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I’m a horrible critic, and an avid transformers geek, so I was delighted to see the premier in my home town of the latest flick about those cheesy but cool autonomous robotic organisms from Cybertron.
First I’ll note a few things that stood out as pluses for this movie, and then I’ll get to my biggest hitch with it. Now, I’m in the habit of switching off my critical faculties when I’m actually watching these sorts of films, and only after the movie is over do I turn them back on.
I’ll ignore the scientific implausibilities, since others more acquainted with the science do a much better job of it than I do. That, and it’s almost too typical for science fiction movies to have at least some bad science in them.
Don’t even get me started on that horrible little stillbirth of a movie, Battlefield Earth; That movie had logical plot holes big enough for Lord Xenu’s entire space-fleet to soar through.
‘Nuff said on that.
If you plan to see Dark of the Moon yourself, read no further until afterward, for here there be some spoilers!
The story starts out in the opening scene with the first landing on the Moon (of course!)by Apollo 11, though I’ll ignore the historical gaffe of the astronauts’ journeying to Luna’s far side, which is needed to make the plot work…Hey, it’s a different universe than ours, so it’s excusable.
After finding a crashed Transformer spacecraft on the Moon, where they discover a dormant Cybertronian named Sentinel Prime, the whole affair being cleverly concealed from the public and the mass media after our boys in pressure-suits get within sighting distance of it, after which all communication with Earth is only with need-to-know NASA personnel and American intelligence agencies. Including some real footage from 1969 and the early 1970s, the film switches scenes to a few years after the events in Revenge of the Fallen, picking up with a now older Sam Witwicky and his new girlfriend.
The basic plot revolves around some Machiavellian betrayal among the alien droids, with Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime’s predecessor, deciding to screw over the Autobots by making a deal with Megatron to share power over an enslaved Humanity, by using Cybertronian artifacts he invented to reshape space and bring Cybertron to Earth for rebuilding by his Decepticon allies, intending to use the humans to work as an unpaid labor force.
The film involves a lot of action, and it was difficult sometimes to focus on any one scene before the next happened. I’m just lucky, I suppose, that I didn’t see it in 3-D.
It winds up that after the seeming victory by teh Ebil Robottz, and in several scenes almost being killed himself, Sam gets to show his mettle in the final conflict.
Following a typical episode of personal politics between Sentinel and Megatron, who feels he’s getting the short end of the stick after literally being called Sentinel’s bitch by Sam’s girlfriend, no less, the bridge between Cybertron and Earth is severed, and the enemy defeated.
Okay, now time for the criticism:
This film’s plot line almost directly derives from that of an old first-season animated Transformers episode, in which the same bring-Cybertron-to-Earth-with-a-space-warping-thingie is done, assisted in the episode as in this movie, by humans promised power by their alien masters, who of course, have no intention of fulfilling their word to their fleshy pawns.
BTW, the human traitor in the classic episode, which has not aged well at all, was a mad scientist named Dr. Archeville, and a rather pompous one at that (but aren’t they all?).
*sigh* I’m showing my age, aren’t I…
Save for this glaring lack of originality, I found the movie fun, and it had a lot of scenes that provided some good comic relief between the scenes of Cybertronians getting ripped apart and humans being disintegrated by alien weaponry.
I found it cheesy, but entertaining, though I wouldn’t recommend it for an Academy award.