On my latest flight to the United States I fell into my standard trap for selecting what movies to watch on the airplane. As I flicked through the options that Delta made available, I found myself inexorably drawn to a movie that I’d been curious about, but never wanted to spend any money or even quality time on to watch. It was Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and I sat and watched it for its entire 2 1/2 hours of over-the-top length, eschewing other potentially more interesting films that I also wanted to see, such as The Help, The Adventures of Tin-Tin, and, er, Real Steel.
Transformers 3, as it is much more easily referred to, has produced some disparate opinions in my friends. Some consider it to be as bad as the previous film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, while others see it as a return to the higher quality of the original Transformers. To me, the two statements aren’t really any different from each other since I consider all of the Transformers movies to be pretty stupid.
The plot of this movie involves the revelation that the Decepticons have had their eyes on earth long before the events of the first movie and apparently at some point buried a whole bunch of their number on the dark side of the moon, ready for a moment when Optimus Prime’s predecessor as leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime, who had secretly defected to the other side (except that he was then shot down by that other side – oops), would activate a teleportation device that would bring the dying planet Cybertron to earth so that humans could work as slave labor to rebuild it, requiring the Decepticons to trick Optimus into re-activating his comatose friend by drawing his attention to the secret human cover up about the real reason they went to the moon and, um, something something something, and then a whole bunch of Transformers bombastically fight each other, destroying all sorts of innocent, non-transforming vehicles (and they’re human occupants, one assumes) in the process.
Meanwhile, the human protagonist, Sam Witwicky, has been dumped by his super-model girlfriend and is depressed because he’s out of work. Fortunately, he’s found a new super-model girlfriend, played by Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who, like Megan Fox in the previous film, is introduced by her rear before we see her face, and who is apparently so beautiful that the bad guy can’t possibly live without her. This allows her to serve one key point in the plot later, when she manages to convince Megatron that the traitorous Sentinel Prime might, you know, betray Megatron as well, convincing the foolish villain to betray him first, which essentially hands the victory to his enemy. Sam, meanwhile, is forced by a Decepticon wristwatch to betray Optimus Prime in a terrible moral dilemma that goes nowhere. Also, a big Decepticon worm knocks a whole skyscraper over, but most of the human heroes survive thanks to improbable acts of Looney Tunes-esque physics.
Meanwhile, dozens of hapless bystanders are blown into skeletons by rampaging Decepticons who think that the Autobots have left earth (a trick they are playing to teach the human authorities a lesson!) It is also implied that a little girl and her family are killed by another Decepticon that disguises itself as a toy. Robotic cockroaches crawl around a decrepit Megatron’s head. And there are a bunch of talented actors (including Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, John Turturro, and possibly, depending on your allegiances, Shia LaBeouf) who seem unsure as to whether they should act like they’re in an action spectacular or in a farcical cartoon. And also Buzz Aldrin shows up as himself, revealing a massive conspiracy regarding the original moon landing (not that it never happened, but rather that it had the secret agenda of investigating the Cybertron ship that had crashed there).
The plane turns out not to be the best environment to watch this movie, simply because the built-in sound systems can’t really handle the MASSIVE audio of the film. Everything is REALLY LOUD and thus came across majorly distorted. So the experience of listening to the film was something like this:
PFSHHHHHZZZZZZKRAKKKKABOOOOMSAMWEWILLALWAYSBEYOURFRIENDFZZZZZTTHHSHUKSHUCK OPTIMUSITSBECAUSEILOVEYOUTHATIHAVETOBETRAYYOUKRZZZBABOOOMMMVRRROOOMNOOOOZZ BLAAAAMBLAMCARLYYYKRAKAZZZLOOKOUTKABOOMDECEPTICONSSIMMONSBUMBLEBEEZZZZARRRK FFZZWAPPZWEWILLNEVERLEAVETHISWORLDBLAHBLAHBLAH…
…and so on.
On the cool side, you have Leonard Nimoy voicing Sentinel Prime, which allows for nifty Star Trek in-joke moments like him saying, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Also, when Optimus Prime has his enemies at his mercy, he refreshingly kills them.
So all in all, a loud and stupid movie. But if you liked either of the other two Transformer movies, I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy here.