Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Several reviews suggested that this film would be entertaining. I found the first Transformers film (2007) diverting. It had a sense of play, didn’t take itself seriously. The inevitable sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) cranked up the noise and mayhem. Despite some impressive effects, its story (even for a Transformers film) was weak, and its point seemed encapsulated in the giant toys, the explosions, and Megan Fox’s heaving breasts.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011; dir. Michael Bay) is far worse than I’d expected. It’s profoundly bad and doesn’t even function well on the level of the comic book characters it’s bringing to screen. The few moments of pleasure come from minor characters played by Frances McDormand , John Torturro, and John Malcovich (my favorite; he plays a raving Ayn Rand-inspired tycoon). The main character Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley—well dressed in every scene) seem basically to go through the motions.

Is it really possible that Sam, who has “saved the earth” twice and received a medal from the President, is unemployed?

Many of the Transformer robots have the quirky personalities of Disney or Warner Brothers cartoon characters—they’re types, some of them vaguely ethnic types.

The film briefly haunts us in several scenes with images of collapsing skyscrapers and sheets of paper wafting down from the skies--echoes of Sept. 11.[1]

The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons is a battle between the forces of freedom and its enemies. This film is far more violent than its predecessors, where violence against humans was mostly implied. The thin and illogical story, the often preposterous dialogue, the acting of the main characters, the Transformers themselves, the battles and explosions—none of it mattered.

[1] See Dana Stevens review of the film and its references to the events of 9-11 in Slate:

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