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Ugh – Transformers: Dark of the Moon

June 30, 2011
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I realize the Transformers aren’t a pure comic book property, but I’m throwing them into my usual mix of comic book movie reviews because they’re close enough. To this day the original Marvel comic is the only one that I ever subscribed to, and it was contemporaneous with the cartoon in terms of initiating me into the mythos. I’ve talked about my nostalgic, rose-colored-glasses love for the property here and here. The Transformers got me into fiction as a wee lad, so I’m doing this one. Come hell or high water.

I was stunned that I liked the first Transformers. Michael Bay’s pubescent sensibilities and the horrid designs for the Transformers themselves were turn-offs, but I had fun with the story. It was a good ride. But its sequel, Revenge of the Fallen, had me wanting to get a knife, walk down to the screen and slice it to shreds. It was the most offensively stupid and scatterbrained thing I had ever seen. The giant, clanging Constructicon nuts were the least of its problems.

I went into Dark of the Moon with that awful mixture of hope and fear. The hopes were dashed and the fears were confirmed. This thing is abominable. Let me tell you why.

  1. Most of the “humor” in the film is aimed at lower primates, but the entire audience in my screening yukked it up like there was no tomorrow, so maybe I’m a stick in the mud. Then again, it seemed that this was a particularly imbecilic crowd, perhaps drawn by the siren-call of a Bay movie. People talked throughout. One guy ACTUALLY ANSWERED HIS CELL AND BEGAN A CONVERSATION AT A NORMAL “TALKING IN YOUR HOUSE WITH NO ONE AROUND” VOICE. Sometimes it seems that we live in a nation of fat, crude, stupid people, and in this case they all crammed themselves into one Arlington cineplex. There wasn’t a lot of noise in the theater coming from clinking Phi Beta Kappa keys, if you catch my drift. Screw Air Marshals, we need Theater Marshals. Heavily armed ones, at that. (Sorry for getting off-topic. I needed to vent.)
  2. Leonard Nimoy voices a Transformer named Sentinel Prime. I thought he’d retired from showbiz. He should have. He adds nothing, and at one point utters one of the most memorable lines in Star Trek lore, crammed into this dung heap of a movie just because. He must be getting feeble-minded, because I can’t believe the man who always carried himself with a great deal of dignity (well, not always) would consent to that. I almost threw up on the head of the guy sitting in front of me when I heard it.
  3. Pete, the head security guard from The Jerry Springer Show, has a cameo in this. And the guy who played Terry Tate, Office Linebacker in those great Super Bowl commercials from almost a decade ago is in it too. Hey, how about that.
  4. Much has been made about the action in Chicago in the last portion of the movie. Yes, shit blows up. A lot. But it gets numbing, and there are far, FAR too many stretches where the Autobots inexplicably disappear. It’s Transformers. Not Sam Witwicky, His Girlfriend’s Hot Ass and Pals.
  5. Apparently Washington, D.C. is a five-minute drive from both Chicago and Cape Canaveral. And it has towering skyscrapers. I’ve lived here for over a decade and I never knew those things. Huh.
  6. Bay and his editors must snort a Scarface level of cocaine when they splice movies together. This one jumps around like an over-excited Daffy Duck. At one point in the Chicago battle, Bumblebee goes from right next to Sam to a Decepticon prisoner in a matter of seconds with no explanation for how he made the transition. It’s maddening.
  7. Yes, the flying squirrel suits are a great gimmick. But there’s really not much reason for their inclusion. The military uses them to get into a surrounded Chicago, but other troops somehow get in, along with Navy SEALs, without their use. It seems they were thrown in “just because.” This movie should have been called Transformers: Just Because. Because that’s what it feels like most of the time.
  8. I’ll give Shia LaBeouf a pass. I really can’t blame him for any of the problems here, as much as I may want to. None of the onscreen talent can be lambasted since they aren’t given much to work with. But poor John Malkovich… Bay must have been holding one of his loved ones hostage. If only the Sam Raimi Spider-Man 4 had been made and he’d been the Vulture, this public shaming, this Hollywood equivalent of being placed in the stocks, might have been avoided.
  9. It would be nice if I could tell one Decepticon from the next. Shockwave is a new big bad, with a pet drill thingy that looks like a Dune sandworm, but I’m not sure when he was killed. The design of the Transformers has been screwed up since day one, with them too busy for the human eye to distinguish and the Decepticons lacking the bright colors that at least the Autobots are blessed with. They all look alike.
  10. I can’t finish without dropping one f-bomb. Here it is. I fucking hated this movie.

Four years ago I was going through a very tough spot in my life. I went to see the first Transformers and I’ll be damned if my spirits weren’t brightened for a couple of hours. Things aren’t so bad now, but this one was so unfathomably terrible it put me down in the dumps for hours afterwards. It’s a waste of time, money and material. There’s a lot of action, but it’s more akin to a deafening bombardment than a thrilling spectacle.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon gets one pair of Devastator balls out of five. Avoid this thing like the bubonic plague.

One Comment leave one →
  1. bluekatt permalink
    November 11, 2012 3:15 am

    it was better then revenge of the fallen

    granted that doesnt say much but it was at least “better” but these movies so far are an embarrasment to the transformers brand and transformers fans

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