Talk about an orgy of visual effects… a feast for the eyes… unlimited eye candy. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is all that and then some. My mind is still trying to absorb and relish all of the special effects goodness. It’s like trying to hold on to the best parts of an amazing memory before it fades away.
Director Michael Bay (“The Rock”, “Armageddon”) has always been one of the most visionary action directors in Hollywood, and he proves it once again with the third installment in the “Transformers” franchise. While most would agree that the second film, “Revenge of the Fallen,” was a big mess despite its amazing visuals, “Dark of the Moon” brings the franchise back in a big way, being the best out of the three.
The film opens with a stunning scene of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons on their home planet of Cybertron. In an attempt to save the planet, Autobot leader Sentinel Prime escapes in a ship with secret cargo that’s the key to preserving their race, but crashes into the dark side of the moon. NASA detects the crash and hurriedly builds a spacecraft under the guise of space exploration, thus revealing that the first steps on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were actually the first steps of a covert alien investigation.
Meanwhile, in present day, Sam (Shia LaBeouf) finds himself unemployed despite saving the world not once, but twice, and even earning a Presidential honor for it. He eventually takes a job in the mailroom of a prestigious communications firm, working for Bruce Bazos (John Malkovich). His new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) supports him unconditionally, but Sam is wary of her close relationship with her billionaire boss (Patrick Dempsey). When Sam’s conspiracy theorist co-worker (Ken Jeong) divulges information to him about the true reason for the 1969 moon landing, Sam find himself in the thick of yet another war between the Autobots and Decepticons.
Thankfully the plot is at least cohesive and interesting in this film, unlike the second one, where I didn’t know what was going on half the time. But we all know that the true lure of a “Transformers” movie is not the story, but the robot carnage, and here, it’s plentiful and glorious. I love the intricacy of Bay’s action scenes and the fruits of his weeks, if not months, of labor are all beautifully displayed on the big screen as magnificent spectacles.
The “money” sequences — where Bay slows down the action so audiences can fully appreciate the wonder of it all — are numerous and often jaw dropping. One of them even gave me chicken skin. Bay also adds in some crazy human stunts, a thrilling sequence where the characters try to escape a toppling skyscraper, as well as really cool bat suits that the military soldiers wear while jumping out of planes.
This is one of the few films where the 3D effects, which are truly amazing, actually enhances the film experience. IMAX 3D would be even better.
If it sounds like I’m gushing it’s because this film is truly the movie event that we’ve all have been waiting and hoping for during the summer blockbuster season. If you temper expectations and just sit back for a good time, this film will deliver. Stunning visuals, a comprehensible story, lots of humor and even an excellent score all make “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” THE movie of the summer so far.