June 30, 2011, - 1:20 am

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Review

By Debbie Schlussel

As longtime readers might remember, I absolutely hated the second Transformers movie, “Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen” (read my review).  And it wasn’t just ‘cuz Israel was wiped off the map, as was the Middle East’s greatest air force (and along with the USAF, the world’s greatest), the Israeli Air Force.  It was because the movie was preposterous, with little story.  And it was simply waaay tooo looong. Well, “Transformers:  Dark of the Moon” is far better than the second installment.  But it’s still a mess.  And 2 hours, 40 minutes?  Come on, Michael Bay.  Learn some editing skills.  Still waaay toooo loooong.

I also question the use of multiple four-letter words, sexual innuendos, and a chick’s butt shots in a movie based on a kids’ cartoon (and toy) and aimed at kids, complete with multiple movie tie-in toys.  (They pulled this foul-mouthed, vulgar crap in the second Transformers flick, too, and I raised the same issue then.)  I mean, really, you feature a dialogue about a sex book, “She Comes First,” and show a vaginal-like fruit on the cover, in a movie like this?  Mommy, Mommy, I want that book with the nice open papaya with black seeds on it. She Comes First, Daddy. Even worse, the dialogue is between main character Sam (Shia LeBeouf) and his mother.  Not just icky.  Creepy.

That said, I loved the special effects, especially the stuff in the last part of the movie, in which a building keeps falling and splitting and the main characters try to hang on.  Very cool in a post- “Inception” (read my review) kinda way.  And, as we know, the special effects are the only reason people go to see this thing.  It was in 3-D, which is something of a headache, after more than two hours.

As for the story, well, I wasn’t completely sure what was going on, until it became clear that it was a new fight between the decepticons and the good transformers, the autobots.  But it started out with something about the various moon landings and  how when we landed on the moon, we saw an old transformer ship that crashed on the moon.  Also, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and even (sadly) Barack Obama make their cameos.  It’s interesting that this is the second movie–and second movie sequel–this summer to weave footage of JFK and history into the movie (the first being “X-Men: First Class” – read my review).  The various incarnations of landing on the moon and the U.S. space program play a role in the storyline because in modern day, apparently the reason the space program has been ruined is that humans working for the decepticons made it too expensive to afford advancements in space.  Well, I give it an “A” for inventiveness, but a “C-” for delivery.

Like I said, there wasn’t much of a story.  But, basically, Sam (LeBeouf) is dating and living with a Victoria’s Secret model (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) who works for a champion auto racer (Patrick Dempsey).  Sam is jealous . . . and unemployed.  He gets a job at a NASA contractor, and is suddenly back to helping his transformer friends stave off the decepticons who are trying to colonize earth and enslave humans.

I found most of the movie dull and kinda silly, until the last, very prolonged scenes of great special effects with American soldiers fighting machines from other planets.  And a lot of it seemed like rehashes of the first couple of movies fights between the various parties.  But it had its moments, like an appearance by real-life astronaut Buzz Aldrin.  Love him.

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Watch the trailer . . .

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24 Responses

Phew! Glad it got at least a partial Ray-gun.

DS_ROCKS! on June 30, 2011 at 1:30 am

Refuse to see this movie and I never saw the 2nd one ether, because after seeing the first film (looking for a review from you), michael bay in my opinion ruined this franchise.

Squirrel3D on June 30, 2011 at 1:51 am

I never got into the whole “Transformers” franchise mainly because it was one big cheesy cash-grab aimed at young (and maybe old) impressionable minds to buy cheap mass-produced crap sold at hyper-inflated prices.

In Medieval times, this would be viewed as usury.

As for special effects, they are meant to be used as part of the process of suspending disbelief. I hated “Avatar” (“Titanic” with Gungans, baby), but at least the special effects suspended my disbelief and incredulity. Yet I’m still hoping for a piece of some unobtainium action.

If I want soulless entertainment with massive special effects, I’d rather watch porn. At least these special effects involve people.

On that note… TORRENT!

And Happy Canada (aka DOMINION) Day to my fellow Canadian commiserants! (I think I just made up a new word here. Or did I?)

The Reverend Jacques on June 30, 2011 at 2:49 am

Would not waste my time seeing any of the movies made today. Pure trash.

Just watched a movie made in the early 50’s with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell. Class movie. Great story, no profanity and beautiful people.

Fred on June 30, 2011 at 4:29 am

Not to mention that, in this picture as in many films these days, there are basically two color schemes that have come under greater scrutiny (and deserved criticism): orange and teal blue. So the color is as limited as the imagination (if you could call it that) of those working in Hollywood as it stands today.

ConcernedPatriot on June 30, 2011 at 5:35 am

Maybe Michael Bay went to the Kevin Costner School of Film Editing. But then again he kept HIS movie under 3 hours so he probably got expelled from Costner’s school.

Sean M. on June 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

I haven’t enjoyed a Michael Bay movie since Armageddon – perhaps my favorite disaster movie ever. Yeah, I know it’s scientifically flawed. (NASA has identified some 168 issues.) Even cliche as the army drones enter the control room. But so what, it’s a lot of fun and has some great moments. Very patriotic too – American grit, common man heroes, US leadership saving the world.

Transformers? Even the first movie was juvenile.

Raymond in DC on June 30, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Michael Bay’s “Armageddon” is in the genre of great disaster movies. I hugely enjoyed it. The ending with Bruce Willis giving his life to the save the world is what you’d expect of the selfless hero. I don’t think they make movies like that any more.

    NormanF on June 30, 2011 at 11:10 am

      For the record, “Armageddon” was the only Michael Bay movie I ever saw. This is because after viewing it, I vowed never to see another one. The line that still sticks in my head after all these years is Billy Bob Thornton’s:

      “It’s As Big As Texas Sir!”

      Then later, when they finally do land on the asteroid, it appears to be (at best) about the size of an average city block. I have a theory that if Ed Wood had ever gotten a hold of a hundred million dollars, he probably would’ve created something that resembles a Michael Bay film, only with slightly more continuity in the dialog.

      Irving on June 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Transformers? Even the first movie was juvenile.

Let’s face it, the whole premise going back to the cheesy 80s cartoon series was retarded. It was a gimmick to sell cheap Japanese crap toys to grade schoolers. The whole thing should have ended at being parodied on The Family Guy and Robot Chicken.

Polichinello on June 30, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Polichinello, you mean Bayformers? It may look like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObMElJJM31g

    pats on June 30, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Japanese crap toys? There were a lot of knock-offs at the time, but Transformers themselves were not crap toys unless all toys are crap. IIRC, they weren’t “cheap” at least in terms of pricing either.

    Yeah, the 80’s cartoon was essentially a commercial, as were all cartoons based on toys.

    Craptimus Prime on June 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I don’t see Michael Bay movies. I like “BOOM!!” action movies, but his are just…I dunno…just too sissyfied.

Plus, I don’t care for Shea LaPoof (yeah, I spelled it correct). I’ve never understood the appeal, he looks like a girly man.

I don’t watch movies based on toys.

The only reason I’d watch is for the hot chick. Glad to know they got rid of the vastly overrated Megan Fox.

I guess what I’m saying, I won’t watch this movie. I’m waiting on Luc Besson to put out another action movie.

Jeff_W on June 30, 2011 at 10:07 am

I enjoyed the first “Transformers” (2007) and never got a chance to see the second (2009). I think I’ll give this one a spin — the trailer, especially the back story, looked fantastic.

Michael Bay doesn’t care about bad reviews. He’s gotten more of them, in fact, than any other filmmaker. He makes his movies his way, on time and on budget. They’re meant to be intense, escapist fun. He’s a pure summer-season director. Take it or leave it.

An aside: Lighten up, Fred. There’s plenty of fine recent cinema out there, domestic and foreign, if you give it half a chance.

Seek on June 30, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I’ll give Bay and the producers that. No waiting 3+ years for a sequel like other franchises.

    The sex and drug stuff is a bit offensive, though. Masturbation talk in the first film…I recell noting this and adult fans “movie was aimed at kids, anyway, but Gen Xers”. BULL! It was definately made to appeal to kids as well as older fans. If I were a parent, I’d hate to have explain certain scenes to youngsters.

    Shackwave on June 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I cant possibly watch Shia stumble his way through a movie. He is as convincing of a manly sex symbol as Justin Long is. Why do they keep trying to make these dorky kids into “The Leading Man”?

Forsberg on June 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Let’s not forget one thing, Speilberg says Bay has “storytelling skills” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e9TnfnkRFs&feature=player_embedded [starts at 1:23]).Someone needs to tell him he needs to watch just one movie that Bay has directed BEFORE he speaks of which he does not know. Maybe someone should have kept him from directing anything more that what he started with : Playboy vids.

pats on June 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm

When I saw the second Transformers film, I immediately thought … well, if Obama is running things much longer (he’s in the film, which takes BIG shots at his sorry excuse of a foreign policy), then Israel’s borders may disappear.

To me, Israel not being in the second film was the greatest criticism of Muslim in the White House I have ever seen in popular entertainment.

Vince on July 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

This was a fun movie and far, far better than the excruciatingly boring Transformers 2.

Besides the eye-popping special effects, I enjoyed having Malcovich, Jeong, McDormand and Dempsy play roles in the film. They all added interest even if the humor was a little obvious for the most part.

There were several delicious jabs taken at liberals. My favorite one was when McDormand kept insisting that she not be called “ma’am.” “Why, not, aren’t you a woman?” came the retort finally. This was a poke at Barbara Boxer who made a fool of herself at a Senate hearing when she got so irritated by being called “ma’am” by General Walsh as if it were some kind of malicious insult.

There were several references in the film to “fighting the war for freedom!” Actually, I thought the fight was over the human race surviving, but I’m glad “freedom” was mentioned anyway.

I also think it’s telling to see a cameo with Bill O’Reilly rather than, say, Jon Stewart or Bill Maher (who are used in films with a liberal tilt).

Well, the reactions are in. 90% of viewers love the film; only 35% of critics approve of it, though. Maybe Michael Bay doesn’t care that much what liberals think or something.

Burke on July 2, 2011 at 1:48 am

God you are pathetic Schussel.

TYT horde Vengeance on July 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Michelle – is that you?

DS_ROCKS! on July 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm

good points but you need to get laid…….bad

Russ on October 7, 2011 at 3:53 am

This was absolutely the greatest movie I’ve ever seen. The story exactly mirrored World War II. Think of Sentinel as Hitler, the Deceptions as the Muslims, and the Autobots as the Jews. It’s a perfect fit down to the smallest of details.

Gentleman on October 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm

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