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Slick’s Nit-Picks: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (3D)

I would like to congratulate Michael Bay for finally doing what should have been done from the first movie in this series. He actually bothered to study the canon source material and put out something that actual Transformers fans could truly enjoy as such. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but what comic book or cartoon-based movie ever is? We have to take what we can get these days. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is the final chapter in the (alleged) trilogy and it is worth most of its hype. Despite hits from Marvel and DC, the season of summer blockbusters starts now.

Other than the characters (minus Megan Fox), the three movies don’t have much in the way of continuity. The first film has Megatron and his Decepticons searching for the Allspark in order to create a Decepticon army to conquer the universe. The second film has Megatron trying find and use an ancient Cybertronian device at the command of “The Fallen,” a former Autobot Prime bent on destroying the Earth. The final film has the Decepticons living up to their name; they ‘con the Autobots into finding and reviving Sentinel Prime so that they can restore Cybertron. Now here’s why the stories suck: Megatron is the scourge of the universe; he’s feared far and wide and few would dare stand against him. In all but the first movie, Megatron is reduced to being someone’s bitch (he’s even called such in this one). The original cartoon Megatron once remarked that he belongs to no one, but this version seems to fit in as a flunky quite well. Here is also why this third story is worth your time. Laserbeak makes his debut in this film and despite being able to talk (the original made vulture noises), he is fantastic. He put Ravage from the last film to shame. Leonard Nimoy makes his triumphant return to the Transformers scene as Sentinel Prime and he kills the role. Leonard Nimoy originally voiced Galvatron (the rebuilt Megatron) in Transformers: The Movie. We also got some real fan service in the form of Shockwave, who looked great but really did not do a whole lot. Most of his “action” involved his pet, the driller. Despite the Swiss cheese plot and the (entirely too many) random human moments, you’ll still want to be in a theatre seat to enjoy this action-packed, fun movie.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

It’s a good thing that a movie like this does not require any stellar performances because none of the “human” actors gave one. Shia LeBouf could have been left out of this movie and no one would really care. The most memorable lines in the movie are delivered by Tyrese and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, with the latter stealing the show when she confronted Megatron. Sadly, that is about the only time she mattered. They even managed to mess up a classic Leonard Nimoy line when he (Sentinel Prime) says, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” a quote from Star Trek. So um, Sentinel, by your own logic, shouldn’t the needs of… I don’t know, six billion humans kinda outweigh that of about two hundred transformers? And let’s not forget when Rosie just stands in the middle of a Chicago street that is a literal war zone, Cybertronian body parts flying all around her. They start giving out Oscars for being a dumbass on screen (or most lip collagen) and she’s a shoe-in. And what the hell with Bumblebee’s voice? You have the full support of the U.S. government and NASA and you can’t fix your favorite scout’s voice box for over five years? Dan Gilvezan (original voice of Bumblebee) recently reprised his role as Spider-Man in a video game, you think he wouldn’t have jumped at this? I think I will just move on from here otherwise I’ll have to rant on how thrown in Sam’s parents were in the film.

The action and special effects of DOTM are where the movie shines, as one might expect from Michael Bay. You never hear me say this but go see this movie in 3D. From the mass destruction caused by Shockwave and his pet, to the agility of Bumblebee, you have at least a good hour and a half of serious eye candy to gawk at. The highway scene drove the crowd nuts. It seems $195M was well spent making this movie and between the inflated ticket sales, increased opening weekend (June 28-July 3) and the gaggles of people who will spend their holiday weekend in theatres, Bay is guaranteed to make his money back.

The best thing about going into a movie with low (or no) expectations is that the only way for you to go is up. I was pleasantly surprised that the only scenes I was sighing at were of the Witwicky family and that even some of the all-human scenes were memorable (Ken Jeong was gold). Of course, I have my issues with the movie being the purist that I am, but overall this is something that the most diehard TF fan can sit back and watch more than once. Had this amount of effort gone into the previous films, I would not tear into them so often. Today is the first official day of release for this movie – you have five, maybe six days to see it and no reason not to because right now there is nothing better out.

You thought I was done? With a Transformers movie, you really thought I wasn’t going to lay into it? I’m gonna say this once and be very clear: THIS SECTION HAS MAJOR SPOILERS AND SHOULD NOT BE READ BEFORE YOU SEE THE MOVIE!!!! Now, I am gonna first give some props to Bay because like I said, he actually did some homework this time. There are nods to the original episodes of Transformers with the concept of bringing Cybertron to Earth and raping our planet for resources. This is similar to the plot of Ultimate Doom, a three-part story from the Generation One series. The big problem here is that it was Megatron’s plan to do this, not some asshole Autobot traitor. The space bridge was never under the control of the Autobots. The original show does not really show who invented the technology, but on Earth it was built and maintained by the Decepticons. I’m glad this is the last movie because I am tired of seeing Bumblebee as a badass. I do like this new character, but let’s get real for a second: Bumblebee got his ass kicked by Rumble, one of Soundwave’s tapes, who in turn got his ass kicked by Spike (Sam). So basically, Bumblebee cannot beat a Decepticon that got beaten by a human – that makes him a bitch in anyone’s book. Speaking of Soundwave, you finally make him useful, but do not give him anyplace on his body to store his minions – c’mon people. And who didn’t see that Mercedes being a Decepticon? I don’t care how rich you are, no one gives a chick a $200,000 car like that unless they are getting some pussy. You bring Wheeljack and Mirage into the picture for what? Wheeljack was a bitch in this movie – he would have never begged for his life. And Mirage was ill, but with all the SFX you couldn’t make him disappear even once? What the hell was up with Megatron? Yes, he got his ass kicked in the last movie, but think about it. He was a Cybertronian tank and jet in ROTF but now he’s a truck. You can get a new transform but no one can fix your face….really? Now there’s the big gripe. Optimus Prime is one of my favorite fictional heroes of all time. One of the things that makes him great is that he had respect for all forms of life. You would never hear him say “We’ll kill them all,” or see him literally tearing Decepticons apart. Making him a cold-blooded killer is just wrong. You also screwed your sequel potential with the end because after this movie makes a mint, you know they will want to do another but you have no Starscream, no Megatron, not even Soundwave or Shockwave. They’re all dead! Why shoot yourself in the foot like that? Oh yeah, good work on Rose Whiteley. Despite her being really goofy looking, I like her better than Megan Fox because she has this thing called a personality and this other thing called…what is it? Oh yeah, acting ability. Not to mention that in the original show, the chick that Sam (Spike) maries is named Carly. See you at the (inevitable) fourth movie.