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    June 30, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS DARK OF THE MOON

    TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (PG13)

    Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction
    Release Date: 29 June 2011
    Running Time: 153 minutes
    Distributor: Paramount Pictures
    Director: Michael Bay
    Screenplay: Ehren Kruger, based on "Transformers" by Hasbro
    Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich

    Plot: Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." When a mysterious event from Earth's past erupts into the present day it threatens to bring a war to Earth so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save us.

    Review: Four years ago, producer Steven Spielberg and director Michael Bay defied the impossibilities by pushing the limit of live-action with the movie Transformers. It engaged the cocktail of live human with CGI robots, a heavy metal battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. Of course, the franchise movie is adapted from one of the most popular Hasbro toys line-up and transforming it into a cow-cash machine. Four years gone and after three installments, the trilogy comes to an end. If you are disappointed with the second one, would you spare this last trip? If you have been waiting for this, is your expectation for Transformers series to end at a high note materialized? Read on to know more.



    In Dark of the Moon; the franchise goes back into its mythological roots. In 1961, a group of scientist working for NASA detected a lunar impact and relayed the news to their President JFK. Upon hearing the news, both the United States and the Soviet Union government begin what we known as the space race to send the first human to the Earth’s satellite. Of course, the United States emerges victorious with the landing of Apollo 11 eight years later. After a thorough investigation, it turns out that the lunar impact is an event following the civil war in the Cybertronian planet. With the struggle between the Autobots and Decepticons reached high intensity, the losing Autobots decided to smuggle out an important technology known as “The Pillars”, for which could give them hope for survival and the upper hand to turn the tide of the war. The Cybertronian spacecraft known as The Ark, piloted by the Autobots leader Sentinel Prime was shot and crashed on the surface of the moon.

    Following the epic battle at Egypt (Revenge of the Fallen), the remaining Autobots forged a new alliance with the United States military and act largely independently in dealing with humanity crisis. One day, the team received a distressed military assistance request from the government of Ukraine and the team is sent to Chernobyl. During the operation, Optimus Prime discovers a fuel cell from The Ark that the Soviet Union attempted to use it as a power source, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster. Optimus is devastated at the revelation, insisting the humans lied to them. He knows the content of the cargo, thus launches his own mission to retrieve “The Pillars” and to revive Sentinel Prime. Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand), the Secretary of Defense, is horrified at this revelation as the Pillars could be used to bring an invading army to earth.


    Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who has saved the world twice, feels that his heroism deed is not been fully recognized by the community. Sam completes his college but struggles to get his first job. He also has move on into a new romantic relationship with Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Eventually he gets a job in a mail room but constantly in a high pressure working environment. One of his co-workers, Jerry Wang (Ken Jeong), takes an unusual interest in Sam's activities before revealing himself to be a conspiracy theorist. He passes information on to Sam about "the dark side of the moon" before being assassinated by the Decepticons.

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon is one of the summer’s most anticipated movies. Been a Michael Bay’s movie bears very little meaning these days because the end product is purportedly just your usual Michael Bay’s movie in terms of styles. However, I have to give some credit to Bay because after the critical failure of Revenge of the Fallen, he presents this threequel as a great movie in a package. Certainly, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is not a perfect movie because of the usual boogey slicks of plot-holes, lack of characters development and been overload with stuffs to accommodate the already long running time. Yes, it is unfortunately been so sick but if you understand Bay and look at this movie on its own, you will feel that this is a decent movie itself. There is no question, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is hands down been the best in the franchise.


    The premise by using the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War is very intriguing. It is a smart movie because just like the recent X-Men: First Class, political drama that based on some event s during the high intense diplomatic era can suit up a good core for action adventure. Dark of the Moon does it just correctly, although in certain sections. Instead of merely just filling the movie with explosions and empty plots, the audiences do have the chance to re-access the back story at times and to follow on the idea of ‘conspiracy theory’ inside this movie. The dark side of the moon is relatively unknown to human, thus gives in a great mysterious and playability into the plot. The opening 15 minutes or so is great and smartly setup the story for development. However, the setup does not give the following plot movement some justice. Instead, Bay and screenplay writer Ehren Kruger continue some pretty annoying plot-holes, dragging and nonsense development in certain quarters. It is unfortunate that even with 153 minutes of running time; there are some hollow plots that make the movie less fluid and lack in continuity to bridge the most important scenes.

    Despite the same problem again and again, the installment improves significantly from Revenge of the Fallen. In the predecessor, Bay failed to make things coherent but it is not that case anymore in this one. First, he revisited the mythology root of the Transformers with much more confidence, adding in “The Pillars” into the story for mystical feels. Somehow the general feels are much better in this one than before. Secondly, the plot is more acceptable from the previous one because it has lesser distressed for cheap humors, racism and profanity. Certainly, those annoying elements are being gone for good; the Twins for instance. Besides that, Bay manages to include the realism of humans and Autobots struggle against the Decepticons. Dark of the Moon plays this very well by just looking at the city of Chicago after it was been partially destroyed in the assault. Humans were displaced and killed in the process, while some (if not plenty) robots are also killed in the movie. The genuine feels of the battle assault and retaliation are also reflected in the unusually high numbers of casualties, of much are displayed in more horrific and brutal ways. Yes, if you watch Revenge of the Fallen, you will realize that number of causalities can be single-handedly count. However, this is not the case in this one. To add on some of these improvements, you may at times, get touched by some little amount of emotion. Thus, Dark of the Moon is an overall improvement on how Bay treated the properties in the movie. This is very contrast to the disastrous result in Revenge of the Fallen.


    We all know that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is not focusing so much on its story or acting department. However, I think it will be good to note once again how this is an overall improvement from the predecessor. The Megan Fox replacement in the forms of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is doing her job pretty well, despite not having any experience in acting. John Turturro and John Malkovich’s character are enjoyable and not-over-the-top. These are only a part of how acting has improved, but still been average by standard.


    Otherwise, the effects and cinematography are on top notch. Frantic and fuzzy camera works are largely absence. Some may have know that Bay is sort of notorious when it comes to camera work – especially when the robots are fighting in an epic grand scale may have some of those feels been ruined for that blurry action swifts. In Dark of the Moon, I guess to accommodate the 3D experience, that piece of element is largely replaced with slow-mo action. For the real 3D experience, there is not much I can say considering I have not watch the 3D version yet. It will be, once again, safe to say that the special effects and cinematography are the best elements that channel the story.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 5.0
    Effects: 5.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.2/20.0

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