Action, suspense, gunplay, action, a hot blonde, action, guys in wing suits, explosions, action, Shia LaBeouf, action, betrayal, McDreamy, explosions, Autobots, action, explosions, Decepticons, the dark side of the moon, action, teleportation, Chicago, more explosions – all in 3D!!!
After an intriguing prologue that sets up the real reason for the space race – something crashed on the dark side of the moon [but they couldn’t use that as a title because of the Pink Floyd album] – Transformers: Dark of the Moon quickly devolves into an action movie with giant robots, explosions, gunfire, and some rude language from Sam Witwicky’s [Shia LaBeouf] parents [played by the ever delightful Julie White and Kevin Dunn]. Seriously, though, there really was an Autobot ark on the dark side of the moon – containing the technology to defeat the Decepticons.
As for our hero for the third time, Mr. Witwicky, since saving the world [twice] and getting a [top secret] medal from President Obama, Sam has gone to university on the government’s dime and is now where a lot of uni grads are – looking for work. Luckily for him, he has a supportive, well paid girlfriend, Carly [Rosie Huntington-Whitely] sharing his less than posh apartment. She works for a hotshot executive whose gift of a expensive car [no, for both of them… really] plays a part later on. The boss is played by McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey, trying to shake off his Grey’s Anatomy image.
The ark on the moon contains an Autobot leader, Sentinel Prime [voiced by Leonard Nimoy] and some stuff that was to have saved the homeworld, Cybertron. The movie is about getting that stuff to either prevent the Decepticons from getting it, or to beat the Autobots [depending on whether one is an Autobot or Decepticon] – essentially, we teensy-tiny earthlings are, as usual, stuck in the middle.
There is more of a human element in Dark of the Moon than there was in Revenge of the Fallen, which is as much a default position as Dark being much better than its predecessor [neither being all that difficult to achieve]. There’s also a bit of romance – Sam and Carly seem to be for real [and Huntington-Whitely, while no Angelina Jolie, is a much better actor than Mega fox – again, not that hard to achieve], and the feelings between Ron and Judy Witwicky, though played mostly for laughs, is pretty believable.
In terms of the humans, though, most of the film’s life comes from the secondary cast – besides White and Dunn, there are a number of fun moments provided by Alan Tudyk, John Turturro, Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. Perhaps, though, the most human beat in the movie belongs to one of the giant robot characters – betrayal being a very human act.
Really, though, most people who go to Dark of the Moon are looking for action, gunfire, explosions and the occasional loving shots of male and female pulchritude as a bonus. Transformers: Dark of the Moon delivers on all counts – its last act [somewhere between forty-five minutes and an hour] is nothing but action, gunplay and explosions. As they used to say on SCTV, a lot of stuff ‘gets blowed up real good!’
I loved the first Transformers flick and loathed the second, so I was pleased that Dark of the Moon wasn’t a colossal piece of scrap metal. If it wasn’t for the amazing 3D [if you have to see this movie, you should see it in 3D], though, it would only be better than Revenge of the Fallen. Instead, with 3D, it’s almost as good as the original movie.
Final Grade: B