Monday, July 4, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

This is the third movie in the "Transformers" series, again starring Shia LaBoeuf as Sam Witwicky. Many other characters from the prior movies return including Kevin Dunn and Julie White as Sam's parents, John Turturro as Simmons, Josh Duhamel as Lennox and Tyrese Gibson as Epps. There are also several new additions to the cast, including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly, replacing Megan Fox. Patrick Dempsey plays Dylan, Carly's sleazy boss, Frances McDormand plays the secretary of Defense, John Malkovich plays Sam's boss Bruce Brazos and Ken Jeong plays Jerry Wang, a crazy co-worker of Sam's.

During the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, a spacecraft called the Ark piloted by the leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy), tried to escape with a weapon that would have won the war. However, it was hit by the Decepticons and crash landed on the moon. We lean that the race to the moon in the 1960's was in fact an attempt to beat the Soviet Union to the moon so they would not be able to steal any technology to be able to use against the USA. A nice treat was a cameo by Buzz Aldrin, playing himself.

Back in 2011, Sam is happy in his relationship with Carly, but despite saving the world twice and receiving a medal from President Obama, is still unable to find a job in our post-Great Recession economy. He eventually agrees to take a job in a mail room, albeit begrudgingly. One day, his co-worker Jerry Wang (Jeong), corners him and starts talking about the "dark side of the moon," says that the Autobots are in danger, and gives him a bunch of newspaper clippings. However, suddenly a Decepticon kills Wang and tries to kill Sam.

The Autobots have been sent out on various missions around the globe, and are also always on the watch for the return of the Decepticons. During a mission in the Middle East, they learn of strange happenings in Chernobyl, and travel there to discover a fuel cell from the Ark and Decepticon Shockwave and a giant drilling robot.

Optimus Prime confronts Secretary of Defense Mearing (McDormand) about why they were not informed about the discovery of the Ark. The Autobots then take a spaceship to the moon, where they discover that Sentinel Prime is still alive and has five "pillars" which can make a bridge to their planet Cybertron. They bring Sentinel Prime back to Earth, and only Optimus Prime is able to restore him to full power. Unfortunately, the humans discover that there were actually many more pillars, and the Decepticons have them.

The Autobots and the humans learn that loyalties are not what they believed they were, and the action moves from Washington D.C. to Chicago, where the Decepticons have taken the pillars in order to make the bridge to bring Cybertron to Earth and take over the human race as their slaves. The finale is of course the final battle between the Autobots and Sam and the other humans vs. the Decepticons for the fate of our planet.

This being a Michael Bay movie, the special effects were first class. This movie also had a much more coherent plot than "Transformers 2." There was much more of a feeling of needing to fight to save the Earth and the freedom of the human race and less of a feeling of just being observers of a battle between two groups of robots. However, Michael Bay is either unable or unwilling to write female characters who are not either shrews or damsels in distress who are only there to look pretty and need to be saved by some strong man. The character of Carly was an improvement, but was still basically unable to fight back or do anything for herself. Also, both John Malkovich and Ken Jeong's characters were woefully underused.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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