Rating: 2 stars
Seen 1 time
Seen on: 07/03/2011
Sam Witwicky takes his first tenuous steps into adulthood while remaining a reluctant human ally of Autobot-leader Optimus Prime. The film centers around the space race between the USSR and the USA, suggesting there was a hidden Transformers role in it all that remains one of the planet’s most dangerous secrets.
Rated PG-13 | Length 154 minutes
Stephen Monroe Taylor | Frank Welker | Francesco Quinn | Mark Ryan | Bill O'Reilly | Lester Speight | Buzz Aldrin | Andrew Daly | David Hill | Katherine Sigismund | Derek Miller | George Coe | Keith Szarabajka | Kevin Dunn | Julie White | John DiMaggio | Scott Krinsky | Reno Wilson | Tom Kenny | Jess Harnell | Ron Bottitta | James Remar | John Turturro | Robert Foxworth | Charlie Adler | Glenn Morshower | Peter Cullen | Alan Tudyk | Patrick Dempsey | Rosie Huntington-Whiteley | Leonard Nimoy | Hugo Weaving | Frank Welker | Tyrese Gibson | Josh Duhamel | Frances McDormand | Ken Jeong | John Malkovich | Shia LaBeouf
No one should feel sorry for me, I pretty much knew what I was getting into with this movie. My kids wanted to see it (what kid wouldn’t?) so it was a foregone conclusion that we’d catch this in the theater.
We hit up the 12:15 matinee at our cheap seats theater, which meant we caught the 3D version since it was the first scheduled to play. At $5 a ticket, even for the 3D version, it was a pretty cheap outing (though I think I’d argue that even at $5 it was a waste).
I’d heard decent things about the 3D and I have to say it was well done for what it was. I typically stay away from 3D because I don’t think it adds much, is typically done badly, and is a pathetic attempt by Hollywood to scam more money from our pockets.
My expectations for this were pretty low, though I did go in predisposed to enjoy it rather than not, based on the mixed reactions from critics and other film enthusiasts on Twitter. Personally, I hoped it would be less crude (in both the sexual and drug departments), less misogynistic, less racist and less sweary than TF2, which I was embarrassed to have even taken my kids to. Well, it was less crude at least. Most of the overt sexual and all of the drug stuff that made TF2 so awful for kids didn’t make the cut. It was even less overtly racist (though there was still plenty of subtle racism going on). It was terribly misogynistic though. It’s saying a lot that Megan Fox’s character in the first two TF movies is more of a role model for strong women than Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s character is in Dark of the Moon. She is mere wallpaper, with only a hint of plot vehicle attached.
I wasn’t even offended by that. I was more offended by the way Frances McDormand’s character was treated. The movie flies between treating her like a evil dyke, questioning her sexuality, and an object of crude sexual jokes once any supposed power she wielded had been eviscerated.
McDormand is an example of how to waste a great veteran actor/actress. I do have to admit that John Malkovich and Ken Jeong had great, funny characters. The unfortunate part is everything they did felt like it was a wholly different movie. Neither added much to the movie itself; instead they felt like brief interludes to entertain us while someone prepared the next scene for presentation.
On to Shia LaBeouf. His scrambly, mile-a-minute, confused schtick that actually worked fairly well in the first movie, is just grating here. Even more grating than in TF2. I was actually hoping and praying he’d die any number of times during the movie. After the TF series and Crystal Skull, I have absolutely no desire to see his face on a movie screen ever again.
The problems with LaBeouf’s character are just a glimpse at one of the main issues I have with this movie: lazy, shitty screenwriting. The plot is hackneyed, the dialogue laughable, the characterizations so shallow as to have no depth at all. I could overlook ALL of that if the action were epic.
Unfortunately, another huge issue is the fact that the action scenes were poorly executed. Even the massive spectacle of the attack on Chicago just feels flat and ineffective. Most of the fight scenes are poorly blocked and edited. The segments that ARE done well are handicapped by the crap that precedes and follows it. Any time I started to get into the action, something else just as quickly took me back out of it.
It’s the equivalent of having some awesome fireworks go off about five feet in front of you. You’re too close to actually enjoy the spectacle for what it is. Instead, you’re left with a bad taste in your mouth, ringing ears, and the distinct sense that you’ve been had.
I don’t hate Michael Bay. I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoyed this or any of his other movies. I actually liked Bay’s The Island quite a bit. I say this because it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that I’d hate Dark of the Moon. In fact, I went in thinking I might enjoy it for what it was.
I didn’t. I thought it was a pretty awful movie on almost every count. About the only thing I can say about it is that it was less offensive than Transformers 2. That says a lot.