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June 21, 2017

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) --- "The Moon Has A Dark Side And The Feds Take Things Way Too Seriously."

Plot Summary
Picking up two years after the Egypt incident, the Autobots and their human allies discover a lost piece of Cybertronian technology which has been in human possession for several years. It is revealed that the artifact is part of an Autobot spacecraft which has crashed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon and carries a special technology and the legendary Sentinel Prime (Optimus Prime's old mentor). However, Sam Witwicky discovers a conspiracy by the Decepticons who plot to use it for their own evil purposes. And Optimus Prime finds that they are up against a menace who plans to also use it to enslave humanity in order to restore Cybertron.(1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Technologically, Dark of the Moon is Michael Bay's (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pearls Harbor) best work so far and action fans will be satisfied by fast-paced scenes of massive mayhem and destruction. Unfortunately, there are a few drawn backs to the film. The storyline is an improvement, as it is compelling and gives adequate back-story time. However, audiences were not given room to breathe during all the devastation nor were we given time properly understand how we felt about it. The humor is done well, as opposed to Revenge of the Fallen which at times was a bit offensive and cliché but at times it seemed to be more so dumb silliness than funny humor.
Aside from those aspects, the franchise has obviously matured since the first movie and the film is technologically impressive. There is no doubt that Michael Bay has an ego but given the cost and the complexity of the projects, he pulls off it is obvious why. The special effects are great and the sheer scale of them as a film is impressive. The details can be seen clearly in every scene and it never feels like the viewer is missing out on information during big fight scenes. This is due to Bay learning from the mistakes of the first film, that most of the fight scenes need to be zoomed out so that viewers can see every detail. The only critique that has for the fight scenes is that Megatron (Hugo WeavingV for Vendetta, Lord of the Rings) was very much underused and is now more of a shell of his once menacing self from the first film; it feels like he has gone from being the villain to being the evil sidekick.
     Shia LaBeouf’s (Holes, Eagle Eye) portrayal of Sam Witwicky is strong and this time his character has a good story arc as it adds another dimension to the film that is majorly a "robots fights robots in cool ways" film. His character easily jumps from screaming in terror and/or suffering in silence to standing up to fight for what he believes in. In the end, the changes were believable and he still retains a certain commonness about him. Mikaela's (Megan FoxJonah Hex) departure, it's barely noticeable and her replacement Carly (Rosie Huntington-WhiteleyVictoria Secret model) is honestly a more useful character than Mikaela to the proceedings. Although her character addition is not a huge improvement to the film, overall she is a much better match for Sam in the long run. Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek) gives an admirable performance as the presumed dead Autobot leader Sentinel Prime. His character gives Bay the opportunity in which he can show, on a grander scale, a flashback of the war that destroyed Cybertron; one bigger than we have seen before. John Malkovich (Secretariat, Red), Ken Jeong (The Duff, Hangover), and Alan Tudyk (Rogue One) all give great comedic performances which blend well into the action. Patrick Dempsey (Made of Honor, Enchanted) and Frances McDormand (Fargo) both deliver slightly-antagonistic performances that work well with the film. While Josh Duhamel (Safe Haven), John Turturro (Don’t Mess with the Zohan), Tyrese Gibson (Fast and the Furious), Kevin Dunn (Unstoppable) and Julie White (The Nanny Diaries), all hold up well to how they were in the previous films.
     Overall, Dark of the Moon (2011) is just what viewers expect it to be; not as bad as the second film but it has all the strengths and weaknesses one would expect. This is where all the pieces finally come together, though viewers who were not impressed by the previous two films may not be impressed here and yet it clearly stands on its own as a worthy addition to the franchise. I personally believe that Dark of the Moon (2011) is the best installment with Age of Extinction (2014) following as a very close second. However, many audiences may not share the same viewpoint. Of course, the reason why I believe that this is the best installment so far is because of a lot of the faults from the first two movies. Dark of the Moon sole purpose is to entertain audiences and it does so adequately.
Pros: The acting is tighter, the effects and sound have improvised, and the plot has a lot more depth. 
Cons: a bit more work on the script, drop some of the sappy rock ballads or at least save them until the end, and allow for more camera focus. 

“In any war, there are calms between the storms. There will be days when we lose faith, days when our allies turn against us. But the day will never come, that we forsake this planet and its people.”
- Optimus Prime

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4.2 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4.2 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011).

Movies Similar 
Battleship (2012)
Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
Chappie (2015)
G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra (2009)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Pacific Rim (2013)
Reel Steel (2011)
RoboCop (2014)
Tron Legacy (2010)
Transformers (2007)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Cast & Crew
Directed by: Michael Bay
Writing CreditsEhren Kruger
Produced by 
Kenny Bates                      ---   co-producer (as Ken Bates)
Michael Bay                       ---   executive producer
Ian Bryce                           ---   producer
Allegra Clegg                     ---   co-producer
Matthew Cohan                 ---   associate producer
Tom DeSanto                    ---   producer
Lorenzo di Bonaventura   ---   producer
Brian Goldner                    ---   executive producer
Michael Kase                     ---   associate producer
Don Murphy                      ---   producer
Steven Spielberg               ---   executive producer
Mark Vahradian                ---   executive producer
Music by Steve Jablonsky
Cinematography by Amir Mokri
Film Editing by William GoldenbergJoel Negron, and Roger Barton
Production Design by Nigel Phelps
Shia LaBeouf                                    ---      Sam Witwicky
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley        ---      Carly
Josh Duhamel                                 ---      Lennox
John Turturro                                 ---      Simmons
Tyrese Gibson                                  ---      Epps
Patrick Dempsey                            ---      Dylan
Frances McDormand                    ---      Mearing
John Malkovich                              ---      Bruce Brazos
Kevin Dunn                                      ---      Ron Witwicky
Julie White                                       ---      Judy Witwicky
Alan Tudyk                                        ---      Dutch
Ken Jeong                                         ---      Jerry Wang
Glenn Morshower                          ---      General Morshower
Lester Speight                                 ---      Eddie
Buzz Aldrin                                       ---      Buzz Aldrin
Bill O'Reilly                                       ---      Bill O'Reilly
Ravil Isyanov                                   ---      Voshkod
Dustin Dennard                              ---      Lennox Lieutenant
Brett Stimely                                    ---      President Kennedy
John H. Tobin                                  ---      President Nixon
Drew Pillsbury                                ---      Defense Secretary McNamara
Don Jeanes                                       ---      Neil Armstrong (1969)
Cory Tucker                                     ---      Buzz Aldrin (1969)
Peter Cullen                                     ---      Optimus Prime (voice)
Hugo Weaving                                 ---      Megatron (voice)
Leonard Nimoy                               ---      Sentinel Prime (voice)
Jess Harnell                                     ---      Ironhide (voice)
Charlie Adler                                   ---      Starscream (voice)
Robert Foxworth                            ---      Ratchet (voice)
James Remar                                   ---      Sideswipe (voice)
Francesco Quinn                             ---      Dino (voice)
George Coe                                       ---      Que / Wheeljack (voice)
Tom Kenny                                       ---      Wheelie (voice)
Reno Wilson                                    ---      Brains (voice)
Frank Welker                                  ---      Shockwave / Soundwave (voice)
Ron Bottitta                                      ---      Roadbuster / Amp (voice)
John DiMaggio                                ---      Leadfoot / Target (voice)
Keith Szarabajka                            ---      Laserbeak (voice)
Greg Berg                                          ---      Igor (voice)

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