There has been a lot of talk over the last few months that Michael Bay was learning from the shortcomings of Transformers 2 and that part 3 would redeem him and his previous efforts. This movie was going to get away from the silly stuff (racist robots?) and other nonsense that turned people off so much regarding T2 and focus on creating interesting characters and telling a story that would make people forget how bad his previous effort really was. Well in my humble opinion, the rumors of Michael Bay’s growth as a filmmaker have been greatly exaggerated. The entire “he’s a different filmmaker now” schtick is apparently a marketing ploy to lure you back to the theaters because from my point of view there is nothing different in T3 that we haven’t see before in the previous sequels, except for the fact that it was shot in 3d and they made it about 30 mind numbing minutes longer. Transformers 3 is no better or no worse that the previous films and only exist as an extravagant example of everything that is wrong with Hollywood film making today.
Early in the film we find out that a secret Autobot ship crashed on the moon in the 60′s and our entire space program was built around the fact that we wanted to get what was on that ship before the Russians did, and we did it. We went to the moon with a secret plan to investigate the crash site and we were able to fool everyone and no one ever told a soul. They were so good at keeping this a secret that not one even told the Autobots that the ship was there in the previous two movies because if they had these sequels would not be necessary, but I digress. The secret items on the ship would have allowed the Autobots to defeat the Decepticons on their home planet and they would have never reached our planet. The next 2 hours are spent confusing us with double cross after double cross as robots jump sides, humans jump sides, and in the end an entire city is destroyed as the Autobots try to prevent another planet from being tele-ported into our atmosphere. That’s right, the secret weapon that was on the moon would allow the Decepticons to transport their planet to our atmosphere so they could force us to rebuild it for them. Really? Another planet right on top of ours? This is the best you could come up with? Hollywood pays people millions of dollars to write stories that are ultimately thrown in the trash and this is the best of all those ideas? Someone needs to check that trash can because I’m sure something that was thrown away had to be better than this.
Transformers 3 is an uneven mess of plot holes, dead ends, characters who are introduced and disappear without reason, and some of the worst robot acting seen since the old go-bots cartoons. The “robots” when left on screen to interact are lifeless and dull. We’ve grown accustomed to human emotion. When someone is angry we don’t just hear it in their voice, we see it in their face and their body language. There was none of this in regards to the Autobots or Decepticons. Just shiny robots with dull voice acting. Oh how I wish that was the worst thing about this movie. Let’s move on.
There are whole sequences in T3 that just seem to defy logic. There’s a sequence near the middle of the film where in the span of about five minutes the Autobots are the saviors of the universe, then kicked off the planet for no apparent reason (humans sided with the Decpticons who had previously been trying to destroy the planet. Really?), killed by a Decepticon who was hanging out in space just so he could shoot down their spaceship, only to have them return a few minutes later to save Shia and friends at just the right time. They spend the first hour of the movie setting up this scene, it all builds to this, then in the space of five minutes everything Bay has built up to this point is wiped clean and he ends the movie with an hour long battle scene that really has very little to do with the first hour and thirty minutes you already sat through. For fans of film making who enjoy a well thought out plot unfortunately this is not the movie for you. I’m sure the guy sitting next to me in the theater thought that something was wrong with me because of the sheer amount of groaning and sighing I was doing in the last hour of the movie.
The only redeeming feature this movie has is the way it was shot. This is probably the best live action movie I’ve seen in 3D. Bay did a really great job of shooting this film and the attention they paid to creating depth instead of just having gimmicks fly at the screen is to be commended. With that being said, I still hate 3D. The hyper violent fight scenes between the Autobots and Decepticons is often a blur of flying metal, fire, and explosions and it is often really hard to tell who’s who in the major battle scenes and the 3D doesn’t help. It all becomes a big mess and I just have to wait until the fight’s over and if the idiot sitting behind me is cheering then I know the Autobots won.
When it comes to remaking childhood cartoons into big budget films it’s never a sure bet. Transformers never really translated well from what I remember watching and reading as a child into what Michael Bay put on the big screen and I don’t really blame him, it’s just a type of story that people can’t really relate to anymore. We are surrounded by technology on a daily basis and artificial intelligence doesn’t seem like such a foreign concept but there was a time when that idea only existed in comics and cartoons and that was what the Transformers were to me in the 80′s. They represented what the future was going to be like for a kid who didn’t even have a color TV until he was in his teens and didn’t own a computer until he was in his twenties. For the teens of today who are inundated with technology on a daily basis, this movie is made for you. Me, I’ll stick with my comics and my old cartoons and do my best to forget what a mess was made of a story that I once believed could have been our future.