Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) ☆1/2(1.5/4) : Again, it’s messy, noisy, and ugly

One and only good thing about “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is that it does not break any ground or bottom – and that is all you have to know to decide whether you will watch it or not. While not worse than the previous movie(Well, who is capable of accomplishing that?), the movie is as bad as the previous one, which, called by me and many others, the worst movie of 2009. Again, this is the endless, exhausting assaults on the sensory neuron system, and, while I was watching it, my mind did care very little about what happens on the screen while getting number and number.

In such a case, it is pointless to discuss the plot. The premise might be a nice idea, but the only reason of its existence is to provide the excuses for the tons of action sequences filled with CGI robots, their loud, disorienting rampages, and the human characters who happens to be there and are condemned to be overshadowed by these massive CGI shows. It is not always noisy, but these “relatively” quiet moments function as something no more than filler scenes to be sandwiched between the action scenes.

Its premise is introduced with the rapid montage juxtaposed with the historical moments in the 20th century, pumped up by that familiar style by the director Michael Bay. Accompanied with the utmost serious music by Steve Jablonsky, it explains us how the Apollo mission was actually a cover-up for the secret investigation of the alien spacecraft that crashed on the dark side of the moon. To make this plausible at least on the screen, they bring a very famous figure, who had a far wittier guest appearance in one episode of “30 Rock” in last year. By the way, didn’t I tell you that the movie got the full corporation from NASA?

The Autobots, our allies, come to know about its existence after another loud encounter with the Decepticons. To prevent it from fallen into the hands of their enemies, they quickly bring it back the spacecraft along with its pilot, Optimus Prime’s mentor Sentinel Prime(the voice of Leonard Nimoy, which justifies many cheap references to Star Trek in the film). But the Decepticons have a new scheme to take over the Earth, and you do not need to guess even for a second that you will hear lots of clashes and bangs and explosions as a consequence.

   Although I gave only 2.5 stars to “Transformers”, I fondly remember how the audiences and I had a good time with these robots at that time. Sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they are so serious that they are silly. Above all, it was entertaining to watch these robots freely changing their shapes between vehicles and their real appearances. I could not ignore its flaws, but I enjoyed its unadulterated charm and wonder with smile.

And I also remember how it lost most of its fun when the climax was decorated with bangs and clashes amid CGI characters. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”(2009) horribly amplified and extended that negative aspect, and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” continues that trend. While there is nothing new about these big, giant robots anymore, these big machines instead destruct lots of things while engaging in the battle to save the Earth and the humanity. Their activities pommel us in every way conceivable by the sound department and the special effect department people, and, thanks to a choppy editing, we do not have any clear sense of direction or space during most of its busy moments on the streets of Chicago. I recognized Wabash Street and LaSalle Street, but where the hell are they going?

Furthermore, the robots are too bland to hold our attention. Unless they are brightly colored like Bumblebee, I cannot distinguish Robot A from Robot B. The most distinct thing about them is they are big, metallic, and ugly – if they are Decepticons, they are big, metallic, and more ugly. After so many quick transformations of theirs, they are far more tiresome then solving Rubix cube. When they are in the action scenes, they become more rapid and messy, and our attention is quickly lost in the aural/visual predicament. At least, there is not anything as embarrassing as a robot humping on Megan Fox’s leg.

The director Michael Bay publicly admitted that he was not proud of his previous movie. He blamed the screenplay problem during its production, but, this time, he  will have a few excuses. It goes without saying that he got the bad screenplay, and he shows his worst sides. The drama is almost non-existent, the jokes hurled at us are uniformly bad(but we get some few laughs), and the characters are as lifeless as the CGIs engulfing them. While trying to be serious so hard with his usual bag of tricks(ponderous slow motion, for example), Bay sometimes goes too far. With the buildings and streets of Chicago bombarded by the Decepticons along with the people fleeing from the city and the papers falling from the sky, this disturbing images are more or less than a mere background for the loud actions. It is supposed to be a brainless entertainment, but watching the people getting blasted senselessly by robots is not something we can watch comfortably. This is the dark area for “War of the Worlds”(2005), directed by the executive producer Steven Spielberg, not for the movies like Transformer series.

  I forgot to tell you about human characters and their story, for they are so trivial and uninteresting in this humongous mess that they did not matter to me. Regardless of whether they are talented or untalented, the actors are equally lost and wasted due to the lousy screenplay. Shia LaBeouf manages to survive, but he loses most of his likability due to his character who becomes less amiable than before(Blame unemployment). As his girlfriend, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is  beautifully stiff and bland. Only she can do well is posing or walking in front of the camera, and I burst out a short laugh when she looked somewhere distantly. Megan Fox, please forgive us, we were too harsh to your talent.

It is also depressing to watch other performers. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Julie White, and Kevin Dunn appear just because of the continuity in the series. In case of John Turturro, he knowingly chews every moment he appears while supported by unstable Alan Tudyk. As LeBeouf’s boss, John Malkovich chooses the same way while getting his paycheck; as Huntington-Whiteley’s boss, Patrick Dempsey really needs to go back to Seattle Grace for the recuperation of his career. Ken Jeong, who has been amusing us with his comic ability, is embarrassingly frantic. I have no idea why Frances McDormand, who has always been no-nonsense in her movies, accepted her role, but, heck, it is cool to share the scene with the big robots, isn’t it?

In spite of so many sounds and furies, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is dull, insipid, and boring in the end. It is not as bad as I expected, but it is the same torturous experience I wanted to forget immediately in 2009. The audiences were silent and numb while assaulted by its tediously aggressive serving of so-called spectacles, and I do not know whether it is spectacularly bad or badly spectacular. Oh, by the way, I watched the movie in 2D, and I did not see anything wrong with that. If you are really determined to watch and endure it, save your money a little with 2D.

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1 Response to Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) ☆1/2(1.5/4) : Again, it’s messy, noisy, and ugly

  1. S M Rana says:

    You tempt me again. It seems better than TCM. A movie where you can switch off your brain, close your eyes, and see it through your ears alone!! May I see one Transformer movie!

    SC: There are more enjoyable bad movies out there.

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