Transformers 3 is in an enviable position – in the eyes of many, it only has to be better than Transformers 2. And that’s something a four-year-old director with a crew of mentally challenged chimpanzees could accomplish. So I guess it’s not the biggest shock to say that, yes, I did enjoy this movie more than the last one. But it’s probably also not a shock to hear it’s not quite as good as the first Transformers movie – still the only one where it felt like Michael Bay was reined in to an acceptable level.

Since the Transformers movies are kind of notorious for being an assault on the senses, instead of writing my usual sort of review, I’m going to try and replicate that feeling, with a collection of thoughts I had while watching this movie earlier tonight:

  • *Deep breath* OK, here we go.
  • Cute opening sequence. Nice to see John F. Kennedy still getting work despite…well, you know.
  • Ah, new female lead Rosie Huntington-Whitely is introduced with a 3D close-up of her ass, as should be mandatory in all films.
  • I miss Megan Fox. Yeah, I said it.
  • Obama is in this, too? Power cast.
  • I can get behind Shia’s “I saved the world twice and now I can’t even get a job” attitude, as long as it doesn’t lead to an unnecessary comic montage of a series of job interviews.
  • Nevermind.
  • Hey, I forgot John Malkovich was in this.
  • What the hell is wrong with Malkovich in this? Why is he trying so hard to be goofy? I feel kind of embarrassed for him.
  • Hey, I forgot that Frances McDormand was in this.
  • Optimus informs us that the Autobots now work on secret missions for the U.S. government, but how does a bunch of flashy cars and a big semi-truck driving to different foreign enemy bases and blasting the shit out of everything really count as “secret” missions?
  • Can you believe Josh Duhamel has spent three films playing this character? I still can’t name one discernable trait about this character other than he’s a father, and even that hasn’t been mentioned since the first movie.
  • Hey, I forgot Patrick Dempsey was in this.
  • Whoa, this sequence of a Decepticon terrorizing a family at home is actually really creepy. Well, done, Mr. Bay.
  • Hey, I forgot Ken Jeong was in this.
  • Ken Jeong is being incredibly wacky. Didn’t see that coming.
  • I can tell Shia Lebeouf is more into it this time around, and it’s helping his performance. I know the gets a lot of shit from some circles, but I like Lebeouf, and his performance in this one is another reminder of why I like him.
  • I have to admit, I’m digging the clever way they’re threading the Transformers mythology into important historical events like the space race and Chernobyl.
  • Well, about 45 minutes in, and I haven’t wanted to gouge my eyes out yet, so that’s a step in the right direction.
  • Alright, this is more tolerable than the last one, but still…didn’t there used to be robots in this thing? Why are we spending SO MUCH time with a bunch of human characters that don’t even act like real human beings?
  • Speaking of which, here’s John Turturro, reprising what I’m becoming more and more worried is the role he will be most remembered for.
  • Hey, I forgot Alan Tudyk was in this.
  • Seriously, Alan Tudyk is a gay German assistant who apparently used to be some sort of badass assassin…what the hell? What is the deal with these characters???
  • Wait a second, the movie seems to have just casually dropped in the fact that the whole world actually knows of the Autobots’ existence now. Where the hell did that come from? And why isn’t it a bigger deal? And if it’s true, why does Sam’s knowledge of the Autobots need to be kept a secret?
  • If you’re gonna have McDormand, Malkovich and Turturro in this movie, why not just have the Coen Brothers direct it? Actually, now that I think about it, I DEMAND that they get the Coen Brothers to direct Transformers 4.
  • Hey, I forgot Leonard Nimoy’s voice was in this.
  • Uhh, Megatron is still alive? Didn’t he die at the end of the last one? Eh, fuck it…to answer that would require re-watching (or even just thinking about) Revenge of the Fallen, and I’m not doing that.
  • Alright, things seem to be happening again, but I say that cautiously.
  • OH NO, that one Autobot died! I would be incredibly sad about that, except he’s not Optimus Prime or Bumblebee and therefore the series never developed him at all and I don’t know a damn thing about him! Still a bummer, though, I guess.
  • I do actually know what’s going on this movie. That’s got to be considered an improvement over the last movie, too.
  • Alright, I know this movie is supposed to be two hours and forty minutes, and what I would assume is the big final action scene is just starting up, with forty minutes left. That can’t be right. Are we really gonna get another forty minute action scene?? Oh….shit.
  • In all fairness, at least the action is really damn good this time. Hate on him all you want, when Michael Bay is on, he can deliver some damn effective action.
  • His problem is that he does not know when to stop….clearly.
  • Wow, the Decepticons are really just blasting the shit out of humans left and right. This is a surprisingly violent film.
  • I can tell Bay, as always, is really into the military characters in this movie, and all their exploits, but someone needs to remind him that robots punching other robots is what we’re all here to see. Maybe he should watch Real Steel for some pointers.
  • It’s gotta be said – this is some of the best 3D I have seen. Apparently they worked hard on increasing the brightness of the 3D for this movie, so that it wouldn’t look as murky as other 3D movies usually do. It worked – this looks awesome, and is one of the few times I’ll probably tell people to spend the extra couple bucks.
  • So, uh, this shit is still going on.
  • The set-piece of the skyscraper breaking in half with everyone inside was pretty damn awesome, and would be the climax in any other movie. But by my watch, we’ve still got about another twenty minutes. Sigh.
  • Everytime Optimus Prime does something awesome (which thankfully happens a lot more in this movie), it’s almost always undercut by hearing Peter Cullen have to deliver a really stupid line.
  • Ha, nice Star Trek reference from Nimoy.
  • Wait, it’s over? Really? Wow…that was quite the abrupt ending. But, then, maybe this was actually Bay being kind of nice. After the endurance test that was that forty minute battle scene, I’m not sure I could have handled a long denouement.
  • Well, alright, that wasn’t a miserable experience, I suppose. There are still far too many moments of unfiltered Michael Bay excess floating around in there, but there are also more moments that come closer to the enjoy-ability of the first film. And while the action might go on too long at times, it’s also probably the best action of the series. All in all, I didn’t hate this movie, and at times I even kind of liked it, but at the same time, this is a franchise that has now clearly run its course. I don’t think there’s anything more it can offer me that I want to see. Better to stop now, and be thankful you more-or-less redeemed yourself for the last one, and are going out on a slightly high note (comparatively speaking).

 

 

This review was originally posted at Trevor Likes Movies on June 28th, 2011.

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