At long last, we’re back with another review of Michael Bay’s Transformers series. Next is Dark of the Moon, the third, and at the time I presumed was supposed to be Bay’s last, to cap this off as a trilogy. Yeah, obviously that never happened, as there are two more, plus a spinoff to go after this. (Plus the new one that’s expected to be released next year.) Also it was the second highest-grossing movie of 2011, after the final Harry Potter movie and billion plus dollars we sent to Paramount told them we want more Transformer movies!
So how does Transformers: Dark of the Moon stack up? Well, I don’t like this title. Call it Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon, or something similar to that, because this title grammatically annoys me. Anyway, as prefer tradition, the movie starts with an opening monologue from the murderous mad-lad, Optimus Prime. We learn the real reason we send astronauts to The Moon is because a Transformer ship crash landed there. Sounds intriguing, but I guarantee you that in an hour’s time you’re going to have about ten knots in your brain, because you’re watching a Transformers movie, and its plot has to be complicated and confusing. It’s also a movie that kind of asks you to forget what happened in the last two movies. John Turturro and his government team had been set up to know all the history of Transformers being on Earth, until this film where apparently they didn’t even know that there were also Transformers on The Moon. The AllSpark is completely redundant, as the matrix key from the last film has fulfilled its place as the magical resurrection device. It was never mentioned, but apparently both Optimus and Megatron had put all their bets on the new Transformer, Sentinel Prime, and his last hope ship of pillars to bring an end to the war. (I also was more fascinated by the fact that the Transformers pilot actual ships.) The biggest one of them all is Megan Fox is gone and is replaced with another overtly attractive girlfriend for Sam. I’m aware of the drama between Fox and Bay, which caused her exit, but her absence leaves a huge stain on this new relationship. It doesn’t feel genuine as Sam ‘s relationship with this new girl is a re-tread of his one with Megan Fox in the last movie. I would have ditched the girlfriend if we couldn’t have Megan Fox, especially if it was meant to be the last movie, but I guess Michael Bay still wanted a sexy lady stand-in, just so we had something interesting to look at when there aren’t any Transformers around.
Sam Witwicky feels pretty pointless himself. Despite saving the world twice from killer robots, with no military training whatsoever, Sam Witwicky is still the most punchable loser in fiction. He can’t get a job, not even a military paid position apparently. He’s still lectured by his agro parents, that even I have started to become sick of. He’s also bossed around by his new girlfriend and his robot refugee roommates. His new girlfriend also makes more money than him, her boss, Patrick Dempsey pampers her with sports cars, among other things and Sam himself admits that’s she is literally too hot for him to handle. Sam really doesn’t do anything of note until he’s sexually harassed by Ken Jeong in the toilet stall, and his boss played by John Malkovich thinks he’s a closeted homosexual, despite 15 minutes earlier being introduced to his supermodel girlfriend. Uncomfortable bad humour stuff aside the point of that is so Sam can learn that NASA worked with the Decepticons, and that the good guys are giving them exactly what they want. That’s how Sam meets up with the military plot, and pretty much from this point onwards Sam is completely redundant. As if we’ve already stated he has no military experience, besides surviving two killer robot attacks and there is no drive in the plot that Sam needs to be involved in the action unlike in the last two films. He’s literally only here because he’s the main character and the only one of note, out of an entire cast of boring military people. The only point of introducing humans working for Decepticons is so Sam had a purpose in this movie, which is to beat up Patrick Dempsey, for kidnapping his high maintenance girlfriend.
Just like the last two films we have three plots going on. The Sam stuff, the still ever so boring military stuff and the Decepticons being sneaky bad guys. Optimus Prime spends the first half of the movie having a spitting match with Frances McDormand, and fanboying over Sentinel Prime, his own Fallen like leader, that no one felt like bringing up until now. The point of all this is Optimus can get butt hurt that his idol, dear old Sentinel Prime, has been secretly working with Megatron this entire time. On the dark side of the moon (I didn’t think that was actually a place) there have been Decepticons waiting to teleport on to Earth so they can place Sentinel’s MacGuffin pillars all over the planet so they can bring their home planet, Cybertron to Earth and merge them. There is like a 100 of these pillars, but don’t worry Sentinel made one of them blink red, which controls the other 99, which saves the good guys time on which one they need to blow up, in the finale. Speaking of which the finale is so amazing, because that’s the only time where you can finally stop paying attention to the story, and just soak up all those visuals. For most of it we’re following Sam and friends trying to get to a good vantage point in order to shoot the red blinking pillar. It’s really stupid that apparently the only good spot, in the whole city to the shoot the pillar is in a tower that is quite literally ready to fall on the entirety of Chicago. The point of it is to create an action scene where they’re sliding down the building, which is fun like the rest of this last half hour, but just so you know there are other dumb character decisions like that throughout this half. Like the last Transformer movie it’s really violent, maybe more so in this as it has visible people getting disintegrated by giant robots, which I never noticed until this watch. No blood of course, that’s saved for the robots, and wow is it graphic, but still glorious. The most notable would be the last 10 minutes of the movie where Optimus Prime completes his three movie character arc of becoming an unstoppable murderous psychopath, who completely wastes his enemies, by hacking them into robot pieces. How he kills the main bad guys is probably the darkest conclusion you could think of for at the time a trilogy of movies. First he backstabs and beheads Megatron, just after he turned on his own boss and then Optimus takes all the credit by executing Sentinel Prime himself, with zero remorse of course. Don’t worry Optimus is still praised as a hero afterwards even after brutally ending his adversaries. Not that I’m complaining too much, as Optimus is my favourite character in these movies after all, it’s just the jarring shift in tone is pretty damn funny.
I don’t really have much to add in regards to thoughts on this one. I got the impression this movie enjoyed bragging about that they got Leonard Nimoy to play Sentinel Prime as there are four different Star Trek references in this movie, two of which are about Spock. No performance really stuck out to me besides the ones I have mentioned in previous posts and some of the new big names they got for this movie such as Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. Like the other Transformers movies the plot is what kills the most enjoyment, with the only ironic saving grace being the cringey jokes and the only unironic grace being the action and Optimus Prime embracing his violent roots. That’ll be it for now, and we’ll meet again when I get around to reviewing Transformers 4, which if my memory serves me well, that one might be a slog.