Transformers: Dark Of The Moon:
Amazingly, With All The Brilliant Homages To Transformers Mythos
Micheal Bay Still Manages To Make Robotic Nightmare Fuel Awesome
For the few of you out there who are loyal readers, and for those of you who know me, you are all aware that among my many geek tenancies, the one that overpowers all is my love of The Transformers, I am the definition of lifelong fan, with a collection boarders on wasting my entire life spent in an eternal pokemon like hunt for new or old ones I am missing, and a collective value to match. I am constantly rambling off trivia about the various versions of the tv show or toys, to the point it annoys most around me. One of the most rambled off facts is how I really didn't care much for 2009's Revenge Of The Fallen, feeling it was made with almost no care or thought or even with out a real plot, almost to the point someone honestly thought because all of us Transformers fans came running like the bulls in Pamplona to anything with the transformers name, we'll pile money into anything. And yes, we flocked to Revenge Of The Fallen in almost Exodus like fashion, but that didn't stop us, myself included, from pointing out its many flaws, but assuming that like with every film series, there is always that one film that isn't as good as the others; with Star Wars its Jedi, with Harry Potter its The Half Blood Prince, with Back To The Future its Part 2, with Dirty Harry it was The Death Pool, and so on, it just happens that ours, we hoped, would just be Revenge Of The Fallen, and thankfully, that assumption was true. For you see, Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon has done what it was ment to do, show us all that Micheal Bay was sorry for how horrible the film before it was, and to maintain a promise he made to us all that the final film in his trilogy would be beyond epic, and oh my, did he ever make this film beyond epic!
What Bay did was almost as epic as his bold promises and statements that he was going to use Dark Of The Moon to make up for how bad Revenge Of The Fallen was, he made the writers sit and watch all of the original cartoon from the 1980s, something both writers stated they really hadn't done "but ment too" and from that, they not only took a plot for the film itself, but found many bits to homage that only us life long fans would have gotten, Bay also made them read what the film's fan consultant felt was the best comic books to give you the feel they're going for as well, which ofcourse lead to even more Easter eggs tossed in for the long time fans, which delighted so very many people, even if some things seemed a tad forced and like they slightly missed the point, but you have to allow for stuff like that, not everything is gonna always work outside the original context, and thats fine. Because what does work is just so awesome that afew weeks after seeing it for the first time, and only recently seeing it again to refresh before writing this, I'm as excited as I was the first time I saw the film, which as any of you will know is an astounding feat unto itself.
The plot of the film itself, is where the homages to the fanbase begin, but I'll explain all of that later. The film starts in 1969 on the day the first moon landing happened, they use the fact that there was that 20 minute gap in footage and broadcast rely to explain that the astronauts investigated and then brought back various things from, a giant space ship that crashed not far from the moon landing site. After that we are transported into the modern era were we once again meet up with our hapless male lead Sam Witwicky who is now living in Washington DC and is trying to find a job, because I guess saving the world twice, and getting a medal from President Obama, not only doesn't get you free college, it also doesn't get you a pretty sweet job working in the government with the robots whom you have helped save the entire world. Yes, apparently, saving the world kinda sucks. But, you get a brand new insanely hot blond girlfriend who works for some high up consulting company, who doesn't care that you were dumped by your last girlfriend for some unknown reason, but you were left with her pet robot who turns into a radio controlled car, and his weird little friend who turns into a laptop, and she also left you with her dog, this is Sam's life while BumbleBee is off doing top secret autobot stuff, which also leaves him with a broke ass old Datson to drive about in, Sam, as you can guess, isn't really all that happy. We then see the Autobots as they travel around the world tracking down any signal of energon they can find, making sure that its not a decepticon. In doing this, they discover, inside the reactor at Chernobyl, there is a power cell that is of Autobot technological basing. Not only that, but its from The Ark, which we found out is the name of the ship on the moon. To say this pisses the autobots off is an understatement beyond all comprehension.
When the autobots return to base, they not only meet a new agent from the Department of Defence whom they must deal with, but accuse her of holding out on them, which she then states she was going to brief them on, or more so, have someone more close to the mission brief them on it, that person being legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who explains he was sent to the moon to investigate the wreckage, and bring back samples and photos of what they see. Prime decides they must take the ship the last group of autobots came to earth in to fly up and investigate the wreck himself. After introducing the ship's crew "The Wreckers" as they're called, and being explained we've not met them yet because they're kept on site at NASA simply because they're, and I quote directly here, "A couple of assholes", Prime and Ratchet head to the wreckage of The Ark, where they discover only a small amount of pillars for what they call a "Space Bridge" they also discover the body of a former autobot leader, Sentinel Prime, whom Optimus claims was autobot leader before he was, and that he disappeared after creating The Space Bridge, a long distance teleportation system. They take him and what they've gathered, back to earth where Optimus revives Sentinel Prime with the power of the Matrix of Leadership. And from there, once the main cast is set, and they discover that Megatron's plan is to bring their home planet of Cybertron into orbit around earth, in true transformers style, it becomes almost nonstop action with bot on bot action, bot on Sam action, and general mindless and limitless ultra violence sent at you via breakneck speed with many wonderful and amazing action scenes, that range from amazing to dazzling to completely outstanding, and it doesn't let up till the very end through all the twists and turns and surprises along the way, Micheal Bay takes us on a rollercoaster ride one more time, and we all love it. All the way to the very end, which it really pains me to leave out a big chunk of the film so you don't get over spoilered or lost shock value, I've been trying to keep from giving way more then the first 20 or so minutes of the film, and well trust me, it pains me to not tell you! lol but you'll all have to see how it all goes for yourselves. I will say this though, the final battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, gets COMPLETELY dark, like, we're talking Deer Hunter POW camp dark, like to the point I actually felt alot of it was a tad TOO violent and unsettling, which really says something.
Now I'd like to explain why this movie was doubly amazing and just plain awesome, it was full of what we in the transformers fandom call "fanwank" or as most of the world would call them Easter Eggs, and let me tell you, this film is FULL of them. The Space Bridge is from the original cartoon, it was a transwarp transportation system that could send you from earth to Cybertron in afew seconds (though to be fair by the end of season 1 they'd traveled there via ship in what seemed like no more then afew hours max, so no one's really sure how far away the planet is), and at one point, in a multi part story called "The Ultimate Doom" where Megatron brought the planet to earth's orbit to try and generate power from all the earthquakes and floods that would happen if another planet came that close to earth, they literally lifted the concept from that episode, that also featured a human working with the Decepticons, however that plot point was more lifted from "Megatron's Master Plan" where he promised a rich business man reign over the enslaved population of earth once they took over everything, when all they had to do is convince the world leaders to banish The Autobots from the planet, and then take over, only be be double crossed. The scene with Megatron sitting on what used to be the Lincoln Memorial is taken from the episode "Atlantis Arise" though admittedly, it was ALOT funnier when you see it in animation form. There are other awesome homages too, The Ark was the name of Optimus Prime's ship in most versions of the mythos, and it normally crashes on earth, and in one case in the series "armada" did crash on the moon, it looked alot like the wreckage in the film. In every incarnation of the series that Sam "Spike" Witwicky appears, he dates and then marries a blond tech genius named Carley, though Dark Of The Moon is the first time she's depicted as British, this was to correct the fact that most of the fanbase were upset at this whole Mikaela Banes thing we had to sit through in the other two films. Shockwave as a solitary hunter is a play on his lone warrior of logic persona from the comic books, and his "pet" the Driller looks alot like a creature from the cartoon called The Dweller who ate the lifeforce of Transformers. And finally, possibly the best fanwank of all, when Laserbeak, the small bird like decepticon is hiding out as a photocopier, he beeps afew bars of the original cartoon's opening theme. I've seen this film 4 times now, and I'm not kidding he really does it, its the greatest thing of all time. Now how the hell is all of that for packing all sorts of fan love into one film? Simply amazing.
So ofcourse now we come to the big question, is Transformers: Dark Of The Moon worth watching? Well the answer is yes and no, it all depends on your taste and point of view. If you're a life long fan of the transformers, then its a must see, hell the fanwank alone makes it almost a religious experience, if you're a lover of action movies, then its a must, its 100% pure Micheal Bay style awesome and explosions and complex but insanely awesome action scenes that go on forever, you'll love it. However, if you are a parent, and your child wanting to go see it, then please, keep the kids away from this one, there is alot of swearing, which really is no big deal, in the 1986 animated movie we had swearing, but more so, this one isn't for the kiddies simply by the amount of dark and twisted violence in it. I'm not kidding, from about the half way point when a major plot point happens, the cast starts to drop like flies, all in very dark ways, infact during the final battle there is a scene where the autobots are lined up like POWs and Soundwave says "Understood, no prisoners, only war trophies", then he and the rest of the decepticons not only execute one of the autobots by means of shooting him in the back of the head, but then they attempt to shoot another one by shoving him down over the body of the one they just killed. Its a seriously unsettling scene, that might be nightmare fuel for the younger viewers of the world. So keep that in mind when deciding if its something you want your young ones to see. So there you have it, possibly the most nerded up review you'll ever read of a transformers film. My only hope is that assuming they do a second trilogy, they'll do more with it, maybe explore pre-earth life for the transformers, or something. So many ideas, but time will tell. So for now, if you're up to it, go enjoy this marvelous film.
And if you still need convincing, here is the trailer...