When TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON ended last night and the credits rolled I wanted to applaud. It’s like Michael Bay took everything that worked about the first film, removed damn near everything that DIDN’T work about the second film, and made the 3rd film…and then to top it off the man does 3D better than James Cameron. That’s a huge statement, but let me explain.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON exists on the premise that the Moon Landing in 1969 was actually the result of an alien ship crashing on the moon and NASA’s sensors picking it up. So when Buzz Aldren and Neil Armstrong go to the moon, as soon as they are on the dark side and the feed was “lost” they go to explore the downed ship (The Ark) and find the bodies of Autobots (including previous Autobot leader Sentinel Prime). They bring back some tech, which the Decepticons (off the radar for a while hidden) are secretly looking for. NASA and higher ups have kept humanity largely in the dark about this discovery and when Optimus and the other Autobots find out, they are pissed that such a secret was not shared.
Bay is in fine form from moment one. Yes, you get to see the 1969 lunar landing in 3D, and yes it looks as cool as you’d think. You also get to see the last bit of the war on Cybertron and yes that is even cooler! What’s the first thing you see in the present day human timeline? New love interest (and proper 1980’s cartoon Witwicky girlfriend who he eventually marries) Carly’s (Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) ass in some scant panties going up a set of stairs…in 3D. Yup, Michael Bay reminds you (in case you forgot) that you are watching his movie. I’m a guy, so I had zero problems with this and it’s totally a self-parodying shot so Bay lives it up. Sam is now living in D.C. looking for a job and eventually finds one working for a particularly awesome and zany John Malkovich. His girlfriend on the other hand is working for a particularly slimy Patrick Dempsey, much to Sam's chagrin. The Autobots, having no Decepticons to currently fight are now helping humanity by stopping human wars. Little do they all know that Soundwave has put everybody’s favourite evil bird (Laserbeak) into action by recruiting various human helpers to bring things into alignment for a major Decepticon incursion VIA the famed (in the cartoon) Space Bridge, not to mention its keeper Shockwave.
I don’t want to delve too much into story points as I’d rather not spoil anything for you guys. Two things though. Sentinel Prime…totally voiced by Leonard Nimoy! Mirage (named Dino here…but I know he’s Mirage) is a red Ferrari with an Italian accent and badass long curved sickle blades on each arm…that he can throw as grapples to attack…seriously. So. Awesome.
This movie has everything, action, sadness, heart, triumph, betrayal, glory, pure evil, and misguided decisions. Think about everything you thought was cool about any Michael Bay movie and it’s in here. The film clocks in at 2 hrs and 33 minutes and those minutes fly by. The last hour of the film is the most incredible action battle sequence ever. In this movie you feel more for the humans, as well as the Autobots, but the balance between the two is nigh perfect here. It seems that after two movies Bay has finally found the mixture that works. He should also shoot everything in 3D. The complaint a lot of the time with the previous two was that everything blended in during the fight sequences and you didn’t know what was going on. Well shooting in 3D forces him to slow down a bit and gives depth to every scene. So you KNOW who is fighting who and shots of Bumblebee making specific ass kicking movements are clear and precise. It works on a level that (as I said above) actually trumps James Cameron as the 3D is used here not only to give depth but made Bay a better filmmaker. So even the 2D BluRay of the film is going to be better in that regard.
Yes, Shia still runs around screaming and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley isn’t the greatest thespian…but to be completely honest she delivers lines better than Megan Fox ever did...which isn’t saying much…but you get the point. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson actually shine even better here because they get to be the balls out glory soldiers. They get to give speeches that encourage their men to do whatever it takes to get the job done and I like that. Bumblebee gets the badass award only so long as Optimus isn’t on the screen. Every time the Autobot leader shows up I couldn’t help but want to cheer and he pulls no punches here. The Optimus of the past two movies who hesitates isn’t here anymore. In his place is an Optimus Prime who can not only be called leader, but deserves every accolade we ever pinned on him as youths watching the cartoon. This is an Optimus that just isn’t going to bend this time, and that was a thrill to finally see.
This is the movie that will redeem this franchise. This is the movie that will make you believe in the glory of giant robots, and the resilience of humanity as well. If you watched the first movie and thought it took too long to get going, or watched the second movie and thought it overlong and too goofy with a convoluted plot, then this one is for you. Bay learns his lessons and finally gives us the wall to wall awesome TRANSFORMERS film we’ve been wanting to see since the get go. He also manages to show recent alien invasion movies like SKYLINE and BATTLE: LA not only how it’s done, but how it’s done RIGHT.
An absolute spectacle from start to finish, you would be hard pressed to find a better action movie this summer.
Now roll out and go see this flick!