Monday 4 July 2011
While the plot for Dark of the Moon was a lot better than Revenge of the Fallen, darker in tone and more fleshed out, it is still woefully thin with a lot of useless scenes. Transformers is still the best of the three as far as story. The entire first hour of this film is just filler. We catch up with Sam Witwicky, eternal immature teenager, still trying to get his life together. He obviously hasn’t grown or progressed from the first film, just like Shia as an actor. He’s still short of funds, still drives a piece of crap car and yet, manages to score the hot girlfriend. Popular fanboy fantasy redux. He still whines a lot, too. Then to pound us over the head with how really pathetic he is, we get to trail along as his mommy and daddy arrive to take Sam to his job interviews. Note to Michael and Shia, it's called character growth. When one has survived the imminent destruction of the planet twice, there will be changes. Let me put it terms you both will understand: Think Luke Skywalker from Stars Wars to Jedi. Fortunately, they interspersed this crappy whoa-is-me fest with the alternate Apollo 11 history and re-introduced Optimus and crew.
Oh yeah, Bay also couldn’t help getting back at Megan Fox here. Sam talks about how he’s upgraded from his previous piece, new girlfriend comments on what a bitch previous candy cane was and not to be left out, his parents get in on the picture. It was self-satisfied ego on Bay’s part that had nothing to do with the story. Note to Megan, though you think your boss is a dick, it’s best just to keep your mouth shut. I’ve done it and so have millions of others.
On to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley aka The Replacement Doll. She is more of a lateral move, really and the most vacuous, uninteresting thing about this movie, just like her predecessor. Her character is simply a plot contrivance designed to get Sam to Chicago. I would have tempted him with the deep dish pizza, there’s more substance. Poor Rosie, there’s no doubt she was perfect as eye candy, she looks good, but alas that’s all there is to her. In her favor though, she soldiers through with perhaps the singular most impractical action film wardrobe ever. When she wasn’t posing in barely there dresses, she was wearing something white that looked too awkward to move in without flashing something. She spends the last hour in skinny jeans and needle-heeled pumps, running, jumping, climbing and falling off buildings all without breaking the heels or her ankles. Try that Bond Girls.
The rest of the cast, overall, was pretty good. It was great to see Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson in their respective roles of Lennox and Epps. I think they should have spent more camera time on these guys rather than Rosie. John Turturro returns as the maniacal Simmons while Julie White and Kevin Dunn make a hilarious appearance as Sam’s parents. The new faces include John Malkovich in a rather wasted comedic bit as Sam’s boss and Patrick Dempsey as a self-absorbed man’s man. Frances MacDormand joins the cast as the edgy Charlotte Mearing from National Security, while Alan Tudyk is absolutely brilliant as Dutch, Simmons’ assistant cum bodyguard, who has multiple secret agent talents. Ken Jeong is the other standout as the intense, nerdy, over-the-top Jerry Wang, the man who reveals the Decepticon plot to Sam.
The second part of the film amps up the energy. Holy Hell! The visuals were an absolute marvel to behold. Once the betrayal is revealed and the invasion begins, it is a no-holds barred action feast. I sat watching the last hour and a half of this film torn between slack-jawed awe and full-bore excitement at the apocalyptic destruction. I was rocking back and forth in my seat like an over-stimulated kid. There are plot holes galore, but that does not matter one wit. The f/x make you forget all about a little thing like logic. Bay and his team made the CGI and real-time action seamless. One of the most exciting scenes was with the wingmen who launched themselves off of the Willis Tower. Bay used actual base jumpers. They dove off the top of the tower and soared along the river. We are right there with them as Bay had them wear helmet cams. Incredible!