Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon was exactly what you expect it to be - light on story, heavy on things blowing up.
Back in the 1960s, a ship from the planet Cybertron crash landed on the Moon. The U.S. and Russia were desperate to try and be the first nation to land on the moon to see what actually landed there and each came back with a little something. Flash forward to the current year. Our old friend Sam Witwicky, having saved the world twice and been dumped by Megan Fox, is now living with yet another hot woman named Carly but without a job. All he wants is to feel like he matters. Little does he know that the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons is about to start up again. It turns out what landed on the Moon was a prototype of a new technology that has the ability to transport matter across the Universe. The captain of the ship, Sentinel Prime, is the only one who can control the technology and he is rescued by Optimus Prime. But it's all a trap laid by the evil Megatron and soon the war explodes all over Chicago, and it's up to Sam and his old pals to once again save the world from complete annihilation.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon will never be mistaken for a great film, but let's be honest... after this summer's lackluster slate of films, this is the kind of movie audiences are looking for. You don't need to think too hard, you just need to sit back and watch the metal fly. As with the other two films in the series, this one is way too long. At 150+ minutes, you could have easily cut out an hour and still been OK, but as I said in my last review, considering the amount of money these movies make, I don't think a studio is going to tell Michael Bay to edit it down. The first hour to 90 minutes is mostly about the 'story' and setting up the characters. There are a few decent sequences, but the big blowups happen in the last hour of the film and once again, that last hour is nearly non-stop with the action. There are some fresh faces in the movie, which help break up the monotony. John Malkovich makes an appearance as Sam's new boss. Frances McDormand shows up as a highly places government agent who takes no bull. McDreamy himself Patrick Dempsey plays the one human who actually turns against humankind, which is a nice touch since now we have a human to hate, not just a machine. And of course the big casting news was Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replacing Megan Fox as 'the girl' in the film who wears revealing clothing and runs around screaming a lot. And she pulled off the role tremendously. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro return from the previous films though all of their roles are much smaller than in the past. And of course Shia LaBeouf returns as our reluctant hero Sam, the man who somehow manages to date the hottest girls yet squeals in happiness when he meets the President. Needless to say, the cast is in the background here because the machines are what put asses in the seats.
I saw this movie in the RPX theater on 42nd street in Manhattan. Not sure what RPX stands for, but the screen is crisper and the sound is louder. And the seats are more comfortable, which is nice for a two-and-a-half-hour film. For the first time in a couple of years, I thought the 3D effects were really nice. Some of the battle sequences made you feel like you were right in the middle of all the action. The special effects on this series have always been top notch. There isn't a second where you think, oh, that doesn't look right. Whether it's Sam in his house talking to Bumblebee, or two Transformers fighting it out in the middle of Chicago, everything looks crystal clear and extremely realistic. I was thinking to myself that sometimes you hear about how much a movie cost to make and you wonder where they spent the money. In this case, if they said this movie cost $300M or $500M I could believe it. The destruction they release on Chicago was amazing. And it was nice to see Chicago get destroyed, instead of the old standbys of New York or L.A. Chicago is an important town too!
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I've been feeling somewhat disappointed by the films this summer, especially the action ones, and this film gives you what you want. Some good looking people and some tremendous explosions.