Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
Nominated for 3 awards.
Nominated for Best Sound Editing (Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl), Best Sound Mixing (Greg P. Russell, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin), and Best Visual Effects (Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, John Frazier).
Watched March 11, 2013.
“‘Dark of the Moon’ is one of the few recent 3-D movies that justify the upcharge. Mr. Bay clearly enjoys playing with the format, which is also to say that he takes it seriously.” (NY Times)
Unfortunately, I did not see Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 3-D. I saw it in 2-D, once in theaters and once in my home. Both times I came to the same conclusion–the third film in the series is leaps and bounds better than the second, but despite its amazing effects and sound, it cannot touch the first, and nor will any of the three ever be on my Top 10 list.
The cast in this film is pretty stacked. From the reoccurring Shia LeBeouf as Sam Witwicky (who is always the same, but I love him) and the hilarious John Turturro as Simmons, to the new Patrick Dempsey (Dylan), John Malkovich (Bruce Brazos), and Ken Jeong (Jerry Wang). Megan Fox was fired for her mouth and the new girlfriend is Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly. Like Fox, she’s not a very good actress, but Michael Bay tends to care more about aesthetics than talent in the Transformers flicks.
Once again, the Autobots must save the world from the Deceptecons, but this time they almost flatten the whole city of Chicago. The plot is simple, but it meanders while trying to get from point A to point B. Sam is struggling to find a job out of college and is bitter that he can’t fight alongside the Autobots. Inevitably, after something Decepticon inspired goes down at his new office, he weasels his way back into the middle of the fight and ends up rallying everyone together to save the day by the end.
Carly only serves the purpose of looking good and being a distraction for Sam, both in the fight and in normal life. His parents make an appearance (this time in a Winnebago and matching track suits), the incredible Alan Tudyk has a small role as Dutch, and the list goes on. Despite the small story, the experienced actors bring life and humor to their roles and I enjoyed them individually.
The special effects combined with the sound were beyond breathtaking. Few instances appeared contrived, even when a whole building was collapsing on its side and being eaten by a Decepticon. President Obama even makes a brief appearance (and by an appearance I mean that he was completely animated). Subtleties are not Bay’s directorial strong point, but his attention to effect details is paramount to the success of his vision. Despite this achievement, the story and many times the acting do not measure up to the aesthetic feast on screen.
I know a few people who absolutely swear by the Transformers franchise and would watch the films night and day if they could. If you are one of these people, I don’t need to suggest that you see the film because you probably already have it memorized. If you enjoy amazing special effects, or can appreciate a good sound mixing, this could be the meal you have been waiting for. If story is more your thing, I would look elsewhere, unless you are planning on spending the next two and a half hours turning your brain to mush.