I’d like Michael Bay if he looked and acted like Woody Allen. Made the exact same movies but looked and acted like Woody Allen. If he was just this mega nerd who was obsessed with explosions and special effects and gratuitously showed supermodels at inappropriate times during robot battles. I would like that guy. I would think he’s awesome. Like a Peter Jackson type, who was a fat dork sitting in a dark room conjuring in his mind how he wanted to film the battle scenes in Middle Earth. Instead Michael Bay is just unlikable Michael Bay. He’s like the super popular rich snobby jerk in high school who got everything he wanted (girls, clothes, cars), but you think life will even out for him eventually and he’ll end up working at his dad’s car dealership in your hometown 10 years later, because the world is supposed to be fair, right? But then he grew up, bedded countless supermodels while working for Victoria’s Secret making piles of money, then gets unlimited budgets for blockbuster movies with no apparent scripts, and well becomes a Michael Bay type. I wanted to use a different person for the analogy, but Michael Bay is honestly the best person to fit that description. I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t like Michael Bay as a person, and after reading his GQ oral history of Michael Bay article, I have no reason to believe he isn’t actually a pompous mega jerk.
But I guess that has nothing to do with Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a movie, and I won’t bring it up again, just wanted to say it. In fact I’d like to start with a mega compliment for this movie. The final 45 minutes, where they are blowing up Chicago… IS AWESOME. It’s a mind-blowing spectacle of top notch special effects, all seamless and fluid and brilliant. If there’s one thing Michael Bay does right, it’s stage a fantastic CGI mega battle, that appears nonstop, and is full of adrenaline. I will say, I loved the last 45 minutes of Transformers 3. It was big, and epic, and full of good implausible detail (hey it’s robots fighting, what’s actually plausible about that? no complaints there). I have almost nothing bad to say (almost) about the last 45 minutes.
It’s the hour and a half before those 45 minutes that’s the problem. The big problem. They’ve now had 3 full (over two hours each) movies to develop Sam Witwicky. They have failed horribly. I just don’t care about Shia Lebouf’s character at all. This time around, he’s an unemployed college graduate with a two-story loft apartment with 40 foot ceilings (must be an awful neighborhood maybe?), and we are forced to tread through a mystery plot about what’s on the moon that pretty much could have been explained in like 2 minutes. That’s always been the worst part of the Transformers series, we have to deal with humans figuring things out. The robot fights are the best parts, so give us robot fights! Instead we get an ensemble cast of big shots like John Malkovich, Fran McDormand, John Turturro, Ken Jeong, ect, and they are ALL needless side characters which do nothing but waste time in this movie. This could have been such a better movie if it wasn’t bogged down with so many humans.
If George Lucas is guilty of cramming special effects into every inch of the frame every chance he gets, Michael Bay is guilty of cramming horrible one liners and stupid comments into every spot of silence he notices. Is there ever a time when the camera moves by a robot and it DOESN’T make some stupid comment? (insert unfunny caricature voice) “Ohhhh I’m a baaaaaad bolt” “Ayyyy, watch where you’re walking, sprocket-head!” (clunks other robot on back of head) I just made those up because I mentally blocked out what the actual ones are. I’m not saying this isn’t a fun and moderately funny movie, but the corny one-liners… I just don’t find them funny. And I think there’s too many of them.
Back to good stuff. No, Great stuff. The 3D is incredible. If you see this in theaters, you should have no option BUT to see it in 3D. I don’t think this was one of the best instances of 3D I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure it was THE best. The brightening of the screen in general really helped I think. Definitely huge props on the 3D, worth sacrificing your $3 hard earned dollars.
So I don’t know. I definitely didn’t enjoy the first half of it, and thought the whole movie could have lost 40 minutes, but it was all fun and games for the end. I don’t want to give the impression that I can’t just have fun at the movies and enjoy something like this, but the plot became tedious and weighed down, and I DID like the action, a lot. Take District 9 for example; fun movie, not as amazing visually as this but still impressive nonetheless, AND it didn’t have a tedious story full of cliche. It might be too much to ask for the best of both worlds from Bay, but we got the absolute best of one world, and very below average results from the other.
Worth seeing in theaters for the 3D and the destruction of Chicago (oh no, the planetarium!) alone, but the first 90 minutes… ehhhhhhhhhhh.
Also has one of the worst, laughably bad, frat boy soundtracks I’ve ever heard. I literally laughed out loud at a few of the music cues. Harder than most of the actual jokes.
6.5 out of 10