Let's get this out of the way off the bat - despite my initial reaction, REVENGE OF THE FALLEN is and always will be an utterly worthless film. It all but completely destroyed my interest in the movieverse Transformers and convinced me that Bay has no use for any of the elements that makes Transformers special (despite it being one big fat toy commercial). One could liken it to Kitamura's disinterest and impatience for the kaiju scenes in his own FINAL WARS, chopping them together into a story where they have no real impact on the plot.
The first TRANSFORMERS live-action film is certainly NOT a good film, or rather doesn't adhere to the elements that makes a consistent film. However, like FINAL WARS, I find it a guilty pleasure, a simple action film with some cool stuff in it, dumb but harmless. REVENGE went above and beyond to BE a bad film, it seems, as well as do whatever it could to actually be damaging to the audience and its franchise.
Okay, enough of that - what about DARK OF THE MOON? Is it annoying? Yes. Is it inconsistent? Yes. Is the editing all over the place? Yes. Do the Autobots disappear for long stretches of time so Bay can jerk off to military subject matter and a model-turned-actress? Yes across the board.
However, there is one thing I'll give this flick - I don't have to make as many excuses for liking it. In fact, dare I say, I LOVED it? Perhaps.
One thing this film has over the last is perhaps something that I never thought possible in a Transformers product since BEAST WARS (far and away the best piece of Transformers fiction outside of the comics), and that's an emotional reaction. In the first film, Kurtzman and Orci are on creative auto-pilot, throwing in "emotional" beats that only the least jaded child moviegoer would respond to. The second film? Let's just do our best not to talk about it. But this film, thankfully written by Ehren Kruger, actually manages to be creative and not filled with the same plot holes and stereotyped character beats as STAR TREK or TRANSFORMERS. The plot, for the most part, is actually somewhat clever, and had me truly enthralled at a handful of junctures.
The Transformers themselves do get shoved aside every now and then for an ever-increasing and needless cast of human characters. It's nice to make human characters relevant in a TF property, and although it starts out clearly over-the-top, by the final act in Chicago, it actually becomes a Transformers film...at points. Nevertheless the humans NEED to be relevant....it's our damn planet, after all! Generally though, I did enjoy the film. The beginning is quite schizophrenic but things streamline after a bit.
Perhaps the only reason I like this film is BECAUSE I'm a fan. The hatred and disinterest from the last two films for the subject matter is kept to a minimum here.
Here's the rundown for my recommendation:
1. Did you at least kinda' like the first film?
2. Did you HATE WITH EVERY FIRE IN THE UNIVERSE the second film?
3. Do you consider yourself something of a Transfan?
Then go see it.
A few last notes:
- Rosie-Huntington-Whatever surprised the hell out of me. As opposed to Megan Fox, who, well, has no business in film, Carly has something resembling chemistry with Sam/Shia. I quite liked her!
- Don't get your hopes up about Shockwave. He has no actual lines and it little more than a set piece.
- The "war" aspect is finally realized, and that's a big part of any emotional resonance in this film.
- Prime is still a little too brutal for my tastes in this flick, but it makes him a definite badass.
- Expect some surprises if you're a Transfan.
- The effects are ASTOUNDING, and that's something I'll give Bay.
- If you can, see it in IMAX 3D, if not, see it in 2D at a regular theater. IMAX is the only theater built for actual 3D, so otherwise don't waste your money. The 3D WAS pretty good though!
- Buzz Aldren?! Um. Sure, why not? Gotta' give props
- There's a possibility that the Giant Tube Worm of Horror and Face Eating is actually called Razorbeast....I THINK Shockwave calls him that, if you can call that talking.