Transformers: More than meets the eye! Remember when that phrase actually held true? I can’t help but sing that little ditty in my head whenever I hear something about Transformers. Unfortunately, instead of meaning cool toys that turn into something else, that word has become synonymous with big explosions, hot chicks, plot-less drivel and Shia LaBeouf.
To say I was hesitant about seeing the latest installment of Michael Bay’s bloated franchise is an understatement. I wasn’t just hesitant, I was straight up gun-shy about it. I saw the previews and physically flinched because my loathing for the second film runs deeper than the mines of Moria. My cup runneth over with contempt and I just didn’t think I’d be able to get past it. The fact that you’re reading a review shows that I sucked it up, and went anyway. I had severe reservations about it, but I decided I’d just go and get it over with. I was adamant about NOT paying 3D prices however. I saw it in 2D instead.
In case you need the recap, here’s the incredibly efficient, brief synopsis from IMDb:
“The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.”
That about sums it up. Oh wait….Sam has graduated from college, been dumped by Mikaela, has hooked up with new hottie, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) and is currently looking for a job. The Autobots are still working with the military going on missions here and there. Until they learn about the spaceship on the moon, then all hell breaks loose.
That’s pretty much all you need to know, because that’s about the extent of the actual plot. The rest is filler. Sam’s parents are back again, but I’m not sure why. Perhaps just to make an appearance? John Turturro is back along with Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. Surprisingly this film also stars Patrick Dempsey, Francis McDormand, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong. I expect all of the characters from the previous two films to make an appearance, but these others….I was a bit blown away by. Since a gigantic question mark seems to be the common denominator with this film, actually this franchise, I just decided to go with it. It seems to work best when you don’t ask questions.
I had a grim outlook for this one even before I stepped foot in the theater so the bar wasn’t just set low, it was pretty much non-existent. In that respect I walked out feeling somewhat entertained. Was it good? No. Do you get what you pay for? Yes. One doesn’t simply walk into a Transformers film expecting clarity on the human condition. People go into these films expecting to see big ass robots blow shit up. That’s exactly what you get. Michael Bay takes explosions to a whole new level. It takes talent to push the actors and CG robots aside and have them all play second fiddle to the film’s true star, because that’s what the explosions really are.
The first thought I had, and I even voiced this to my friend that I went with, was that the beginning looked just like a Victoria’s Secret commercial. I guess that comes from the fact that A) Bay filmed one and B) Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a VS model. And speaking of…..when it was made public that Megan Fox wouldn’t be returning, everyone was wondering who was going to take her place. The first trailer and stills that were released didn’t do much to instill a lot of faith in Bay’s casting choice. I will give the girl credit though because I though she was somewhat decent. She didn’t rake my last nerve which is a good thing. She’s a whole lot better than a sharp stick in the eye…..and she’s also better than watching the dreadful twin Transformers from the second film. Thankfully they were absent this time around. I’m getting way off point here I know.
Back to the film at hand. Basically TF3 is a gigantic ball of gas. Once the explosions stop and the fuel burns out, there isn’t much to hold it together. The story is predictable to say the least. Decepticons cause trouble with the help of the human bad guy. The Autobots take care of business. The military is involved. Sam gets in the middle of things and finds himself and his girlfriend in peril. The one positive thing is that Optimus Prime is still a badass. I did like the addition of Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime. His voice is very distinctive much like Peter Cullen’s.
For a film that runs a solid 2.5 hours, I didn’t feel like I got my money’s worth as far as the Autobots go. Sure there was quite a bit of Optimus, but the rest just kind of flittered in and out of scenes. Ironhide has always been one of my favorites and I didn’t see too much of him. Same with Ratchet. Bumblebee had a bit more screen time, but it didn’t feel like the first one. I would actually just like to see a Transformers movie with JUST Transformers. Get the human element out of there since they’re really all just kind of irritating. Especially Sam this time around. His awkward-ness was somewhat endearing in the previous films but in TF3 he’s straight up grating. He whines and bitches about not being able to find a job even though he’s saved the world not once, but twice, and he’s jealous of Carly’s rich boss (Dempsey). There was a lot of sighing going on. Not from the characters but from me.
The final hour of the film focused on the big massive showdown between the humans and Autobots and the Decepticons. All of this takes place in Chicago. Why? No clue. No other portion of the franchise had anything to do with Chicago. Perhaps Bay & Co. felt that Los Angeles has been destroyed plenty already and since he annihilated the pyramids in the last film, Chi-town was the only logical choice. Regardless the reason, Chicago has now been Bay-tised and the destruction is, of course, ridiculous.
This review makes it sound like I hated this film. I didn’t. I was entertained once I decided to ignore the crap dialogue, wooden acting and transparent storyline. The effects are impressive, but that’s not really ever an issue for a Michael Bay film is it? I do have one warning. This is by no means a bladder friendly film. Like I mentioned it’s a solid 2.5 hours and you can feel pretty much every minute. This film would have benefitted by shaving off about 25 minutes of supurfolous fluff. In the end, if you know what you’re going to get before you walk into the theater, you may not be disappointed by this film. It’s really a gigantic gas-bag that is only interesting when a comes in contact with an open flame.
Still debating? Check out the overly dramatic trailer below.Tags: Autobots, Bumblebee, Decepticons, Ironhide, John Malkovich, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Ken Jeong, Leonard Nimoy, Michael Bay, Optimus Prime, Patrick Dempsey, Peter Cullen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeof, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Tyrese Gibson