on January 10, 2012
If you have liked the first two of Director Michael Bay's Transformer movies, you will like this one as well. If you thought Transformers was good, and Transformers: Revenge of the fallen was just OK, then you are in the same boat I am, and you will be pleasantly surprised by Transformers: Dark of the Moon. If you hated them both, then you're not reading this.
The visuals are, as has been the case with this iteration of Transformers, outstanding. The Blu-ray quality is a must in my opinion as the details in the action sequences are spectacular. I personally don't have a 3D television so I cannot comment on that feature, but, the video and audio quality made watching in high definition with an average sound system a very fun experience. The visuals are very clear, the colors look great, and all of the explosions rumble proudly.
The story is, well, good enough. I wasn't watching for the story. I was watching for big robots and stuff blowing up. The story delivered that in large supply. If the goofiness of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen turned you off, I can honestly say that it has been toned down here, and the action, not the dialogue, carries this film. You will have a much easier time believing that giant transforming robot aliens exist, than believing that Rosie Huntington Whiteley chooses to date an unemployed Shia LaBeouf however, when there is a billionaire "McDreamy" Patrick Dempsey knocking on the door.
Overall, transforming robots look really cool blowing up a city, and that's what this disc is all about. Enjoy.
on May 9, 2013
I was under the impression that Michael Bay insisted there wouldn't be any "dorky comedy" in this installment. Nor would there be any slaphappy robots given to crude jokes and slapstick pratfalls. Kindly explain then the two jokey minuscule bots who adamantly protest that they are "not pets or toys." Bay also introduced John Malkovich as a pompous one-joke idiot who goes berserk over the color red. What was Ken Jeong's (Jerry Deep Wang) performance all about if not just a rambunctious mess of dorky humor? Also returning as the butts of all the jokes, Kevin Dunn and Julie White as Sam Witwicky's dopey parents (bought in just to provide dumb jokes only to abruptly disappear once their shtick was delivered). Bay even brought in Bill O'Reilly solely as a joke. And by now, what is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) but a bad joke? Shrill, pouty, and more fidgety than Don Knotts on an off day, Sam has become an obnoxious twit who acts as though he'd like to be anywhere but there, forced to perform all that abrasive comedy.
Exactly what did Michael Bay improve in this installment? He reinvented history, kept the usual number of explosions, the usual number of chase sequences, the vast array of bots (few distinguishable from their counterparts), replaced the officious dolt from the last movie with Frances McDormand playing what ostensibly is the same character doing the same tired, I'm taking over spiel, that the last two actors gave in the last two films! What is this if not filmmaking by the numbers!? There wasn't a new script just cut and paste elements meant to convey the same things repeatedly. No fresh ideas, a foregone conclusion, and a daffy non-romantic romance with a new babe (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) who is clearly more of a friend who's a girl than a girlfriend. I don't even want to talk about Patrick Dempsey.
Okay, yes, sure, Bay finally showed bodies and the killing of people, something he went to great lengths to avoid in the first two films. But as presented here, in this plot, who were the Decepticons going to use for slave labor if they were killing all the people they could get their hands on!?
And now they say there's going to be a fourth installment, sans Witwicky LaBeouf. This begs the question, why keep remaking the same film? If Bay hasn't gotten it right thus far, he's never going to get it right.
on July 9, 2015
THE FILM: Isn't Transformers supposed to be fun? The first one was, and even though the second one went overboard with the toilet humor, it still had its moments. To this threequel's credit, the story is better and more disciplined, though. The first 20 minutes set up an intriguing premise about the "real" reason for the moon landings. Yet it never really follows through with it. After that pre-title sequence it's back to the usual with Sam and company as they try to stop the Decepticons' latest (and greatest?) scheme. For what it's worth, Michael Bay reined in some of his baser tendencies. Sam's parents get a whole lot less screen time, and he ditched the racist Autobots from the previous installment. Also, since he shot this in 3D this forced him to tidy up the camera-work and editing. The visual effects also top everything that came before it. There are some really jaw-dropping visuals that probably looked amazing on a cinema screen, and still looked pretty awesome on my HDTV. On the casting side, he got some more veteran actors to do glorified cameos and add legitimacy to an otherwise mostly talent-starved ensemble. However, Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime was a stroke of genius (along with an obligatory Star Trek reference/quote). What didn't work in the film's favor was the tiresome and endless nature of the carnage and destruction. The last hour of the film is basically an extended action sequence, and it was a chore to sit through. The human drama is clichéd at best, insipidly stupid at worst. Michael Bay certainly doubled down on why the films have been so popular, but it seems like he forgot to make it a little more enjoyable. As a result, lengthy stretches of action were rendered boring and depressing. The score didn't help matters much either. Like the previous two, Michael Bay was content to use the kernel of a good idea and slather it with visual effects and mindless action. He knows his audience, to be sure, but his cynicism is on full display here. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON corrects some of the more egregious missteps of its predecessor, but it unfortunately loses its soul in the process.
THE EXTRAS: This time around, the special features are a little leaner, but still provide a decent look behind the scenes of the film. As with the previous two, the bulk of the material is contained in a multi-part making-of documentary, this time clocking in at around 110 minutes. It covers the same areas (pre-production/development, shooting, stunts, VFX, post-production, etc.), but does so in a more streamlined way. As with REVENGE, it addresses the previous entry leading into the current one. However, this time they talk a little bit about how the reception REVENGE received wasn't as great as they'd hoped. They actually own up to the major reasons why the last one didn't do as well (critically), i.e., the writer's strike and an over-abundance of characters (meaning that they weren't developed that well). They even address Megan Fox's not returning, although they fudge the reason a little bit. Then they go through the usual routine of behind-the-scenes footage combined with talking-head interviews as they discuss everything from the location shooting to the extensive work on stunts and VFX. Particularly impressive in this area is just how much of the aerial stunts were achieved for real. It also boggles my mind how much time it took to render a single frame in the collapsing building sequence with Driller/Colussus (288 hrs for each eye!). And the fact that they accomplished this in roughly the same amount of time as the previous one just attests to Michael Bay's work ethic, no matter how difficult he might be. My favorite part of the documentary was actually the section that dealt with sound design. It went a long way to show how creative the sound team was in coming with new sounds for the different sequences in the film. Besides the documentary, the most interesting feature was an half-hour featurette on NASA. As with the previous film's home release, they have a handful of previs/animatics with commentary, as well as an in-depth look at how several of the VFX shots were achieved and composited, also with commentary. Again, it provided some valuable and interesting information about the work that went into making the stunning visuals. Rounding out the video extras were several shorter featurettes, mostly 2-3 minutes apiece, that cover the premiere, the "Birdmen" sequence, and a longer 9 minute featurette on the sound design. A lot of this had footage that was already in the longer "making-of," but it was still interesting. There was also a rather sweet clip of Michael Bay giving a disabled fan an iPad. There was also a small collection of marketing material, consisting of a couple trailers and a gallery of tie-in merchandise and posters. The other non-video extra is an art gallery with Transformers concept designs, as well as some of the locations. Put together, it is a somewhat slimmer package than was provided with REVENGE, most notably lacking any audio commentary on the main feature, but it is a good one nonetheless.
OVERALL: To be honest, the only reason I bought this limited 3D edition was because it had extra special features. I don't yet have 3D home viewing capability, so I apologize for not being able to comment on its presentation in that way. Still, for the Transformers fan, this is most likely the edition you will want to buy. My actual opinion of the films notwithstanding, they are treated well in these home video editions, so you'll at least get some bang for your buck. And if you watched/bought the previous two, getting this third one is really a no-brainer.
on September 1, 2015
My love of science fiction and fantasy spans many sub genres. For example I loved the original Star Trek and I really enjoy JJA's interpretation of it for be audiences. It's not that Transformers isn't high brow enough for me, it's that it doesn't even throw me a bone. The effects are amazing but the dialog is super, super, I mean super flat. And the gentle voices of the giant robots wear me down. This movie has it's audience and I tried but failed to join it. Maybe the first movie was good but it was not available on Amazon. This was the earliest in the serious I could easily watch. Lots of stuff about the lead character feeling he should get more credit for saving the world twice. I get that, but the story failed to win me over. One star for cast and the other for effects. Script killed the other stars.