Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (a.k.a. TF3)
If you read my blog yesterday on Transformers 1 & 2 you know that I'm not a huge fan but I've come to realize that watching them in the right mindset is the key. They're guilty pleasures and if they were shorter they'd have been much better. Well since the third installment, 'Dark of the Moon', is actually the longest yet, at two hours and 37 minutes, I was more than a little concerned. Nevertheless, as is often the case, my expectations were exceeded. It's actually pretty good and definitely the best of the three. It's bleaker and more mature, an even more intense ride that doesn't let up, and yet actually contains kind of an epic storyline with a real sense of high stakes danger. It's almost like it was made by someone completely different than the first two, yet once again it's Michael Bay at the helm. Is Michael Bay evolving as a filmmaker? I mean, we all know he can make larger than life pictures and blow stuff up like no one else, but he's not typically known for quality film making. And yet, this one kind-of sort-of is. In a way it's one small step for Bay and one giant leap for Bay's kind.
As before, the humans are pretty entertaining. Returning are Shia LeBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, and Julie White and Kevin Dunn who are consistently enjoyable as LeBeouf's parents. And I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I missed Megan Fox. Fox is actually pretty good at playing the bad-girl / damsel-in-distress. On the other hand, her replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, really isn't. She's a model not an actress and it shows. But the other name players they added, including John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, and Ken Jeong, all really bring it.
But what surprises me most is that, unlike the previous two, the transformers don't detract from the film. They're fairly engaging. And the action scenes and visual effects are downright astounding. (Although I guess that shouldn't be a surprise at the rumored $400 Million budget.) I'm not normally one for long action sequences, visual effects, or gimmicky 3D but it all worked really well on the big screen. Heck, the film didn't even feel long. Am I going crazy?
Now don't get me wrong, this is not an A or even an A-. I haven't lost my mind. But considering expectations (mine and those of many critics and moviegoers), it was a very pleasant surprise and a pretty good popcorn flick for the summer.