Times are hard for recent graduates, even ones who’ve saved the world from robot aliens twice. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” begins with Sam Witwicky, secret savior of our world, looking for a job all over Washington D.C. But office work holds little joy for him because he’d rather be out fighting wars with Bumblebee and Optimus Prime than delivering mail around the office.
Of course, he gets his wish thanks to a conspiracy tracing back to before the first moon landing. We went to the moon in 1969, but the space race was about more than being the first country with your flag on Earth’s moon. It was about being the first to find out what exactly the strange images NASA (and it seems whatever space agency Russia had) saw on their satellite. It turned out to be an Autobot ship that held the key to the survival of their home planet but vanished during the last days of their battle. If the technology stored in it reaches the wrong hands, it could be disastrous.
This installment is much funnier than the other two. The second film wasn’t too great, which even Shia LaBeouf admits, partly because they were working with an unfinished script and partly because they were flying high from the success of the first film. Sam has always seemed to be a little of the bad boy Hollywood has made LaBeouf out to be and a little of Louis from Even Stevens, the Disney show that got LaBeouf his big break. He’s a lot more Louis this time and his antics break up the hardcore action for the first half of the film, but there’s little to laugh about in the second half, which is full-on combat (more action-packed than combat scenes in the previous two films) reminiscent of Battle: Los Angeles. But instead of L.A., the battle is fought in Chicago; or what was Chicago before the Decepticons start their war.
Megan Fox is noticeably missing after being dismissed from her role, amid reports of Steven Spielberg giving the orders after she bad-mouthed Michael Bay. She’s been replaced with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, another beautiful girl who’s somehow fallen for Sam’s charm (even his mother warns him the chances of getting another pretty girl are pretty slim). Whiteley does the job adequately (it’s nothing to write home about), but the Victoria’s Secret model is always modeling. She somehow gets through hours of combat and fighting for her life with only a smudge of dirt on her face. At one point, she stands atop a car in heels, jeans, a white tee and a jacket with the wind blowing her barely out-of-place hair. The ridiculous nature of that shot got a few snickers, mainly from me and my friends.
If you’re looking for so much action that your brain feels like it’s about to explode, you can count on this film. A lot of the fight scenes and car chases left my mouth agape. It’s also got laughs, a little heart, characters you want to die (namely, Frances McDormand as a high-level government officer who doesn’t really understand anything), conspiracies that really make you think and a model in case the guys get bored.
I really enjoyed the film, but there was no real theme. The first one was about destiny, the second about heroism and this one just seemed to be the end. Boy, did they go out with a bang.