run time: 150 mins
considered: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
director: Michael Bay
starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong, Glenn Morshower, Lester Speight, Buzz Aldrin
movie summary: In the early 1960’s humans recorded an epic crash of something on the moon, President John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon did everything in their power to get to the moon to discover what it is. By 1969 astronauts landed safely on the moon to find a spaceship from Cybertron with an Autobot still strapped in the pilot’s seat. Fast forward to present day where the Autobots have teamed up with the US Government to help take down any Decepticons that are left on earth. When Optimus Prime gets word about the ship he flies to the moon to recover Sentinel Prime who turns on him and sides with Megatron to take over the world. When Sentinel Prime and Megatron go to Chicago to launch their earth ending devices, Optimus enlists Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) to lead the human crusade against the Decepticons.
A lot has happened since the events in Egypt in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Sam and Mikaela Barnes (Megan Fox) broke up but lucky for Sam he met a beautiful girl named Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) at the White House during his medal ceremony. The military team NEST led by Major William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) has broken up and are now under the control of the mean spirited Director of National Intelligence Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand). She doesn’t play games and won’t allow Sam any contact with the Autobots or Bumblebee. In a weak economy and armed with a college degree, Sam struggles to find a job and now drives a junky car. He’s under a lot of pressure from his dad Ron (Kevin Dunn) and mom Judy (Julie White) to find a job and stop living off of Carly’s coat tails. Carly meanwhile works for her ex-boyfriend Dylan (Patrick Dempsey) who is very rich and powerful man with a stunning collection of cars. Sam is very threatened by Dylan even though he is the one currently with Carly.
Director Mearing informs a very pissed off Optimus Prime about the ship on the moon, he can’t believe the government has kept this secret from them for years when the ship could in fact contain a way to rebuild their planet. When Optimus flies to the moon and recovers Sentinel Prime, he is brought back to life in Washington DC when Optimus merges the Matrix of Leadership into his chest. Sentinel roars to life wanting to kill everything in sight, Optimus calms him down enough to explain the situation when Sentinel cuts him off to tell about the pillars in the ship. These magical pillars can be used to link planets and universes, it was the tool that was going to be used to save Cybertron only they got lost in the final battle. Upset at the fact the humans have taken the pillars and stored them away, Sentinel turns on Optimus and calls upon Megatron, who has been hiding in the desert, to help collect all the pillars the government has been hiding. Sentinel and Megatron plan to put the pillars together to form a space bridge that will bring Cybertron to earth and turn humans into slaves.
Sam learns of this plan and tries to convince Director Mearing to let him be a part of Autobots team. She flat-out refuses even though they have a history, she doesn’t think that highly of him no matter how many heroic things he has done. Sam decides to contact Simmons (John Turturro), who is now busy promoting a best seller he just wrote, into getting involved again. Simmons and his super agent bodyguard Dutch (Alan Tudyk) begin to trace the whereabouts of the pillars so they can report back to Mearing their findings. While on route to Washington the Decepticons attack leaving Simmons in a wheelchair after his car is destroyed. Sam reaches the Autobots hangar just when Sentinel is blowing everything up to steal the remaining pillars.
Sentinel takes to global TV to inform the governments of the world that if they want to save their planet the Autobots must leave, failure to comply with this request would bring an end to mankind. Director Mearing orders Optimus and the rest of the Autobots to head to Florida and board a speciality design spaceship to carry them from the planet. Carly and Dylan get together for a business dinner when Sam interrupts to pull Carly aside to explain the situation. Dylan follows them outside where he has his bodyguards beat Sam up. Dylan has been working for the Decepticons the whole time and knows of Sam’s involvement with the Autobots. He kidnaps Carly forcing Sam to make sure the Autobots are leaving and not coming back. When the Autobots reach Florida they are greeted by Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) who has been semi-retired working with Autobots on spaceship designs. Sam, Simmons, Lennox, and Epps are all really sad to see their Autobots friends go but understand the circumstances.
In Chicago Dylan helps Sentinel and Megatron set up their headquarters to lauch the device that controls all the pillars. After the Autobots disappear Sam vows to go rescue Carly, Lennox, Epps, and Simmons think he’s crazy while Director Mearing don’t care what he does because he’s on his own. Epps agrees to round-up some military friends and break into the city which is now under lockdown. Decepticons across the universe have made their way to Chicago and have begun to blow every tall building up creating a barrier around the city so no one can get in or out. Sam and the gang manage to get into the city but armed with only a few machine guns they are pretty helpless against the mighty army of the Decepticons.
my thoughts: There are not a lot people out there who love Transformers movies past the first installment of this epic franchise. Most people blame the stupid storylines, crazy characters, the idiot director, and over the top special effects. I hate to be the one to break it you guys but Transformers: Dark of the Moon is all those things rolled into one long 154 min movie that currently sits in seventh place on the all-time highest grossing movies list. (I did help it get there considering I saw it three times, but that’s besides the point.) All the haters out there are allowed to complain because they did actually spend the money to sit down and be entertained, but all those dollars do is force the studios hand at coming up with another movie. When a movie bombs it kinda goes away, Transformers is a major success with people so it allowed to carry on.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon takes the ongoing war between Autobots and Decepticons to an all new level by destroying America’s third largest city in an attempt to unrealistically bring their home planet to earth. According to Transformers: Age of Extinction only 130,00 people die while Transformers battle through skyscrapers destroying everything in their path. The special effects for the epic battle to save Chicago is turned up when buildings crumble and explosions happen around every corner. The weapons are also given up an upgrade to counter the powerful new Decepticons like Shockwave who has his own mechanical snake that eats everything its path. These events may not be for everyone which is kinda sad considering how amazing everything looks on the big screen and in 3D.
Since 2007 the war between Transformers has involved humans, in Dark of the Moon the humans take up a good portion of the story. Sam, Carl, Lennox, Epps, and the rest of the military guys face death every minute as they race from building to building looking for a safe haven to launch a rocket at the control pillar. There are some scenes when the gang jump out of the windows of a falling skyscraper, slide all the way down, only to crash-land back into the falling building. As unrealistic as it may be it is gripping and thrilling action. You will sit on the edge of your seat and wonder how on earth they will survive. When the reinforcements come, Lennox teams up with them and in order to get closer to the building and take down the Decepticons, this group of military guys need to paraglide back into the city. I know I don’t have the nerve to perform such heroic feats but I admire these guys for the efforts they are willing to put forth in a war that isn’t even theirs.
Shia LaBeouf makes his final appearance in the series as Sam, thankfully so, because he spends half the movie wanting to be recognized as a hero and then the other half performing crazy stunts to become a hero. I was very sad to see Megan Fox not return and know there are a lot of people who find Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to be more attractive, but she just doesn’t appeal to me like Fox did. This is also the last time we findJohn Turturro as Simmons, he was always around to give us some laughs when we least expected. Also making final appearances is Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson, who have spent years upon years fighting side by side with our alien friends. Their wit and wisdom was sorely missed in the fourth installment but they were supporting characters throughout the franchise that helped sell the unbelievable story to audiences. The only major character I did not like in this film was Frances McDormand, I can only recall seeing her in a few others movie but wow was she a bitch this one. She was the kind of person I wish was in Chicago fighting on the front lines just to have the slightest clue of what she was talking about.
One other thing I haven’t mentioned in previous reviews is the musical score by Steve Jablonsky. He is the mastermind behind each Transformers movie and I have to admit that Dark of the Moon is his best work, it’s bold, powerful, and inspiring.
my final thoughts: Transformers: Dark of the Moon made $1.2 billion dollars (which divided by $15 means 80 million saw this movie) at the theatres during it’s run. If you have seen one movie you have kinda seen them all considering the only changes are a few minor characters (that no one misses) and a new setting for another epic Transformers battle. This special effects masterpiece will once again showcase the Autobots as the superior race while finally putting down the Decepticons once and for all.
my star rating: 9 out 10
imdb.com: 6.4 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 36% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 1 out 4