Thursday, July 7, 2011

Movie Review: A Little Boy's Dream Transformed

Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie poster, image property of Paramount Pictures.
Transformers:  Dark of the Moon AVERAGE

Every little boy playing with his Transformers action figures grew up fantasizing about fast cars and fighting robots and big explosions.  For hours he would orchestrate epic battles in his head, giving his favorite toys cheesy one-liners as they came out victorious.  As that boy entered puberty, the only other thing that preoccupied his mind was a hot girl in stiletto heels and a short skirt.  And now that boy can pay out the nose for a movie ticket to see those two things combined in glorious 3D on the big screen!

Unfortunately, I was never a little boy.  Well, at least not that little boy.  My childhood was spent coloring in my coloring book, watching Disney movies and playing with stuffed animals or dolls.  Quite the opposite of a Michael Bay movie.  That being said, I was surprised that I did not hate Transformers:  Dark of the Moon.  In fact, not only did I “not hate” it, but I actually kind of liked it.  I guess somewhere deep within my psyche there is in fact a little boy who likes big toys that go boom! 

Shia LaBeouf stars as Sam Witwicky, the young man who is on friendly terms with the Autobots and has helped save the world a couple of times already.  He even got a medal from President Obama!  All his achievements still can’t land him a job, but he sure manages to get pretty girlfriends.  Megan Fox is missing from this movie and instead his new girlfriend is played by model Rosie Huntington-Whitely.  The new girl’s name is Carly, and apparently they met at the White House when he was getting his award from the president.  Or something.  Who knows?  They are in love now, okay?

The Decepticons are up to something despicable—they are bad guys, you know—and the government, along with the Autobots, have to stop them.  I don’t want to give the plot away, partly because it’s unimportant in a movie like this and partly because I’m not sure I understood it all anyway.  Just know that it involves the U.S. moon landing in 1969, pillars to a space bridge that can rebuild Cybertron, and an hour long battle in Chicago to save mankind.  Where Transformers really shines is in the special effects.  They are really, really good.  Like really good.  So freaking good.

I thought the action in this movie was a lot of fun to watch; delightfully cheeky at times and sometimes really thrilling.  I don’t normally like these sorts of things, but for a moment I could see the appeal.  Sometimes it’s nice to not have to think at all.  However, I do feel that the movie could have been trimmed down a bit.  With an almost three hour running time, watching so much shooting and yelling and destruction can kind of wear a person out.

The movie’s characters were all underdeveloped, but I find that it’s more excusable in a movie based off a Hasbro toy.  I still managed to like the characters played by Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, and John Malkovich a lot.  They are just really talented actors that can really turn a pile of crap into gold.  I’m also a fan of Shia LaBeouf, who is really good at playing the everyman.  And he’s cute.  He’s probably a big reason why I enjoyed this movie as much as I did.  Because like I said at the beginning, I wasn’t your typical little boy (wink, wink).

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