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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Transformers 3 Movie Review


Welcome back pardners to another edition of the Chaos Corner. This time, I'll be reviewing Transformers 3, which I saw Friday. This is a bit complicated, so before I do the basic good/bad section, let's start with a couple of preliminaries:



First, does a movie have to be smart to be entertaining- particularly Science Fiction? Certainly, the best movies accomplish both at the same time. Whether it's Empire Strikes Back, Inception, or Alien, Sci-Fi can bring up new ideas, be involving, and entertain with great ease. Then, there are those movies that are smart, but don't do a good job of engaging the viewer. I know this is heresy, but that is how I've always felt Blade Runner- it's a bit dull. It's a marvel in terms of effects, and has many ideas, but the movie itself feels cold somehow. This brings me to Transformers. It is NOT a smart movie. Not by any means; anyone expecting that from this franchise and Michael Bay must be from another planet. Being smart wasn't even a consideration. So, can a moviegoer see T3 and just be "entertained"?

Second Preliminary- what role should 3-D have in movies? I have, to date, not been a fan of 3-D. I think that the process makes the film too dark looking, almost a gray wash over the film. I also think that it is poorly handled by filmmakers. The 3-D rarely adds anything to the movie. Last, 3-D gives me headaches. I take off the glasses constantly because of it. Is 3-D worth it? Transformers 3 has adveristed itself as a big 3-D release. Does 3-D make a difference here?

Third Preliminary-  I have loved Transformers since I was a kid. As a child of the 1980s, Transformers was a staple (like GI Joe, Voltron, etc.)- I still have many of the old toys. However, I am not a fanatic. It was a part of my childhood; I do not spend my time thinking about Transformers or watching the old cartoons. As for the movies, I thought Bay's first entry was entertaining, but that's about it. The action was good, and I loved that they got Peter Cullen back for Optimus. For Transformers 2- ugh! What a terrible movie. I won't drag it out here, suffice to say that I was disappointed in the whole thing from start to finish- the Fallen defeated in 10 seconds is ridiculous, they made poor use of Devistator, etc. So, Bay is 1-1 for me. Can he pull this one out?



That being said, what did I think about Transformers 3?

The Good: The movie IS indeed entertaining. There was a ton of action. The battles were very clear and sharp enough to follow. And yes, the final hour of mayhem in Chicago is as thrilling as anything recently put to film. Cullen was again great in the role, but now he's aided by Mr. Spock himself as Sentinel Prime. Nimoy is no stranger to Transformers, and it was nice to see him back here as Optimus' friend and mentor. Also helping was the fact that Bay finally "got" Starscream a bit, with him being unduly obsequious to Megatron. Having Frank Welker do Soundwave again was also a bit of fun. Shockwave was awesome, though he says little, he and his "assistant" are fantastic. The movie slowed down just enough to breathe, and then got right back to it. And then, of course, there was a "twist" to the story. Yes- I would never have expected such a "twist" from Bay, and when it happened, I couldn't believe that not only was it clever, but he sent out a clear sign early on, and I missed it. As a nerd, it was very nice homage (in more ways than one). Finally, the 3-D was great. I couldn't believe all the action (robots being decapitated, buildings destroyed, etc), and the 3-D actually served the action (instead of the other way around). I didn't even get a headache, and I would recomend seeing this in Imax 3-D if possible. 

The Bad: Yes, there are still many problems with the plot itself. Indeed, it doesn't even sync up with Bay's other movies, continuity wise. Then, there are some stupid jokes throughout the first half- ugh. Not funny at all. Then, there were some wierd performances (John Malkovich? Seriously?) that detracted from the film. And, of course, Shia LeBouf and his girl/job troubles were little more than a distraction, even when Bay tries to wrap it all together. Speaking of, the new Megan Fox isn't better than the old one. No one cares- we're here to see Transformers, nothing more. But, these deficiencies are nowhere near as bad as they had been in the last 2 entries, and I'm greateful for that. 


The Bottom Line: The movie is clearly worth the time if you are a Transformers fan, or a fan of action/sci-fi- as long as your goal is to be entertained, and that alone. If you're looking for "cerebral entertainment", go elsewhere. This was an action packed ride, with plenty of nerd boy shout outs. Mr. Spock would give it 3 out of 4 marks of chaos:



Nimoy is "da man"!







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