Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon certainly is the dark of something…


I can’t abide by Michael Bay, and less by this trashy series that is solely meant to make money.  And in that capacity, it succeeds.  It also succeeds in keeping many visual effects artists busy with OT as they create absolutely wonderful animation.  Animation that is completely ruined by lazy screenwriting, acting that boils down to yelling and screeching, overblown direction by a megalomaniac director, and unnecessary camera moves that would make a 12-year-old first-person-shooter vet nauseous.
This time around Lipnicki, or whatever the hell ridiculous name he is — Witwicky, which is made even more stupid every time a deep-voiced robot says it with definitive gravity.  Anyway, Lipwicky, is past is college years.  He’s dumped that hideous creature Megan Fox for a pair of lips named Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).  He wants to make it on his own in the big city, but his swanky transforming Camero is now working with the government, and he must drive around another yellow car that is falling apart.  He is angry that he is not being showered with accolades for saving the world twice.  And so, with a crappy car, a chip on his shoulder, and a hot girlfriend in a downtown loft he could not possibly afford, he goes job hunting.

Sidenote:  If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe NASA caused an information blackout to hide that a huge ship that crashed into the moon, and that our cars are robots from a distance mechanical planet, I still don’t think you’ll believe that Sam NitPicky would be dating a smart, supermodel without some form of high-6 (probably 7) figure income, a nice car, and some sort of power.  In fact, Shia LeBeouf wouldn’t be dating anyone of that caliber in Hollywood without any of that.  He’s a screechy, under-educated celebrity — believe me, I had conversations with one of his tutors on the set of Even Stevens.

Anyway, back to the story — or what Michael Bay considers to be a story.

Carly Botox works for handsome entrepreneur, Dylan No-Last-Name (Patrick Dempsey), who is in league with the Decepticons, and is helping them so that he doesn’t become a slave when the Decepticons bring their home planet of Cybertron through a wormhole, or some other implausible and misunderstood scientific catch-phrase.  This is under the assumption that the Decepticons are good to their word.  But who can deny Megatron’s phrase “My word is my bond, muthafucka!”?  He didn’t actually say that — but clever writing like that would never find its way into this script.

So, eventually, Carly is captured by the present that Dylan gave her — a high-end Mercedes which (shock!) is a Decepticon placed to keep an eye on Nitwicky, who now has to try and break into a secured area where he knows his Camero is working with secret CIA operatives.  He has help though — by two moronic Autobots which presumably are there to provide comedy — or set the movement to eradicate racism back about 50 years.  They and Jar Jar — creating role models for the kids.

Witwicky warns the operatives (led by Josh Dummell’s Lennox character) of the Decepticons plan, and not only must they save the world again — but also Carly.  Because in the grand scope of things, supermodels are people too.  On the way, they pick up some fantastic actors (John Malkovich and John Turturro) and degrade them into one dimensional characters with no redeeming value.  Turturro has no excuse — he’s done this three times, and I’m sure has his mortgage paid off — for all his homes.

Oh — that ship way back on the moon?  That was piloted by a grand poobah Autobot, Sentinel Prime voiced by … wait for it … Leonard Nimoy!!  A fact that the studios were trying to keep secret until the release. Why? I don’t know.  Wouldn’t you WANT to get the Star Trek geek universe to sign up for the Transformers universe? I’m not a marketing guy.  What do I know?

So Sentinel Prime has the wormhole technology.  He’s woken up by the CIA guys, goes batshit, and leaves with the wormhole stick of power, and then joins up with the Decepticons.

Lennox gives last “we are humanity’s last hope/who’s with me” speech.  Military hardware shown in its glory as they fly in to infiltrate Chicago, which is now Decepticon central.  Explosion, explosion, explosion.  Jets and cars, and an occasional plasma screen tv or boombox, transform with the now tiresome “whaa-whaa-whaa” iconic “transforming” sound.  And usually they can’t make up their mind if they should be a jet or a robot.  The jig is up guys — Once Chicago is in flames and people are being harvested for slavery, you don’t need to hide inside the facade of a man-made machine.
More explosions as the secret operatives swoop in on wing-suits in order to evade detection, but more likely Michael Bay base-jumped one time and thought it would be cool to encourage this in children.  The operatives move through Chicago with Witquicky and Lips in tow as they try and position themselves to fire a rocket to destroy the Wormhole Stick of Power which has been planted on top of one of the Chicago skyscrapers.  They almost succeed! When! A huge MAMMOTH Decepticon shows up and plants itself on one of the Giza pyramids and creates HAVOK!  Oh…wait…. that was the previous movie.
They almost succeed! When!  A huge MAMMOTH Decepticon shows up and plants itself in the skyscraper our heroes are in and creates HAVOK!  A huge drilling, snake-like machine that coils itself around skyscraper and squeezing it in the middle like a boa around a boar.  But, with the combined efforts of the Autobots and human operatives, they overcome all odds while dodging missiles in slow motion, falling off buildings, and changing back and forth between vehicles and robots.  Again — I point out…what value does Optimus Prime have as a big rig?  He can earn some extra dough by shipping cases of Coors east of Texas I suppose.

Despite being annoyed by absolutely everything this movies represents, I admire the art behind it — and not the art of the director.  He doesn’t know what art is.  Its the art of the thousands of artists that make cool things that the director looks at and says “Cool!’ or the other thousand artists that have to put up with his bullshit because his assistant gained three pounds and so she’s fat, and she forgot the vanilla in his coffee.  Michael Bay cannot be admired for his direction because these movies lack any form of direction.  Its the people who are able to put these films into a cohesive mass in SPITE of Bay’s lack of talent who should be bowed down to.  I definitely have issues with the art direction, still, after three movies, because they can’t figure out that putting too many things onscreen at one time with no contrast in anything makes the film experience akin to having your faced mashed into some douchebag’s Ed Hardy T-shirt.  BUT, the execution of the art direction is stunning, and I can’t fault all those modelers, riggers, animators, lighters, fx guys, and compositors whose blood I can feel as it drizzles down the screen.

Films like this keep people like me employed.  I just wish it were less painful to do, and even less painful to watch.

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