Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third in the Transformers series, is in some ways the perfect summer movie. A movie where you can turn off your brain, ignore reality, and simply enjoy sugar sweet Hollywood mayhem.
The movie starts with a basic concept: that the space race in the Cold War was focused on reaching the moon first, not for its scientific achievement, but to obtain alien technology that both the Soviets and Americans secretly knew had crashed on the dark side of the moon millenia ago. Americans, led by Neil Armstrong, get there first…but keep the information hidden.
Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and Decepticons, led by Megatron, find out about this, and race to discover the hidden treasures in the crash site.
Ultimately, one thing holds back this entire series: Michael Bay, the director. Bay is what he is…fabulous at special effects and action scenes; he loves big bombs and sunset scenes. Oh, and shots of beautiful women (Megan Fox in the first two movies, and replaced by Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in this installment). But he simply lacks the ability to tell a simple, straight forward story.
The one thing going for Bay is that his a skilled cinematographer. He may be the best in the business. And the scenes of alien invasion into Chicago are breathtaking. Here is where 3D really stands out. I have said this before: I am not a huge fan of 3D filming. Other than a few examples (Avatar being the best know), live action 3D just hasn’t cut it. It is stupendous in animation, but not with real people. Well, here in this movie, Bay puts his masterful skills to the test…and passes with flying colors. The 3D action sequences, especially in the last hour, are what 3D filming is all about.
Other than that, this is pretty standard fare Michael Bay. Evil Decepticons want to take over the world. Good guy Autobots will do anything to stop them. Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebeouf) is our valiant geeky hero with a girlfriend way out of his league. The background characters are still varying from annoying to forgettable, and at times, we really have no idea where the story is going.
However…and this is a big ‘but’…the visuals are really stunning. The 3D itself may be worth the price of admission, and doubly so if you are a fan of Ms. Huntington-Whiteley (trust me). The last hour of the movie is Bay at his best: fantastic and unrealistic war scenes and explosion, as the city of Chicago gets virtually annihilated. If you like robots, like aliens, enjoy battle scenes…this movie is likely for you. If you don’t like any of the above, pass on this perfect example of throwaway summer sweetness.