BOX OFFICE REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The best blockbuster of the season hits the big screen...
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If you grew up in the early 1980s and you're surfing this website, you are or probably have been at one time or another a Transformers fan. Admit it, there's something irresistibly awesome about a vehicle or household item transforming into a robot with weapons, set to do battle against another robot. It's that simple. It didn't matter if you were a fan of good guys or bad, cars or trucks, boats or planes, the Transformers had 'em all and made 'em all cool. And once the cartoon came out in 1984 and introduced us to the likes of Optimus Prime, Starscream, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Megatron, Sideswipe, Soundwave, and other Autobots and Decepticons, it was only a matter of time before we all fell in love.
Four years ago, Michael Bay helped bring these awesome characters to life on the big screen with the 2007 live-action hit Transformers . Followed by an ill-received 2009 follow-up Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the live-action movie series has helped enthusiastic fans of yesteryear and new fans alike get an amazing dose of what is no doubt one of the coolest toy lines and movie series around. Now, we once again have another live-action movie in theaters and, no matter what you thought of the last film, this one will not only knock your socks off but cover you in gasoline, light a match and watch you burn - it's that hot!
The film begins following the events of the last movie, with the Autobots and their human allies (the NEST Teams) continued to fight for justice against the evils our world has to offer (now that the Decepticons have seemingly been defeated). However, all is not well after ancient Autobot technology is discovered on a NEST mission in Russia. The mission forces the Autobots and Optimus Prime to fight Decepticon Shockwave and his gnarly sandworm-like Cybertronian Driller and forces the American government to open sealed documents about the real reason the race to the moon began back in the 1960s. After discovering the U.S. government's secrets, Optimus Prime and his fellow Autobots travel to the moon and discover a lost ship which carries a secret weapon and their previous leader, Sentinel Prime. However, not all is as it seems after Sentinel Prime's secret weapon falls into the wrong hands.
Thus begins what I'm considering this summer's biggest box office winner. Filled with impressive action and adventure, hilarious comic relief, and some of the most impressive 3D special effects ever to hit the big screen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon makes for one of the best films of the year so far. In fact, much like the original Transformers before it, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is this season's "must see" big screen film. It's got everything fans look for in a well-paced 2 hour and 30 minute movie.
As for the cast, the film brings back fan-favorites Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, Josh Duhamel as U.S. Army Colonel William Lennox, Tyrese Gibson as now-retired USAF Master Sergeant Robert Epps, and John Turturro as Former Special Agent Seymour Simmons. The film also adds a few new faces, including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Sam's girlfriend Carly, Patrick Dempsey as Carly's boss Dylan, John Malkovich as Sam's boss Bruce Brazos, and Alan Tudyk as Simmons' assistant/bodyguard Dutch. Each fills a much-needed character type in the film; be it hero, comedian, villain, or a supporting role of some type. The casting is extremely well done and, for those fans who were disappointed to hear about Megan Fox's dismissal; let's just say the film's much better off without her.
While most moviegoers won't go looking for much depth at a Transformers movie, there's surprisingly some great character development that's happening here. In fact, throughout the Transformers trilogy, the series when looked at together is just as much about a story about Sam's growth and maturation as it is are about the Autobots being found and saving the Earth from the Decepticons. Sam's journey continues here in Transformers: Dark of the Moon as we watch him stand up for himself and find his life's calling and purpose, all the while seeking approval, support, and love from his friends and family. At the heart of this eye-candy festival of gorgeous special effects and spectacular action is a very human story which most will be able to relate to. In fact, deep down, the Transformers movies have always been about a boy-turned-man and nerd-turned-hero seeking that which every person on Earth needs: approval and love.
Overall, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the best all-around entertaining and fun movie I've seen this year. It's exciting, sad, humorous, dramatic, suspenseful, and beautiful to watch. And while it's not the deepest story, it probably won't bring you to a higher level of thinking, and some of the characters and script are cliche and melodramatic, Transformers: Dark of the Moon accomplishes exactly what it set out to do: entertain.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.
- Jess C. Horlsey