I saw Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon (the third CGI movie) in theaters recently, because I heard it had good 3D effects. Also, I was curious to see what I’d think of it now that my expectations were much lower after being so disappointed with the first one. (I skipped the second one, because I heard it was turrible. Even director Michael Bay said it was crap.)
I had recently read a quote about watching a movie with the proper perspective:
If you watch a movie with a mindset that does not match the theme, you will always hate it. If it’s a kid’s movie …, watch it with a kid’s eye. If it’s a slapstick comedy that is supposed to be goofy, don’t look for intelligent humor. It may not always work, but it sometimes does. Give it a try. You may find yourself liking a movie that you didn’t before. ~ Dave Nelson
When the first Transformers movie was announced, I had such high hopes that it would build upon the backstory, update and modernize (only as necessary), and tell a great philosophical story of a civil war between sentient robots. (There really is a great sci-fi background story, as well as philosophical topics. The origins of Optimus Prime and Megatron can be compared to Xavier and Magneto in X-Men. See “The War Within” for a great example.) Obviously director Michael Bay tossed all that aside and made the story more about humans and explosions.
So with Michael Bay directing this one also, I expected:
* the humans to play the biggest role in the movie;
* the Transformers wouldn’t have much personality;
* character development of Transformers wouldn’t happen much;
* story would take a back seat to action scenes;
* lots of explosions;
* a number of action scenes zoomed in too close where you can hardly tell what’s going on.
So was I disappointed? For those expectations, it was a good movie. Compared to what could’ve been, it was disappointing again. The 3D effect was well-done — not over-used or cheesy like many 3D movies have been.
The bulk of the story was between humans, which is missing the whole point. Transformers is about a civil war going on between intelligent robots.
There were some unexpected twists in the story, which is good and bad. It made it less predictable and somewhat more suspenseful, but it was done by changing the backstory of some of the Transformers. There are also a few plot points that are completely unbelievable. I could go on and on about that, but you can read some on this page (with spoilers).
Afterward, one of the guys with me said all three movies had the same basic plot. Sure some details changed, but it was basically the same thing. He also noted that he had recently watched the G1 (original) cartoon episode that showed the Transformers leaving Cybertron, and that the cartoon actually explained that part of the story better than all the movies have. That doesn’t surprise me at all!
Maybe the next movie will have a better story, since it will have a new director… He can keep the great action scenes and special effects and explosions, but just develop the personality of the Transformers and let them drive the story. That way the new fans and G1 fans might all enjoy it more.