A transformation of expectations

July 3, 2011, 12:13 p.m. | By Richard Chen | 12 years, 10 months ago

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is a mixed-bag, but is ultimately a must-see

It would not be surprising if "Transformers: Dark of the Moon” wins both an Academy Award and a Razzie. As a movie, it is littered with plot holes and fails to have any character development. However, as a summer blockbuster, it is a flick packed with some of the greatest action sequences and CGI effects to date. "Transformers 3” just needs to be watched with the right expectations and attitude; viewers should not expect it to be a cinema masterpiece that will go down in history, but should expect it to captivate them with its spectacular special effects.

The movie starts off in 1961, with an ancient Cybertronian spacecraft escaping the war on Cybertron. Piloting it is Sentinel Prime, the leader of the Autobots, who plans on using a secret weapon called "the Pillars” to end the war on his home planet. Before he could use it, he crashes on the dark side of the Earth's moon, which then causes the U.S. to investigate the phenomenon as they cover up their mission in the first moon landing. Back in present day, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), is frustrated that life for him is normal, and that his robot friends, the Autobots, are on secret missions to fight rogue Decepticons. He takes it out on his new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitley), which causes strife in their relationship. Just before things seemed like they would settle down, one by one, every person who knew about the first moon landing cover-up is promptly killed by the Decepticons. Now, it is a race against the time for the Autobots to uncover the pillars, before the Decepticons can get their hands on it.

The first half of the movie veered into a direction of utter chaos, in which it seemed as if it could not decide whether it wanted to be a comedy or an action flick. One of the big reasons for this is the cast. Apart from having Bill O Reilly annoyingly step in the film, it was painful to see actors such as Ken Jeong from "The Hangover” embarrass themselves with performances that would have been more suited for a direct-to-DVD release. These characters stay on much longer than needed for a simple cameo, but when any character development is taking place, they suddenly disappear. As a result, they waste time that could have been used to include more action sequences, the only forte this film has.

Not only did the cast include too many celebrity cameos, but the acting and script was also careless, as it left Sam's personal relationships with Bumble-Bee, Carly and his family feeling rushed and incomplete. Out of all the poor actors and actresses in the movie, Huntington-Whitely is by far the worst. She doesn't add much to her character, with her acting more like another Victoria Secret ad rather than a movie. However, unlike Mikaela Banes, Sam's old girlfriend in the previous two films, Carly has no back-story, nor any emotion. As a result, her character is a joke and almost impossible to care about.

But like a joke, this movie should not be taken very seriously. The special effects, camera work, and set pieces make most of the flaws forgettable, creating one of the most entertaining summer block-buster experiences to date. Not only is it impressive, it surpasses the quality set by its "Transformers" predecessors.

To start off, the CGI in "Transformers 3” is breathtaking. Every Transformer is sculpted to the point where they breathe just as much life as a Broadway actor, from the daunting, fiery armor of Optimus Prime, to the bloodthirsty, mechanical jaws of Megatron. Because it looks so polished and realistic, when two transformers clash against each other in combat, it feels like the theatre is shaking.

What makes the CGI look even greater is how Michael Bay pieced every shot together as if his movie was an expensive art gallery. In the other two Transformers movies, the CGI looked nice, but it was cluster of explosions and sharp editing, which made it confusing to follow. In this movie, every robot exploding, building falling down and battle taking place is slowed down for the viewers to digest and drop their jaws in pure amazement.

Is this a good movie? Definitely not. Should people go see it? Yes. For those that pay attention to story, acting, and character development, this movie might make them go crazy because of how bad it is. However, for mainstream viewers that go in to be entertained, amazed, and blown away, Michael Bay goes to above and beyond to do so.

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (157 min) is rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo, and is now playing at theatres everywhere.

Tags: transformers

Richard Chen. I love reviewing movies, and I think it's pretty awesome to be in a position where you can write what you're passionate about and inspire other people with it. More »

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