Sunday, July 3, 2011

Optimus Prime playing Clint Eastwood as portrayed by Peter Cullen: a review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon

when i watched the First Bay & Spielberg Transformers movie, i was in awe of what it could  promise for the sequels.  when i watched Revenge of the Fallen i was Dissappointed at the delivery but welcoming of the scope of it's mythology and macguffin. and when i watched Dark of the Moon i was pleasantly surprised and amused. but not impressed.

that being said i shall now try to distance the fan in me when making this review of Paramount Pictures' Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  there will be no major spoilers in this review, only my take on the entire thing.

this movie is actually very fitting of an action film and (western) summer blockbuster. it delivers all the things that ROTF failed to, in terms of action, length and epic feel. the entire film plays out like a war film in its final stretch and doesn't play out too much with the plot. this film is a visual treat, with stellar effects and eyecatching sequences. i'm glad i went in not expecting a moving story. all it had to rely on was the premise: freedom comes at the cost of betrayal. indeed there are several parties and characters here all on each other's throats, fighting for the freedom of something, be it cybertronians, people or tradition, and they all betray the same three things i just listed down. 

this whole movie is traitors traitoring traitorers traitoring everyone else.

the ever-moist Shia LaBeouf reprises his role as Sam, who is now struggling for meaning in a world that he feels no longer needs his specialized expertise- alien robots. and the alien robots have a job now working alongside the US military yet again acting as the world's police force. Sam on the other hand can't get a job, until his new girlfriend Carly, (played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) gets him one as a mailboy in Bruce Brazos(John Malkovich)'s company, Accura--something or other, i didn't really care to remember. thanks to Carly pulling some strings with her rich boss, Dylan(Patrick Dempsey) who Sam is jealous of.

that's the first half of the movie. Sam's growing pains. the other half of the story is the sci-fi epic, where prime and crew are alarmed to find their long lost leader Sentinel Prime (sci-fi legend Leonard Nimoy providing the voice) has been found on the moon. how the hell they missed him on their way to earth is anybody's guess. when they wake him up,at first things seem to be tense between the robots and the humans, but later on it all escalates into what Brains (Reno Wilson's character) later calls, a clusterfuck. mind you the transitions between both were jarring, but when the battle for Chicago became the focus,it was smoother.

the autobots still win in the end though, guys wearing primary colors often do. and the autobots in this movie are extremely different from the autobots of the previous movies. they are intimidating, agressive and angry. Prime in particular. there is no vestige of the calm and composed, heroic autobot leader. instead what we see is a man who is tired of the fighting, tired of seeing his comrades fall before him and tired of being betrayed by the people he sought to protect and fight for/with. And he resolves to end it once and for all by murdering everyone standing in his way. it is after all a war. and there are casualties on all sides. 

in a scene reminiscent to the confrontation between prime and megatron in the 1986 movie, prime makes a killing line towards one of the major villains and proceeds to maim him as graphically as possible in slow motion, while angrily blurting out the obvious: you die

he is an unstoppable machine of kill and hate up to the end and it scares me that these are the good guys. 
the villains on the other hand were almost nowhere to be seen until the climax, manipulating all the other characters from behind the scenes. Megatron (Hugo Weaving) gives a feeble performance in this film which deflates his status in myth as Megatron, the Decepticon supreme leader and brutal tyrant, almost close to being senile and useless (not hard for someone missing part of their skull) and died a meaningless death. he deserved more in this film.

Starscream (Charlie Adler AKA 80% of the vocal cast of Cow and Chicken) on the other hand was dead on. conniving, patronizing and cowardly, he still gave out more than megatron in terms of performance in the film.

which isn't to say was a lot. i didn't like the acting of all the human characters, they bored me, and i as an audience member was supposed to relate to them more than i should the transforming cars. no,i was supposed to be distracted by everything blowing up, everyone getting shot/killed and Shia losing his shit all of the time. 

and a lot of the robot characters were introduced but underplayed. we really didn't get anything else character-wise to go by other than:
Brains & Wheelie= comedy relief (but i like them better than the chevy twins).
Dino= italian.
Wreckers= highland laddies(?)
The Professor= the professor
Sentinel Prime= Galvatron (i'm sorry, that's all i could think of him whenever i heard his voice)
Shockwave= who?

aaand that's it, nothing else is to be known or expected of these hi-bye characters.

characters and plot done with, i loved the special effects. They were disorienting,  visceral and engaging, the fight scenes were lively and if i may use the term, beautifully executed. and that, i think is what wins me over with this film. it's your typical popcorn flick. you will enjoy watching it and not thinking, really. 

and since i tend to deny ROTF existed, i can say with confidence that this film is the sequel fans of the movie franchise have wanted, and yes, it is worth your time if you like action, adventure, and the opportunity to look up Rosey Whiteley's skirt. 

this film, it resisted being an hour-long toy commercial for a change (even though mech-tech was alsmost thrown around everywhere),and was actually a decent sci-fi action flick and that, i think is what surprised me. i enjoyed this movie and would love to watch it again when i feel tired of overthinking my everyday life....on torrent of course.

quick Q& A:
was the movie good? yes.
was the story great? no.
is it visually appealing? definitely.
should i watch it? yes, especially if you're a  fan.
did it have a nice soundtrack? meh. to be honest i was annoyed at the parts that had spoken lyrics shoehorned in the scene.
are skids and mudflap back? no, it's like they never existed in this flick. (yay!)
should i have high hopes when i watch it? don't. you'll be a bit more surprised by the end of it all.
should i buy the toys? no, you should buy me the toys.

No comments: