Monday, July 11, 2011

The Dark Side Shines

Optimus Prime and his Auotbot cronies get all Pink Floyd on us in Michael Bay’s latest covert robot action-fest; Transformers: Dark of The Moon
THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): There is much to compare this with, and nothing at all at the same time. Transformers started off as toys and quickly moved to cartoons and then comic books. The movie was consistent with everything that came before...leaving all the main elements in place while breaking new ground. The formula is the good guys versus the bad guys, with humans caught in the middle. With that recipe, there's a whole lot you can do...and still stay on topic.

ARTH VADER (AV): Well said old friend – the Transformers are back! Transformers: Dark of The Moon (DoTM) features loads of great looking action sequences, dizzying special effects and enough campy dialogue to make my your head spin like the rims on a tricked out street racer. Like all T-formers movies, it’s fun, lightening fast, the story doesn’t make much sense while loaded with tons of cool stuff to look at. Once again, the AutoBots are outnumbered and outclassed by their Decepticon adversaries with the deck stacked against them as they once again try to save our little world.
Casting, Directing and Acting

All the usual suspects have returned for the third installment of the trilogy with the addition of three key newcomers.; Grey's Anatomy heartthrob, Patrick Dempsey, the sassy Francess McDormand as the new US intelligence chief and the stunning Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as the over-the-top hot love interest. Once again, Shia LeBouf’s character, Sam, has the seemingly unfathomable ability to attract absolutely gorgeous, hyper-intelligent and sophisticated female partners. Such was the case with Dark of the Moon. Huntington-Whiteley’s character is unbelievably sensual, more mature and light years more sophisticated than Sam.
(TP): Everyone that was expected...was there. The acting of Labouf was classic him, laden with his special brand of humor mixed with dramatics. Patrick Dempsy should consider villainy his calling because he is excellent at it. The biggest surprise and treat for me was Leonard Nimoy as Sentinal Prime...simply awesome. The directing was exactly as expected given this is to be a summer blockbuster film.

Special Effects
(TP): It was a mixed bag. There were parts of the film where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing because it was so shoddy. I felt like I was back in Disney World in the Hall of Presidents at one point. Very poor work when it came to our past Commander’s-in-Chief's. The other side of this coin is the action sequences. Many times the crowd clapped furiously for a job well done...while I sat in disbelief at how awesome it was. There were more great effects than bad...but the bad were really bad.

(AV): Agreed. The special effects in this movie are as impressive and mind-blowing at points. Each T-formers movie outdoes its predecessors and DoTM is no exception! The ultra-detailed mech-transformations are mesmerizing. Watching this movie is like eating pop-rocks and drinking a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola and washing it down with a hot fudge sundae. Your senses can’t seem to get a bearing on what’s happening and its way over the top – but you know you like it!
The Decpticon invasion of Chicago is chillingly life-like and marks one of the first times I recall seeing people dying, which adds a sobering dimensionality to the story. The first movie had a magical quality this movie very definitively re-captures. As always, a little over-done, but somehow, I just didn’t mind it.
(TP): I agree Vader, the devastation of Chicago had a profound realism to it that was heavy on the emotions.
Taking A Deeper Look
(AV): The audience is treated to a deeper storyline concerning the war on Cybertron, and as always, there is a noticeable lack of believability, a problem evident in all T-formers movies. I think a race of transforming mechanical beings should somehow feel more sophisticated and less… primal. In truth, I love the ongoing battle between the Autobots and the Decpticons but the fight always seems unbalanced and the true details are again left unexplained.
(TP): Plenty of action and tons of comedy kept this movie afloat. The surprise appearance of John Malchovic was refreshing and led to some ecstatic humor. The movie used the same formula we’ve seen hundreds of times, big explosions, slow motion sequences, hair raising close calls...but was a tinge heavier on the comedy. I found myself laughing more than being blown away by the action and effects...and that wasn’t a bad thing. If you like Shia LaBeouf’s dramatic humor, you’ll love this film. If you don’t...ah well.
(AV): Mr. Bay, Can’t we have a few cool Autobots? Like, Tyrese Gibson’s Epps character exclaims; “How come the Deciptcons always have the cool sh*t!” I agree! While I love the cool cars, is that all the Autobots get? The D-cons become tanks, fighter jets, construction equipment – and even boom boxes (Ok, we did have one turn into an SR-71 spy jet in movie two, Revenge of the Fallen). I almost want to go back and look to the animated series for other Autobots, like the Dinobots. I know product placement of key cars and trucks, like bumblebee’s Chevy Camero, are important product placements, but they need something more substantial. This is an intergalactic war after all. I like that Optimus Prime is such an ass-kicker, but the A-Bots need a serious shot of coolness.
Looking Ahead: Sequels
(AV): To be honest, Pontificator, I was kind of done with the Transformers movies after the last installment (Revenge of the Fallen) but this movie redeems the franchise and was slammed out in just 24 months. I think this movie helps put the series back on track and gives us hope that, if we’re treated to a fourth installment, we wouldn’t throw up in our mouths like we had to in movie #2.
The following is too early to confirm as being more than a rumor... but well, judge for yourself; Transformers 4
(TP): A sequel? Nope...this was it. This should be it. They had a great three film run, lets call it at trilogy, and look forward to the complete disc set. Too many main characters are now dead and to start something new after this would degrade what has already been done. It’s been a great run....
THE PONTIFICATOR Rates Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon: It’s a mixed bag of special effects but plenty of action and comedy to make this a really fun movie. If this was to be “the” summer blockbuster to define 2011...then it should have busted more than seven out of ten blocks.
ARTH VADER rates Transformers: Dark of The Moon: In summary, this movie is loads of fun with dizzying special effects and a decent enough story. One always has to give a pass to these movies because at the core, they are based on a line of toys. That said, Dark of The Moon is fun, fast paced and is a fitting third installment to the franchise. With a big hall pass given for (lack of) story depth, I highly recommend this film. I give this movie eight Energon cubes… err, busted blocks and if you can, see this one on the big screen.

Transformers: Dark of The Moon: 7.5/10 Busted Blocks