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Transformers 3: Dark Side of the Moon

November 1, 2011

By John Leavengood

MY CALL:  Great, must-see action sprinkled over two scoops of mediocrity.  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  After seeing the first two of the franchise I’d say tap on the breaks, like Michael Bay should have.  While the action stays up to snuff, the plot and humor just seem to get worse.

I just never found myself invested in the plot.   Essentially, I just watched scene after scene waiting for the next cool action sequence.  And there were plenty of those; just none of the fun (or funny) inter-action scenes that were so delightfully common in part one.

It’s a shame when such superior production value and effects are washed away in a sea of cheap tricks and mediocrity.  Numerous attempts at cute humor feel forced and the general seriousness of the Transformer characters—which had such a strong foundation in the franchise opener—become somehow yet less credible than even Revenge of the Fallen’s goofy, urban-style twins.  The already fantastic shift from vehicle to humanoid robot just doesn’t seem to be enough for the producers as part two featured a puma-shaped Transformer and now part three’s “sandworms” [aka, Decepticon Shockwave], a vulture-bot, and one that even looks like the Predator!  Part one had some, too, but the scorpion Decepticon battle scene was pretty heavy, so I’ll forgive it.  Now these “extra special” Decepticons seem a bit too common.  We don’t need more than one or two new Transformers per sequel.  Tap on the breaks a bit, Bay!

A few flavorful changes were welcomed.  For example, Optimus Prime has adopted a phalanx-fighting style a la Troy’s Brad Pitt or 300’s Gerard Butler.  A nosy Ken Jeong, an OCD John Malkovich and an ever-debonair Patrick Dempsey were also welcomed additions.  The least welcomed: an overly annoying Frances McDormand.

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