With Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay was given a job that was impossible to fail: produce something better than Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Did he succeed? Inevitably, he did. However, being a better film than its predecessor does not necessarily make Transformers 3 a good film.
The first Transformers was by no means a great film, but it was good and highly enjoyable. Transformers 2 was the opposite of a miracle. At first glance, it seemed like Michael Bay had ripped out everything that made the first film a lot of fun. In reality, he did the opposite, cranking up everything to a completely incomprehensible level.
With Transformers 3, Bay mercifully dials it down - albeit not that much. This is Michael Bay we're talking about here. The action is still fast and frantic, but if you really pay attention, you'll be able to follow along for a good portion of the film. And while I cannot recall even a small bit of the plot of Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon has a straightforward plot that's too simple to screw up. The bad guys, in an effort to restore their home planet, are bringing their planet to Earth via a Space Bridge. I said it was simple.
Long story short - Cybertron is coming to Earth and we're all going to be slaves and forced to rebuild it.
The key element that keeps Transformers 3 from being the lifeless hunk that its predecessor was is that Dark of the Moon actually has some heart. When the Decepticons are wreaking havoc on Chicago and people are dying left and right, despite how overblown it is, we feel it. We feel the death and the destruction and, most importantly, the urgency to stop the impending doom. Ironically, amidst Bay's frenetic color show, it's the incrediblely slow scenes of our heroes surveying the destruction that have the most impact. It doesn't last and it's certainly not enough to save the film, but at least part of me was on board for the struggle to save Earth.
And Bay obviously knows this, or else he wouldn't have put them in there. He knows what he's doing. He knows his audience and who he's pandering to. This is why those scenes are sandwiched in between scenes of buildings being sawed in half.
I will say this for the action in Transformers 3: it features some of the best 3D I've yet to see. This will mean different things to different people, as some moviegoers despise 3D and everything it stands for. I understand the sentiment and I, too, dislike what 3D is doing to film. But I don't categorize Transformers 3 as a film. It's a theme park ride and the 3D just makes it that much more wild.
Transformers 3 is a series of characters showing up at the last possible moment to save the day. It's engineered to make you pump your fist and cheer. If this sounds appealing, knock yourself out. Chances are you got a kick out of the first two films.
What do you think of Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon
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