‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ – Review

The History:
I had no desire to see this 3rd installment of the billion dollar toy advertisements in the theater. I was a fan of the first film which I thought did a decent job considering the source. Then I waited in anticipation for the second film which turned out to be one of the worst sequels ever. It was so bad that Director Michael Bay and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura have pretty much apologized for that film. So why didn’t I wait for eventual Blu-ray release? Well I’ve been on vacation visiting family and it was something to do on a Friday night in a small town.

The Setup:
Although the story is much less convoluted than #2 it’s way too long. They’ve taken the time to rewrite the history of the 60’s space race hence the “Dark of the Moon” title. In pure Michael Bay fashion it’s completely over blown and totally preposterous which would be fine if it wasn’t taken so seriously. Do we really need an overlong, drawn out back story that rewrites history just to watch a loud crazy action spectacle? Especially since the film ends up exactly where you expect it to in the first place: a major finale’ battle royale…

The Execution:
And what a battle it is! If you’re looking for pure summer spectacle ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ delivers. Unfortunately it really doesn’t show up until two-thirds of the way through the 2.5 hour running time. What is delivered however is quite spectacular and mostly makes up for the boring earlier stuff.
Two highlights being:
1. A car chase that features a super cool moment when Bumble Bee transforms from car to bot while Sam is riding inside.
2. A truly thrilling sequence when Sam and the gang are trapped in a skyscraper that is being devoured by Shockwave’s Cybertronian Driller (that’s the giant “snake” bot seen in the previews).

On the plus side ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ shows that Bay and Co. did listen to some of the complaints generated by #2. There’s a lot less stupid humor and they made the action much easier to follow. Now if he could just get a really good editor and learn to how to portray levity ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ might have been more fun and comparable to the first installment.

The Bottom Line:
Way better than #2 but still not all that great. This 3rd installment was a surprise to me mostly because I enjoyed it despite itself. That said I really have no need or desire to sit through a 4th, which given box-office performance I have no doubt will be made.

Rated PG-13: In theaters now.

Note: I saw the non-3D version of the film. If you’re wondering to 3D or not, I say go for it. I imagine the action is even better in 3D. Plus this was actually filmed in 3D so I have no doubt it looks great.

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