I did not like Transformers 2. No sir, I did not. I’m gonna be up front: you’re not reading this review to make up your mind regarding the third outing by Michael Bay into the wild frontier of licensed morphing mechanical toys. You’ve already made that decision. At this point, I’m only here to reinforce your opinion either way in an articulate and amusing manner. So here it goes: is Dark Of The Moon better than the second film? Yes. Is it a good film? No.
The apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree in this $195m bundle of steamy transforming porn. Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) hero of the first two films, is stuck without a job while attached to a lovely new girlfriend, the British blondshell Carly (Huntington-Whiteley, brought in to take the place of Megan Fox). The first act of the film involves the investigation of some crazy ship that crash landed on the moon in the early 60s, spurring the Space Race between America and the Soviet Union. It’s these sequences designed to take place during the Kennedy era that are the worst. Their attempts to paste President Kennedy’s face (and later, Obama) onto an actor are dreadful, as is the abrupt cutting between archival mission control footage and the stuff shot specifically for the film. While all that is happening, the movie cuts back to a whiny-ass Witwicky, like a commercial about going back to college just popped up on the TV, complete with cheesy radio pop lining as a soundtrack. It’s not nearly as bad as the opening of Revenge of the Fallen where his mom got high and started going around the school making a fool of herself, but it’s bizarre.
All the humor feels forced and cheesy, minus cameos by Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Community) and Alan Tudyk as John Turturro’s new assistant. Coen brothers regulars John Malkovich and Frances MacDormand are missed opportunities, as is most of the embarrassment of riches this film enjoys. Using the opening bars of Linkin Park’s “Iridescent” as the ’emotional’ theme of the film is tacky. As the film advances, we meet a resurrected Sentinel Prime, voiced by Leonard Nimoy, who later tests our patience with the use of a vital line from the Trek universe. There’s something in the story about a something something bridge whatever. Also, McDreamy’s in here. The last hour of the film is an exhausting and ultimately boring siege of Chicago which, like Revenge of the Fallen, resolves in the last ten minutes of the film after a nearly three hour run time. Set pieces, the tipping building in particular, drag far beyond their novelty. If you could take the special effects-powered climax of every action film since the previous film released and put it into one film, Dark of the Moon would be it, but the superficial script that ties it all together is so contrived and workmanlike that it can’t carry the load. This isn’t even dumb fun, it’s just dumb.