“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Movie Review


    Aspiring screen writers are often told to study Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s script for 1959’s “Some Like It Hot”, a film while considered a masterpiece, successfully combines the elements of comedy and slap stick with drama.  Likewise, I’m here to tell you, aspiring screen writers should also take a long look at Michael Bay’s latest steaming pile of crap known as “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”  The script, if you want to call it that, written by Ehren Kruger (who was responsible for Transformers 2 as well) is a concoction of ingredients that simply don’t go together.  Was this film meant for 12 year old boys in need of fodder for their wet dreams?  Was it mean for 5 year olds accustomed to watching Sesame Street?  Is this supposed to satisfy those of us who actually played with “Go Bots” and “Transformers” toys in the 70’s and 80’s? Watch Dark of the Moon and try to figure it out.  The movie is all over the place and stands as by far the worst film of 2011.

     Based on what I saw, I’m convinced Dark of the Moon was written about 2 pages at a time during principal photography.  Strange characters who seemingly have no business in this film appear for no reason and then just disappear for the rest of the film with no explanation.  Characters from the previous films come out of no where at the most convenient times, each with some lame explanation as to what they’ve been doing since the last film and how they got to where they are today that allows them to cross paths with Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky character.

     Before I go on and torch this utter piece of garbage, let me qualify a few things.  First and foremost, I did like the first “Transformers” film.  I found the story to be interesting and seeing the effects for the first time made for an awe inspiring experience at the movie theater.  I have no issues with Shia LaBeouf as a leading actor.  He did fine as Indy’s sidekick in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and held his own against none other than Gordon Gekko in the recent “Wall Street” sequel.  If Shia has done anything wrong, its the fact he signed up for this cash grab in the first place.  Whereas, I thought this third entry couldn’t possibly be worse than “Revenge of the Fallen”, I was dead wrong.

     Great scripts are made as a result of great characters.  Here are a few of the gems in Dark of the Moon:

  1.  

As played by Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, “Carly” is first introduced to us in the beginning of the film with a famous Michael Bay slow motion tracking shot which starts from Carly’s ankles and rises upward to her rear which clothed in underwear.  She’s on her way to the bed room to give Sam, her boyfriend, a stuffed animal.  And so it begins.  Some of the worst acting you will ever see.  Why they wrote this bumble head into the movie I will never know.  She simply doesn’t serve any purpose, unless to provide the aforementioned 12 year old boys something to look at.  Anyone older has the real thing or would just look at porn.  The script has her getting into secret government bases just because she is Sam’s girlfriend, no questions asked.  She also works for a boss who likes giving her cars as gifts that are valued at $200,000 so Michael Bay can have an excuse to have her exit the said T-Top vehicle wearing a short dress in slow motion.  Her scenes play like commercials. (You be might wondering what happened to Megan Fox.  Word to the wise.  Don’t refer to your direction as “Hitler” when his boss is Steven Spielberg.)  You also have to question the reality of the character Sam Witwicky having girlfriends of this magnitude.  He’s a geek!


Sam is a graduate of an unnamed Ivy League school now and is interviewing in the DC area for jobs he feels are beneath him.  He accepts a job working in the mail room for a company led by an over the top John Malkovich character named Bruce.  This guy is just plain weird and serves no purpose in the plot either.  While Sam is in his apartment meeting with Bumble Bee and other Autobots, Bruce shows up to leer at them and acts retarded while doing so.  He then disappears for the rest of the movie with no explanation.


3.

The Hangover’s Ken Jeong appears as an employee, Jerry Wang,  of the company Sam works for who apparently has a secret he wants to share.  In one of the most absurd scenes in the film, Wang  accosts Sam and forces him into a stall in the men’s restroom.  There he pulls his pants down in a violent manner as if he is preparing to rape Sam, yet he is just pulling out a scroll he has attached to his leg.  Of course the two are caught by Bruce which I presume was designed to come off with some comedic effect.


4.

Sam’s parents appear out of no where in a $250,000 RV and wearing matching green jump suits.  Not sure what the occasion of the visit is, but they are later told to leave the DC area as soon as possible and are not heard from again for the rest of the film.  They also serve no purpose to the plot other than to just show up and eat some of the 2 hour 34 minute running time that Bay felt the need to put us through.


5.

In order to get Tyrese Gibson’s character from the previous films, Epps, into the story, the screen writers have Sam happen upon him about an hour and a half in.  Epps tells Sam he is now out of the Air Force and working as a janitor!  He, of course, at a moments notice has access to high level fire power and an entire team of retired operatives he knows who are willing to make the trip to Chicago and fight Decepticons!  Give me a break.


6.

Another over the top door knob like character from the previous films is John Turturro’s Simmons who is now a retired secret government agent.  For no reason, we are treated to him filming an interview from his mansion (he is now rich) as he is about to debut a conspiracy theory book he has written.  I thought this character was horrible and out of place in the first two films and he is ever worse here.  Yet another who serves no purpose.

     So there’s six examples of characters who would’ve been better on the cutting room floor,  not to mention excising their scenes would’ve made for a more manageable running time.  Unfortunately, I haven’t ever scratched the surface.  Sam has two baby Transformers that stay with him in his apartment.  To me, they come off like Muppets and are more suited for a film aimed at young children.  Patrick Dempsey plays Carly’s boss, Dylan, who always seems to appear on foot in giant Chicago at all the right moments to foil Sam’s plans.  Maybe an off screen Decepticon was giving him rides?  Even Frances McDormand is seen slumming in this film as a high level NSA agent who upon entering a room has one of her henchman place a pair of basketball shoes at her feet so she can step into them and out of her high heels.

     Dark of the Moon plays a lot like Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!” and if you remember that film, it was meant to be a farce and satire of alien invasion movies.  I’m quite sure that was not Michael Bay’s intention here, though I have no idea what he had in mind.  In fact, he’s lost his mind.  I view this as just another summer cash grab not unlike “The Hangover 2”.  They are taking full advantage of the franchise, but are failing to give us a story worth while. There is no cohesive story to follow and the action is numbing to the point where you realize you have seen all of this before. Why are there now 8 “Harry Potter” films which are always critically acclaimed?  Because they are supported by a strong story coupled with amazing effects and strong performances, plain and simple.  Dark of the Moon has NONE of these going for it this time around.

     To demonstrate how desperate the Dark of the Moon screen writers were, I offer this final example.  They cast the voice talent of Leonard Nimoy as the Autobot leader “Sentinel Prime”.  In a key sequence, they have him say the line “Because the needs of the many, out weigh the needs of the few.”  Stolen directly from Mr. Spock’s classic line in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan!  Homage you say?  No way.  These filmmakers aren’t smart enough for that. GRADE: F-