Thursday, July 7, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Directed by Michael Bay, Paramount Pictures, 2011. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Frances McDormand, et al.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi.

Question: Did your mom ever tell you she walked to school, uphill both ways, and in the snow when you complained about walking somewhere? I got very close to saying something like that when I told my kids I was taking them to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon but they complained when I told them we were going to walk to the movie theater. "Ugh. No! Mom, come on. Do we have to?" I kept silent for a moment - collected myself and simply said, "Yes."

I could have told them I really wanted see the newest Ewan McGregor movie instead but decided not to. What we do for our kids - oh, the sacrifice...OK, just kidding. I really wanted to see the latest installment of the Transformers series. Yes, I am movie geek! I will admit it - proudly. (But I am still going to see that other film!)

The first Transformers was fantastic; I would have given it a 9 out of 10 and have watched it many times since. The second one was so bad that I refuse to talk about it anymore. But I just had a feeling the third installment would work.

I was right. Transformers: Dark of the Moon got back to what made this franchise good - a story not just gimmicks. Now, the story isn't as well-rounded as the first but it worked for me. (Although my daughter said there wasn't really a point. My son's reply to that "Yes, there was - fighting robots are cool! And you didn't even see the first two!" Her rebuttal "Yes, I did. I still didn't see the point!" She rolls her eyes. I sit there observing, silently laughing inside because both are sort of right.)

Now before I go any further in this review I have to tell you that the movie is over 2 1/2 hours long and that doesn't include the 6 (yes, 6) previews we saw beforehand. So you will be sitting down for almost 3 hours. Stretch those legs.

The movie started out with history of the Autobots coming close to earth and how we, or a select few, knew of their existence from over 50 years ago. It was a plausible concept. Then it heads to the main character: Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) graduated from college, looking for a job and shacking up with another hot girl. Yes, this point always had me perplexed but his mother begs the question in the story on this little unexplained detail. It is one we may have all thought about on how this semi-nerdy guy with an Autobot for a car gets all these hot women. Let's just say you wouldn't want your mother to say it about you. I laughed out loud at that scene - and am so happy it went way over my children's head. Whew!

There is no need to say anymore about the plot because it is jammed packed with a ton of detail that you should see for yourself - especially if you are a fan of these movies.

Many sequels lose me when they show little restraint: too much action, too much of a character, too many attempts at humor. There is a fine line to using these tricks of the cinema and Transformers did it perfectly. The second did the opposite. Transformers: Dark of the Moon used many of the qualities that I liked, sparingly - to a point.

Shia LaBeouf was just as nerdy and spastic as ever with a slight roughness that makes his character very likable. Josh Duhamel is back but not as powerful of a character as the first movie. Of course, we have John Turturro back and he may have jumped over the shark a few times but it was a good balance to the new character played by Frances McDormand.

Now I love her. She is in many Coen Brothers films. She is a character actor that can play anything but mostly strong but off-beat women. (Remember Fargo?) However, her character in this film missed what I usually adore about her (except at the very end).

There was a surprise character or two, which I will remain mum about. I will tell you that a huge smile emerged when I saw them though. I wasn't expecting these actors at all- and don't go IMDb it. Be surprised, people.

The list of others actors in here is too long to mention now but the other characters in Transformers: Dark of the Moon that made this movie worthwhile was the Autobots and Decepticons. Seriously, what geek doesn't love them?

There were some new additions to the changeable robots which I rather enjoyed.  I have to say there was a Scottish Autobot - so I got my Scottish fill even though it wasn't with Ewan McGregor - it will do. I couldn't understand a word it said but I liked the accent anyway. In fact, most other new Autobots sounded like they were British, but I read one review yesterday and they said there was a French Autobot. I didn't hear that accent. Oh well.

The main new Autobot, Sentinel, was voiced by a very famous actor. Trust me you should get the voice in the first 30 seconds. And if you don't - you cannot call yourself a true geek! That is all I am saying about that.

I am not sure if this movie is for everyone but I know teen boys everywhere will love it - especially the slow motion robot changes. That might have made the movie for me. Also, and I can't believe I am about to say this: go see it in 3D. Those annoying little glasses made the whole 2 1/2 hours totally engaging. But be prepared for a lot fighting scenes and cool robots changes - it fills up the last third of the movie. Remember I said this was 2 1/2 hours long. I was simply exhausted by the end of it but my son wasn't. And we still had to walk home.

My favorite thing: Slow motion action scenes.

My least favorite thing: Perhaps a few too many characters trying to be funny.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 157 minutes

Review: 6 out of 10

Random thought: As we were sitting there through the previews I had my eyes focused on the ground, of course. I saw both my kids watching intently until the preview for the final Harry Potter came on. My son covered his eyes with his hands and held them there for the whole time. I asked him afterwards why he did that. His reply, "Mom, I really want to see that movie!" Makes a mama proud!

No comments: