better, smarter, less convoluted, easier to follow and more believable than the tripe we're forced to swallow here.
That's right, folks... five episodes of a limited-animation series of commercial tie-in cartoons designed to sell toys from almost thirty years ago have this nearly 200 million dollar blockbuster beat in almost every way. That's not a good thing, Homer.
That's the thing, though... Michael Bay just doesn't care because the fans keep paying him, thus Paramount doesn't care. The question is... why not? If you can make over a BILLION DOLLARS by phoning it in, why not actually make a decent, watchable film with developed characters, intelligence, heart, soul and logic... and maybe a lot less Shia the Cow? Why CHOOSE to make Transformers: Dark of the Moon such a shitty movie and waste the storytelling potential that, admittedly, (parts of) it had? The best I can figure is that either there is simply no incentive to make anything worth watching because Paramount can make a cool Billion with no effort or the makers of the film, led by Bay, have challenged themselves to make the worst movies they can with large budgets to show the world the dichotomy between what the critics want to see and what the moviegoing public will pay for.
It's an insult to our collective intelligence and the nicest thing I can come up with to say about this movie is that it doesn't suck nearly as bad as the collapsing black hole that was Revenge of the Fallen. And, look, just because I'm giving this third Transformers film a whopping Two Stars out of Five does not mean that I'm not saying "Fuck Michael Bay!" I say "FUCK HIM GENTLY WITH A CHAINSAW!" Nobody should pay to see this repulsive crap, especially when you know he could have made a much better film. Spielberg should have DEMANDED a much better film, as should the audience have... but nobody cares. It made a billion dollars. Fuck them all. Crap like this only paves the way for more crap. Next up in the violation pipeline from Hasbro is fucking Battleship, while just around the corner Bay has big plans to take a big, giant, steaming dump all over the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their legacy! Why? Because they're total dicks who deserve to be prevented from ever even SEEING another movie, much less making one. Until that wet dream comes true I'll see you in the next reel!
reviewed by J.C. Maek III
Who once made a better movie than this on a VHS Camcorder,
is solely responsible for the content of this site and is, unlike Michael Bay, not a dick.
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