Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Directed by: Michael Bay

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro

Like any moviegoer, I went into Transformers expecting lots of action and lots of laughs.  I certainly got all the guns, stunts, and special effects that an action junkie like myself could ever want.  I certainly got the laughs too, but I was still disappointed at the end of the film.  A lot is missing from the film that keeps it from becoming a great blockbuster.  It simply does not hold up against the original Transformers.

In terms of the action, the film was perfect.  Using James Cameron's crew from Avatar to shoot the film in 3D was a stroke of genius (though Chicago is no Pandora).  The CGI with which the alien robots are brought to life on screen is impressive as well.  Michael Bay did a great job in putting a film together with great special effects.  He neglected to develop a story though.  With an ultra-thin plot and little or no character development, there are lots of dots that don't get connected in Transformers 3.

Transformers starts by giving us the backstory on what actually happened when man first walked on the moon.  During the 20 minutes that we "lost" contact with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they actually discovered evidence of alien life on the moon.  They found a Cybertronian spacecraft with some high tech equipment.  It crashed on the moon during the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons on Cybertron.  As usual, the government covers it up for decades.  However, Megatron (Hugo Weaving) is aware of this and has been planning for the right opportunity to get his hands on the technology on that ship.   In the present day, the Autobots find out what took place back in the 60s, and all hell breaks loose as they race the Decepticons to get their hands on the technology.  There's nothing in the plot that I couldn't have figured out from the short time spent watching the film's trailer.  It's entirely too predictable even for a Michael Bay film.

Meanwhile, we find our hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) living off his British sugar mama Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).  Since Revenge of the Fallen, he's broken up with his girlfriend Mikaela (formerly portrayed on screen by Megan Fox), graduated from college, and become an unemployed bum.  Sam can save the world and get a top-notch education, but he can't get a job.  This may be the only believable part of this movie given the current labor market.  Of course, he somehow gets drawn into the never-ending war between the Autobots and Decepticons and once again becomes the pivotal figure.

As the film progresses, we get introduced to lots of characters who play somewhat significant roles in advancing the plot, but there's no character development to make these characters interesting or compelling to the audience.  For example, Megatron's spineless lackey Dylan (Patrick Dempsey) is a completely bland villain.  He works with the Decepticons because he inherited his father's business and his clientele (I.e. The Decepticons).  That doesn't give viewers much to work with.  Another example I would be remiss to not point out is the completely random introduction of Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) into the film.  He's supposedly just been off in some random part of the world working specifically with the Autobots who weren't important enough to get a lot of screen time.  He's here in time for the action and to support Sam in his hour of need.  A main character in the movie literally came out of nowhere.

I hate to say it, but I'm a sucker for action-packed films.  Admittedly, Transformers does have some of the best action sequences on the big screen this year (two and a half hours of it).  Unfortunately, that's not going to help raise the movie's Sobriety Test Rating.  Sam's struggles to save his girlfriend (and the world too) simply don't matter.  It may be cool to see LaBeouf and some soldiers sliding around a Chicago building that's getting chewed up by a Decepticon like a piece of steak.  In the end, however, no one cares about these characters because there's no story to make us care.  Transformers is all metal and no heart.  Some drinks can definitely enhance your viewing experience.  In fact, the 3D might look even cooler when you're tipsy.  Transformers gets a 0.09% rating.