Transformers: Dark of the Moon is better than abstinence. I said Transformers 1 was better than sex (look it up on Rotten Tomatoes.) I stand by that, but the sequels are no such thrill. At this point, I’d be willing to tolerate the Transformers movies as long as I don’t have to give up sex in real life, and yes this analogy has gotten away from me.
If this were just a movie about cool robot fights, that would be awesome. That’s not what it is though. The robot fights are only okay at best, and it’s not a lack of plot that’s the problem. There’s TOO MUCH plot. Guys, stop telling Hollywood you want more story in your blockbusters. They don’t get it. They think it just means adding more explanation. Each sequel has a BIGGER plot that overshadows the action by sheer magnitude.
I kind of dig the idea that the space program was really a government mission to investigate a crashed Cybertron ship on the moon. Just leave it at that. Don’t explain how Sam (Shia Labeouf) goes on job interviews making racist comments to Japanese stereotypes. Don’t have Charlotte (Frances McDormand) come in to reign in the Autobots until it’s too late. Don’t have Dylan Gold (Patrick Dempsey) explain… whatever it was he knew about. If it’s only about the robots, why apologize for that by contriving a long convoluted conspiracy plot? Is it guilt?
Of course Michael Bay introduces Sam’s new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) with an ass shot. Sam’s just used to having hot girlfriends now so he just complains about his job prospects and gender dynamics with disparate income levels. One of Sam’s little robot friends (either Brains or the other one) even comments on his last girlfriend, the mean one. Mom actually says, “What a gorgeous box” while a close-up of Huntington-Whitley is on screen. I mean, I’m not reading too much into this, am I? There was a possible hentai scene with Decepticon tentacles threatening her. Missed opportunity there.
There’s really not any action while all of this is going on. A few office machines turn into robots and the Autobots blow through some Iraqi roadblocks, but that’s just busy. It’s not really action. About an hour in there’s an okay freeway chase, but it’s totally derivative of the better freeway chase in Transformers 1 with the bus.
Finally the climactic battle goes on for about 55 minutes. That would be enough for sheer volume, if you’d gotten to it in 45 minutes. 90 minutes in, you’ve already burned that bridge. I still wasn’t engaged like in the first film. The tilted building is okay, like Inception with real world physics. Five minutes into that sequence, we see there are still people in the offices. Were they just trying to finish their work the whole time?
The IMAX does look better in the 2.35:1 ratio than the full frame IMAX sequences of Revenge of the Fallen. The 3-D cameras force it to remain steady. Even handheld shots are careful. But what really looks cool is the trailer to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. With a full IMAX sequence on the Burj Khalifa, that movie looks fantastic!