In the Generation 1 cartoon universe, the bulk of storyline from ‘Dark of the Moon’ was contained in the 3-part episode ‘The Ultimate Doom’, and while sticking fairly close to the source material, expands greatly upon it. This film, unlike the previous two in the series and it’s cartoon predecessor finally answers that age-old TransFan question of “Doesn’t anything ever happen to the humans during all this?” since life always seemed to carry on, for the most part, uninterrupted. Well yes, something does happen… they die. And in some really weird twist, that may be the most endearing part of the film as Michael Bay does have a knack for making loss of life and mass destruction a fairly cool ride.
While the original film was just a bit of fun in the introduction to the world of the Transformers and the wide eyed high school kid with his first car and the second film was more of a door mat as compared to a place setting for the following sequel, the third film (and supposed final in the Bay Trilogy) made up for the loss of innocent wonder and lack of a real story by tossing everything in a blender and just squeezing everything it could out.
Is ‘Dark of the Moon’ perfect. Nope, but it’s far better than ‘Revenge of the Fallen’ and expands well upon the basic aspects of the original. ‘Moon opens rather slowly after a fairly well paced historical flashback and while very easily explaining the loss of Megan Fox’s scream queen and Carly’s placement in the story.. it stumbles along a bit, but after the smaller plot bits are established it picks up and the pace carries uninterrupted till the end. Speaking of the ending… What the hell was that? The movie, once it gets going, moves at around 220mph and with two minutes to go comes to a dead friggin’ stop. Done. Finis. Go home and wait for the next director to pick it up from here…. The length of the movie already dents the space-time continuum, another minute or so to neatly tie some plot strings would not have hurt. Sh!t.
The acting, for the most part, is a bit better this time around. More big names who get a chance to go a bit over the norm (while in contrast Turturro’s Agent Simmons is toned down and far better) in acting off the seemingly more human robots. While Malkovich had a great walk-on cameo, McDormand played what would be easily described as the female Seymore Simmons. The supporting characters do a fairly good job in carrying the humor (sometimes a little forced but not as horrific as ‘ROTF’) and what dialog you might get from a Bay film and I was nicely surprised by the performance of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in what turned out to be an upgrade from Megan Fox (No Fox fans, I wouldn’t picture the Megatron scene going the same way or better). There is a reason why Shia LaBeouf has announced he’s made his last Transformers movie… and we’ll leave it at that. But the humans have never been the real element in the TF films and thank goodness for that. Besides, anytime you can get Leonard Nimoy to quote Spock outside of Star Trek and make a few million Trekkies sh!t in their pants…
The writing of Ehren Kruger (who was brought into ‘ROTF’ for his expertise in the TF mythos and failed miserably) actually makes an effort to bring the cartoon and aspects of the comics to life, more so than Kurtzman & Orci had done previously. That mixed with the factual violence and collateral damage towards the human race brings the film to a more fanatic fan level. Yes, many will say the story was a rock and the acting cardboard… which in a drama would be true. This a Michael Bay cartoon come to life flick… damn, the pace of your standard Transformer flick still does better than ‘Pearl Harbor’.
And to those of you who didn’t know Leonard Nimoy’s history with a previous ‘Transformers: The Movie’ and ignored the ‘Spock’ hint given early in the film… hehe surprise. As a TransFan, I’m secretly hoping the abrupt ending of ‘Moon can figure into a way of seeing a Nimoy voiced Galvatron in the sequel… fanboy dreams. But Paramount has announced the series will continue past Michael Bay and won’t be a reboot, so the abrupt ending mixed with all the questions (like why couldn’t the Autobots win the war when a diminished number less than 10 could offset some several hundred Decepticons and just what happened to all those Decepticons around the world..?) will give a lot script fodder.
Long, fairly paced for the bulk of the film and reaching action epic, bring popcorn, gummy bears and no bathroom breaks. I know, but you’ll have to unbutton your pants and hold it.