Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

THE SETUP: Life is not going so great for Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). He may have saved the world twice but he has no job, been dumped by Megan Fox and is being put out in the cold while his Autobot buddies run missions for the government. Of course that doesn’t last long as the 1969 mission to the Moon is revealed to have been a cover-up and that there is a long forgotten Autobot there who has the technology to connect with their home world.  Unfortunately the bad guys want it to. Let the “blowing stuff up” begin.

This was a good movie. OK, you got me…it was a good Transformers movie. Most of the mistakes made in the first two films have been corrected – there are no racial stereotype robots, there’s an actual story, the editing isn’t so fast to cause seizures. Is it Shakespeare? Of course not, it’s Michael Bay. But he does deliver what you would expect from a movie about alien transforming robots from the 80s. The actors are back from the last few movies, LaBeouf, John Turturro, Josh Duhumal, all putting in their time and realizing they aren’t the reason asses are in theatre seats. Shia is probably the only one that has to really do anything and does a fine job grounding the film and being the audience’s eyes. Replacing Megan Fox wasn’t such a bad thing; you’ll barely notice a different. But, if I had a complaint about the new girl is she’s distractingly attractive to the point she looks like a special effect herself. But let’s get to the reason you’d go to this…does it fit the summer blockbuster mold? Yes. Explosions a plenty, 3-D and over the top action sequences. It’s a bit too long, just like all the other Transformer movies but it does have a more intelligent twist by linking the story to the first lunar landing. Buzz Aldrin even has a cameo. And can you hate a movie with the No. 2 astronaut of all time?

2 stars – it’s a renter. If you are a fan of the 80s cartoon and toys and you liked the first movie but were disappointed by the second…you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t like alien robots, why would you go to this?

Random Recommendations
Almost Famous (2000) – This film is known for 2 things: launching Kate Hudson’s career and the scene where they sing Elton John’s Tiny Dancer in the bus. It’s a hell of a lot more than that. Cameron Crowe tells a semi-autobiographical story of a sheltered teenager who travels with a rockband in the 70s. Great music (thankfully) and great story of a time you don’t have to be from to appreciate.

Mississippi Burning(1988) – You’ll have to dig pretty deep to see the link between this and Transformers but I’m glad there was. This is an amazingly powerful film about civil rights that will affect you and make you angry, in an educational way. Director Alan Parker delivers us one of Gene Hackman’s best performances.  Not a “light film” but important to see.

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