Saturday, July 2, 2011

Transformers: 3rd Times the Charm?

I'm one of the biggest Transformers fans there is. That should be stated immediately. However, it made me INSTANTLY more critical of any additions to the franchise than, say, the casual viewer. Thus? I've hated every Transformers movie Director Michael Bay has made. Even calling them "movies" would be a stretch. They were nothing more than 2 and half hour CGI effect stunts w/ loud noises & sexy Megan Fox. Calling them "popcorn flicks" is just a convenient cop-out, giving a pass for being crap ... Suggesting that just because a movie has big action and effects, it's therefore not to be judged harshly for having nothing else. Bullshit.

So I watched Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Was I impressed? Yes. Very much so. Michael Bay said that this film would be different, cuz this time he would focus on "story" ... which is like a Chef, after serving your 1st 2 meals, saying - "Ok. For the next meal I'll actually focus on how the food TASTES." Really?! ... Anyway, Bay HELD to that promise with much of the 1st half of the movie centering around Sam, played by Shia LaBeouf, trying to take to "regular civilian life", after having saved the world twice alongside the Autobots. Things then evolve into an interestingly elaborate plot, hatched by the evil Decepticons, to conquer the Earth and destroy the Autobots, and Sam is forced to join the fight once more.

A lot involved government secrets about the Space Race of the 60's and the U.S. moon landing. You can see the fun they had mixing historical footage of the Apollo 11 shuttle, President Kennedy, etc., with nice cameos such as Buzz Aldrin and Bill O'Reilly as themselves.

Naturally, Michael Bay also did what he does best - HUGE action and explosions. When he started blowing things up, he didn't stop, much to the dismay of Chicago. The 3D was as good as anything else out there right now ... "better", in a lot of cases, and the newest addition - Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, as Sam's girlfriend Carly? Excellent. Ok. She's hot. And I expected her to be just as flat and bringing nothing to the film as Megan Fox did in the 1st 2, but that wasn't the case. She's immediately a better actress and was at the center of the relatively genuine and truly relatable drama that Sam had to deal with throughout.

the rating system:

  • Loved it - one of the best movies I've seen in a long time and worth every cent of the ticket price. I can't state enough how much u need to go see this movie ...

  • Liked it - it was an enjoyable flick for the most part and I'm glad I watched it. Will I run out to buy it when released on video? ... Probably not.

  • Leave it - ranging from the truly forgettable to the "wait a minute ... that didn't make any sense" in the 1st 5 minutes after I leave the theater. Basically - a whole lotta nothin.

  • Loathed it - a movie that literally makes me ANGRY after I exit and for days and weeks after. Angry that I wasted my time and money, and angry that such a piece of shit was ever made and that people actually received payment to do so.

  • The Verdict?

    Liked it.

    It was actually close to "Loved it", with this ranking as one of Michael Bay's best works. But Transformers was always about "Transformers", with "humans" being only a minor part of their story. These movies suffered from making humans far too integral with way too much screen time, but Dark of the Moon finally made some of that time interesting and valid, offering the humans some varying dimensions. Much props to newcomers Frances McDormand as tough as nails Agent Mearing, and Patrick Dempsey as the awesomely slimy Dylan, a qualified rival for Sam.

    The Decepticons never get a chance to shine with their individuality in the movie as they do in the cartoon, making the awesome addition of Shockwave to their ranks, a HUGE waste. However, Leonard Nimoy, as Sentinel Prime, did NOT go unnoticed nor unappreciated. (He was Galvatron in the 1986 animated film)

    TF3 is close to being a great movie, but still falls a bit short and has to settle on just being "pretty good". Still, its one of the better big Summer films this year, and EASILY the Best of the 3 Transformers live action flicks to date.


    1. Great review. Now I will actually go to see it. But I am a HUGE Megan Fox fan (right after she said that she'd eat Zach Efron "like a strawberry cupcake," spiralling poor Vanessa Hudgens into yet another sex-texting scandal) so I was initially disappointed by the recasting. Is there a backstory to why Fox didn't sign on for 3? Was it even offered to her?

    2. Word on the street is that she was initially cast for TF3, but then stories vary as to whether she later WALKED OFF SET or was FIRED after having too many squabbles with and publicly VOICING her disdain for director Michael Bay. But general consensus is that she DID sign on at first, and Huntington-Whiteley was a last minute replacement.