Movie Review #789: Without the Writer’s Guild strike to blame, Michael Bay proves he has a poor handling of the ‘Transformers’ brand.
By Red Stewart
|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi|
|Rated PG-13 (contains sci-fi violence, sexual content, profanity, suggestive dialogue)|
As soon as the film opened up with a tracking shot of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s fine ass, I knew I had been lied to. Don’t get on my back; I didn’t start paying attention to Rotten Tomatoes till 2012, though I had begun reading interviews by the crew, one of which involved Michael Bay apologizing for “Revenge of the Fallen” and promising that “Dark of the Moon” would be much better. He particularly blamed the Writer’s Guild strike for screwing up the production and, given the many other appalling films created in that era, I was inclined to cut him some slack.
I was wrong – without the strike to place the entire fault on, Bay has proven that he was always going to get worse following 2007’s “Transformers”. In this one, Optimus Prime and the other Autobots discover their old leader Sentinel and revive him, unaware of the fact that he had already made a deal with Megatron to enslave and harvest Earth in order to rebuild Cybertron. What follows is a bunch of juvenile crap that puts Bay in league with Ed Wood as one of the worst filmmakers ever for not being able to see the most obvious faults during principal photography.
The actors, at this point, just don’t care anymore. Shia LaBeouf shows the beginnings of his insanity by overacting in practically every scene. Huntington-Whiteley is another pretty face to attract horny schoolboys, and even normally good stars like Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand play their parts as though someone is stabbing a pin in their respective voodoo doll.
Here is, perhaps, the biggest crime Bay commits with this movie. I’ve always said that Transformers was something special in every 80s kid’s life, so it really, really pisses me off that Bay uses the brand as an immature way of getting back at Megan Fox who, prior to production, compared him to Hitler and subsequently got fired. Hiring this celebutante Huntington-Whiteley from his days of directing Victoria’s Secret commercials, Bay exploits her body to no end from the scene I described in the first sentence to many, many others. Look, I am all for sex appeal if it adds to a movie either dramatically (“Dangerous Liaisons”), passionately (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”), or comedically (“Get Smart”), but it’s none of those cases here. The whole thing is made even more pathetic when you realize the two later kissed and made-up in time for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
I’ll touch on one last point because I am done with the “Transformers” series and, as much as I love Mark Wahlberg, will not be going to “Age of Extinction” (which, surprise, is getting panned). There are apologists who bring up the Independence Day argument of this is all meant to be dumb escapism for action junkies. Listen, If these films were all about giant robots fighting each other, I would agree wholeheartedly, but they’re not. Over 60% of the plot is devoted to idiotic human characters spouting moronic dialogue in the stupidest of situations. Yes, the mecha brawls do offer some much needed catharsis amongst the mindless plot, but there just simply isn’t enough between the long treks of pathetic discourse.
Is “Dark of the Moon” better than “Revenge of the Fallen”? Sure, but that’s like saying a moldy apple tastes better than a rotten one. Don’t bother wasting your time with this thing (or any of them for that matter).
Note: I didn’t see this film in 3D so I cannot comment on whether or not it was legitimately good, though many critics tend to praise that aspect so take their word for it. ✴