You know after watching Michael Bay’s third installment of the Transformers series, one has to say that Megan Fox is one smart cookie for bailing or getting fired or whatever the rumor of the moment is on why she left the 3rd movie. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is clearly the best movie in the series, but the female character, this time played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is so vapid and pointless that it’s hard to imagine why any reputable actress would take such a demeaning part.
I remember when I saw the first Transformers film. It was on the Paramount Studios lot and the press people in the audience went nuts and cheered at everything in them movie, so color me surprised when it got soundly trashed by those same critics. It must be a “guilty” pleasure thing, people don’t want to admit to liking the franchise, even though every release has made truckloads of money. Not that money equates to Art, but it clearly means there’s an audience for this series. It’s not me, I never got into the cartoon, more of a G.I. Joe girl, and never got why it was so popular.
I actually liked the story in Bay’s first two installments of the movie but never liked the big action sequences. All the robots looks the same, I couldn’t tell who the evil Decepticons were when they were fighting the Autobots. The only Autobots that stood out in the battle sequences were Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and Bumblebee. Other than that, I had no investment in any of the characters.
This time out we don’t have to deal with racist robots, just this weird new red Hispanic robot (all about the toys and the foreign market you know). Shia LaBeouf returns as the human “hero” Sam Witwicky. After saving the world, twice, he’s feeling restless because he can’t seem to get a job that has any meaning. I mean hey, he saved the world and got a medal from the President. Instead, not only can he not find a job but his former girlfriend left and now he’s “madly” in love with Carly.
Whatever you want to say about Fox in the first two Transformers, she put in an Oscar worthy performance compared to Rosie. Where did Bay find this woman? She gave the worst performance that I’ve seen all year, there is absolutely no chemistry between her and LaBeouf so when she inevitably becomes the “damsel in distress” in the end I wanted to scream, why won’t you die.
There’s a ridiculous moment when in the middle of a big battle sequence she just stands in the middle of the street and stairs dumbfounded at the camera as Bay holds the camera on her in freeze frame (with explosions happening in slow motion around her.) This is a trick Bay uses to make “action” heroes (most notably Will Smith in Bad Boys). He does it almost every movie he directs. Generally, I look forward to this moment in Bay movies and am a sucker for it – it’s the moment where I always so “Oh, shit, it’s on now!” This time it took me completely out of the movie.
This movie works largely because it does have a really strong story and a good cast. Bay had me hooked with a fabulous opening sequence that deftly cut newsreel footage of Kennedy to set up the premise of the story. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon I actually cared about what was going on, the heel turn in the middle of the movie came as a genuine surprise and works really well. I also loved seeing all the old characters from the first two movies make a return.
I hated the first Transformers, but kind of liked Revenge of the Fallen (despite the racist Robots). The third installment is a fun ride at the movies and could have been stronger if Rosie wasn’t in it. But then again, I’m not going to blame her for the entire bad performance; it was just an “offensive” and “thankless” part. At 2 1/2 hours this movie is complete overkill, but it’s never boring and gave me exactly what I expected and pretty much wanted.
Final Grade B
EM Review by
Originally Posted 7.01.2011