Monday, 23 July 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Michael Bay's "Transformers" series has proved to be controversial with critics and community. Some view the films as a great way to spend 2 hours, with dazzling special effects. Others feel they are a waste of time, and that they should never be made. Here's my opinion. I love Michael Bay's original Transformers movie. It's fast, action packed, and it boasts extraordinary visual effects. It's solid fun, and a great movie with a surprisingly thick plot. Then, Revenge of the Fallen came along, and demolished everything the original had. Undeniably one of the worst sequels ever made, it was more of a torture extravaganza than a movie. I'd give Transformers 90%, and ROTF an abysmal 10%. So, where will the latest, and apparently final, instalment of the franchise place? 

After an ongoing war, a Cybertronian Spaceship crash lands on the Moon. The Americans discover this, and soon send out Apollo 11 to investigate. What they discover is a Transformer, unconscious and barely alive. 40-odd years later, and we are back in present day. Optimus Prime has discovered that this has been hidden from him, and he travels to the moon to rescue Sentinel. The Decepticons are onto this, and Sentinel brings back five "Pillars" which can save the world of Cybertron. This all invokes a war, right in the centre of Chicago. Can Sam (Shia LaBeouf) and new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) help the Autobots defend the planet before it's too late? 

Bloody. Bloody. Bloody. Hell. How is this the same guy who directed ROTF? It's not humanly possible? It's such a huge improvement I find it hard to believe. There's so many aspects of it that have been developed from ROTF; the acting, the effects, the story, Rosie Huntington-Whitely. The list goes on. I wouldn't say it was as good as Transformers 1, but, in its own respects, it's a very good film. So, here's the breakdown. 

I've got to start with the action sequences. They are truly unbelievable. It's astonishing. After the first hour and a half, the action comes hurtling in all guns blazing (shitty pun, I know). It's a non-stop attack of slow motion, explosions and guns being fired. By the end, it's quite exhilarating. But it's so worth it. The single scene that stands out in particular involves Sam, Carly and a squad of marines on the top floor of a skyscraper, when it is attacked by the bastard of a Decepticon "Shockwave", and his massive metal driller. It literally tears through the building, forcing it to collapse. Characters are thrown downwards, in what was easily the best scene out of all three movies. 

I also have to praise the acting. In my books, it was a huge step up from the first two. By no means was it Oscar worthy, but it's passable, and much better than it was previously. Huntington-Whitely was a great replacement for Megan Fox, because she can act. She was a good character. I mean, it is Transformers, after all. The humans don't matter, we don't care about them. But, as long as they're well acted, and are given something to do, I'm happy. Some characters are annoying though; Ken Jeong as a workmate of Sam's made for 10 minutes of horrific comedy. I'll get onto that later though. The best character in the film is Shockwave. He is a Decepticon that can hop inside some massive driller thing, just to cause as much havoc as he possibly can. He's a nasty little bugger, and easily the best Transformer from the series. In fact, he makes the original's Blackout look like a ballet dancer. 

Also, much unlike ROTF, "Dark of the Moon" had a coherent story! Yay! Rejoice! Michael Bay has created a story! And a pretty decent one, at that. The first hour and a half of DOTM is almost entirely dedicated to setting up its intricate plot, putting the pieces in place; given us a few twists and betrayals, and a death that was so sudden I choked on my water. It wasn't touching, or tear-inducing, but it was pretty shocking! And there are a couple of intense moments later on, with characters we actually care about in situations that really threaten their lives. 

Now, onto the negatives. Firstly; Michael Bay should never ever be allowed to crack a joke again in his life. Ever. A scene where Jeong's character pulls Sam into a toilet cubicle and pulls his trouser down shouting "Deep wang!" was actually horrific. I was embarrassed to be alive. Not once did I laugh in this 155 minute movie. Oh dear. Also, the pacing was out a bit. We'd get a truly breath-taking event take place, then it's forgotten about for twenty minutes. Then it comes back again! It's just a bit off. But, don't get me wrong. These are just the poor aspects of the film, as I do have to list them. They are overshadowed by the positives, and it is a good film. 

So, overall, this is an astonishing improvement on what could be my least favourite film ever. Almost all the travesties of ROTF have been turned around here. This film's been getting a lot of stick from critics; which I find ridiculous. It's a Michael Bay movie for God's sake! What were you expecting, David Fincher? It was never going to be more than a couple of decent characters, a tonne of sexy shots of a woman's legs and a truck-load of explosions and visual effects. Bay promised us something different here. Did he? No. Did it matter? Not in the slightest. 

To Summarise: A huge improvement over its predecessor, "Dark of the Moon" is an awesome visual - and 3D - treat with surprisingly good acting and story to compensate for its flaws.

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