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Review: Transformers (3) Dark of the Moon – Depressing

When you are making a movie about giant alien robots, make a movie about the damn giant alien robots, and not about human histrionics, teenage angst and love life crises! Leave those to drama movie makers. As with all sequels, the movie lost track of it’s core plot and characters. I had hoped against hope that part 3 would show more of Transformers and less of bullshit, but I was mistaken. Yes, the technicalities, 3D and Special Effects are undoubtedly spectacular, but in all, Transformers 3 is a frighteningly loud, flashy, fiery, bloated mess of 2 and a half hours of emptiness.

Directed By: Micheal Bay
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Adaptation
Release date: 29 June 2011
Running Time: 2 hours, 37 minutes
Produced by: Steven Spielberg and others
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Budget: $225 million
Gross Revenue: $418 million

Why you should watch it

  • You watched the other two
  • 3D, Special Effects
  • A little of Transformers action
  • A couple of twists

Why you should not watch it

  • Bloated script
  • Too long and winded out story
  • Less robots and more humans
  • Inconsistent and confusing plot
  • You will be disappointed if you are a traditional Transformers fan

Ratings given by:

Metacritic: 42/100 Rotten Tomatoes: 37%  IMDB: 6.8/10

My Rating – ♥♥ 1/2 out of 5


STORYLINE (Not Many Spoilers)

The movie begins with scenes of the Autobot – Decepticon civil war on planet Cybertron with Optimus Prime filling us in on the details. An Autobot ship named the Ark tries to escape Cybertron with a cargo that would help Autobots win the war but is attacked by the Decepticons and is left severely damaged, hurtling through space. Centuries later, the ship crash lands on our Moon and NASA detects it. In 1962, then president John F Kennedy commissions the moon landing mission as a coverup to find what had crashed on the moon. The astronauts find the Ark and the remaining moon missions were salvage missions to transport parts of the ship back to Earth. Cut to today, the Autobots are working to thwart terrorism and to prevent humans from destroying themselves. On a mission to Chernobyl, they find a fuel cell which Optimus recognizes as a part of the Ark, and commissions a mission to the Moon where they uncover the Ark, its secret cargo and a long lost Autobot leader which will change everything.

Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia La Beouf), now long removed from the Transformers and their operations, lands a job as an intra-office mail boy. He now has a new (British) girlfriend Carly after Mikaela Banes dumps him. A co-worker in his office (Ken Jeong) discovers his past and warns him about “the Dark of the Moon” and gives him some papers before he is killed by Laserbeak. Sam finds that people who were associated with the Russian and American space programs are being systematically murdered by Decepticons. He contacts Seymour Simmons and tries to alert the Autobots. Simmons gets some old moon photos from Russian cosmonauts which makes him and Sam realize that the Autobots and humans are being lured into a trap by the Decepticons. But that realization came a little too late…

WTF? My Thoughts Exactly.

I Want to See Them Robots!

Thanks to “foreign” VHS tapes and the introduction of cable TV of the late 90s, I grew up with the Transformers. But the movie franchise saw the mangling of my childhood heroes, the Transformers becoming unrecognizable and looking more like junkyard accidents than the classic robots. (That was corrected to an extent here) Micheal Bay no doubt makes fantastic action movies with spectacular effects, but has no clue about things like scripts and sticking to tradition. As a Transformers fan, the movie was a huge letdown. The entire movie irritatingly revolves around Shia LaBeouf and as Charlie Jane Anders mentions on io9, “The whole film is about how people do not appreciate Shia LaBeouf’s character, even though he saved the world twice.”

Rightly said, almost an hour of the movie is wasted on inconsequential things like Sam Witwicky’s frustrations on finding a job, his fights with Carly, jealousy towards her boss and not to mention the total unnecessary appearance of his parents. Also included are the obligatory military infighting and a new “liaison”. The Transformers when shown spend most of their time driving around and transforming back and forth, which is awesome. But most of the action scenes are blurry, bloated, too fast and confusing. The final battle, though visually spectacular is a total train wreck when it comes to making any sense. The humans do most of the fighting with oodles of time dedicated to show Sam, Epps, Lennox and team climbing up, falling down, slipping and sliding through crashing buildings and shouting and screaming. The Transformers, whenever they are shown are just standing around or driving around shooting at random objects. A lot of new Autobots and Decepticons make their appearance, but none are introduced or given decent screen time, and unlike the last two parts, there is no camaraderie between the Autobots. However, all scenes involving Optimus Prime were spellbinding.

The Real Autobots.

The plot is as think as water in a balloon full of holes.

Megatron and Starscream have almost nothing to do in the movie. Many scenes seem to be shot separately without a script and then randomly combined. Examples are Megatron’s intro scene in the desert where he “cultivates” young Decepticons, Decepticons teleported from the moon randomly attacking police cars at (only) one intersection in DC, the appearance of Sam’s parents, Sentinel Prime destroying aircraft parked inside the Autobot hangar, Meetings between Witwicky and Learning, the “watch” Decepticon, and almost all scenes of the final battle. One minute Bumblebee saves Lennox and Sam from being crushed under Starscream, the next he and other Autobots are shown being captured by Soundwave and others. However, what is totally unexplained is the Decepticons and their weaponry and ships buried on the moon, waiting to be teleported to Earth. Who buried them there? And if they can be transported millions of light years from Cybertron to the Moon, why not to the Earth? It is like flying from Mumbai to Los Angeles and then waiting indefinitely at the airport for a cab to drive up to you! And don’t even talk about the girl going up to Megatron and convincing him to team up against Sentinel with a few words. Megatron is NOT stupid.

John Turturro as Agent Seymour Simmons comes across as one of the few saving graces of the movie. Shia LaBeouf has almost become comical and irritating at times. But the most unwanted prop in the movie was the girl. For what the hell does a Transformers movie need a dumb blonde? Anyway she made us realize how much more we miss Megan Fox. The remaining of the cast were all too unremarkable with not having much to do other than talking tough, screaming etc. John Malkovich is wasted in his role as well.

BEST SCENE: The highway fight-chase sequence, where Bumblebee saves Sam.

WORST SCENE: Can’t say here, would be a plot spoiler.

ENDING: Ended all too abruptly after the final battle, the worst ending among all Transformers movies.

SEQUEL THREAT: Yes, there is going to be a Transformers 4. And thank heavens, Shia LaBeouf will not be in it, neither will Micheal Bay direct it. That is some relief. Hopefully whoever comes in will do a better job.

I felt depressed after watching the movie with all it’s mindless carnage, death and destruction. Guess that was the idea, after all.

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Ebin V

Good work.. vadakkkus

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