My review of DOTM. *long-ish*

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by ShadowOfTheVoid, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. ShadowOfTheVoid

    ShadowOfTheVoid New Member

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    Hi, everyone. I've been a TF fan since way back in 1984 and I've been visiting TFW2005 for years now. Great site. Anywho, I'd thought I'd offer my thoughts on Dark of the Moon.

    *Spoilers Ahoy! And some troper-speak.*

    As a Michael Bay movie, it was decent, but not his best. Plenty of great effects, explosions galore, and quite a few laughs. Pretty much everything Bay is good at. But that's all it had going for it. However, as a Transformers film, I felt it was the weakest in the series and was an unworthy addition to the Transformers franchise. While I enjoy the first film, and ROTF was entertaining and had good fight scenes despite the shoddy writing (Devastator was a total letdown, too; total asspull with that railgun). But Dark of the Moon was lacking the things that made those films enjoyable for me.

    In DOTM, there were only two really good action scenes: the freeway chase with the Dreads that ended in a Mexican standoff, and the fight between Optimus and Sentinel. None of the named Decepticons — Shockwave, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Starcream, Barricade, and Megatron — had good fight scenes (more on this in a bit). OTOH, TF1 had some great action scenes: Blackout destroying SOCCENT, the standoff between Scorponok and Lennox's crew, Bumblebee vs. Barricade, and the climactic battle in Mission City, where the 'Cons proved to be formidable enemies. In ROTF, there were also several great action scenes, especially the 3-on-1 handicap match with Optimus vs. Megs, Screamer, and a Blackout clone. Sure, there were a good number of short-lived 'Cons in the climactic desert fight, but they were all random mooks.

    Probably my biggest complaint was that the Decepticons underwent major Badass Decay. They went from being Made of Iron in the first film to being Made of Plasticine by DOTM. In TF1, we all saw how much damage most of the Decepticons took. Fire from an A-10 and an AC-130 put together only managed to break off the tip of Scorponok's tail, and even after the military learned of their weakness the 'Cons still proved to be tough as nails. Barricade scrapped with Bumblebee for several minutes, got beat, but lived. Brawl took forever to kill ("These things just don't die!"). And Megatron not only took a tremendous amount of punishment before he was brought to his knees, but he proved that he was more than a match for Optimus. The only ones to die relatively easily were Bonecrusher and Blackout, and even then they managed to make quite an impression.

    However, the amount of one-hit kill curb stomp battles in DOTM was ridiculous. Sure, lots of 'Cons went down easily in ROTF, but those were mostly random mooks (Rampage does last a good while against BB, though). But in DOTM, every named Decepticon goes down as easily as the mooks do. Shockwave, who was played up like he was some total badass and the Big Bad of the film, just stands around for a bit, takes a couple of pot shots at Optimus Prime, then gets jacked up by a couple of human soldiers before being finished off by OP. Soundwave gets his head blown off after a brief skirmish with Bumblebee. Barricade finally shows up again after disappearing mysteriously in the first film and being absent entirely during ROTF, only to get killed by a couple of human snipers. Laserbeak gets his head pulled off by Sam. Starscream, who started off the film series as a total badass, goes out like a bitch, thanks to Sam as well. Seriously? Screamer killed by Sam? SAM!? Damn you, MB! You do not have a college kid take ten billion levels in badass like that. I'd maybe accept Sam killing Barricade, but not Starscream. And Megatron was just criminally underused. The only action scene he gets is shooting Sentinel Prime in the back, then challenging a one-armed Optimus to a duel where the severely wounded OP still manages to casually pull a Sub Zero on Megs and pulls his head off after a 10-second "fight." The only bad guy to put up a fight was the Autobot-gone-bad.

    It doesn't help things when the 'Cons hardly get any screen time outside of their painfully short fight scenes. Like I said, Megatron was criminally underused. He's supposed to be the main villain, not some second banana whose most menacing scene was ripping off G1 Megatron's monument-destroying scene from the "Atlantis Arise!" episode. The few scenes Starcream gets has him most acting like a sniveling sycophant instead of, well, The Starscream. Why couldn't he have been like the Screamer from Reign of Starscream or at the very least the Starscream that had Ironhide and Rachet panicking like little children? Soundwave is the only Decepticon to kill a non-human when he executes Wheeljack, but otherwise he's just... there. Same with Shockwave. Stands around all brooding like Boba Fett, but ends up doing less and being far less imposing than Fett was. Barricade was almost "blink and you'll miss him." Laserbeak and the Dreads probably had the most screen time out of all the 'Cons. As I said, Sentinel Prime, the freakin' rogue Autobot, was the only villain to get a good amount of screen time and a good fight scene.

    Oh, and do I need to mention that the Decepticons, despite their massive invasion force consisting of hundreds of troops and dozens of ships, get their asses royally kicked by a handful of Autobots, a couple dozen NEST guys, and a college student? The good guys, especially the humans, are such a well-oiled ass-kicking machine (heh), and the bad guys such pushovers, that there's hardly any tension or excitement in the battle scenes. The only thing the Decepticons really posed a threat to was a bunch of unarmed civvies (one wonders how they managed to capture half the Autobots during the Chicago battle). I was excepting this dark, forboding film where the good guys won by the skin of their teeth, but it turned out the bad guys were one of the least threatening full-scale alien invasions in the history of film. Sentinel Prime was the only one who was really threatening in this movie, since he was the only one to be a decent fighter, not to mention his plan nearly succeeded. None of his Decepticon allies, not even the dreaded Megatron, made for good villains in this movie. The hour-long climax of the film is almost utterly lacking any sense of desperation. It's almost like Bay was all "Oh crap! We got a bunch of bad guys we need to kill off and we don't have much time, so let's just casually finish them off so we can get a good fight between the two Primes and then end this film."

    The Autobots, except Optimus, Bumblebee, and Sentinel (who became a bad guy), didn't fare much better. Sideswipe and Mirage get about one short but impressive scene a piece. The Wreckers were just there as product placement and to show how the Autobots have no more mercy than the 'Cons. Wheeljack gets a few lines at Autobot HQ talking about the gadgets he built, then gets summarily executed by Soundwave later on. I only remember seeing Ratchet a couple of times. And poor Ironhide. Turned into a plot device to establish Sentinel Prime as a traitor, only to not be mourned or even mentioned for the rest of the film. At least he does get a decent fight scene against the Dreads before he gets disintegrated by Sentinel.

    I wasn't expecting Oscar-caliber cinema going into DOTM, but I was expecting some good action scenes with great fights between the Autobots and Decepticons. Instead, most of the 'Cons got little screen time and were trounced as easily as the random mooks were. They were one of the wimpiest alien invasion in the history of cinema. Only the Big Bad, who was a rogue Autobot, managed to get a good fight scene. And the whole Twenty Minutes with Jerks routine was played out. Did we really need those scenes with some jerkass humans sympathizing with the Decepticons? Maybe if this had been a generic sci-fi film directed by Bay instead of a Transformers film, maybe I'd be more forgiving. The film had some great ideas, but the execution fell flat. If certain things had been done differently, then DOTM would have been a much better film.

    Of course, this all brings me to the biggest problem with the film series in general: the lack of proper development for the Transformers. I understand that this is a live action film series and thus, given the expense of the CGI and other effects, the humans are going to be the major characters instead of the robots themselves (whereas in the various cartoons, the humans were the secondary characters). I also understand that these are Michael Bay films we're talking about. But is it really too much to ask for for the Transformers to be, y'know, actual characters and not simply walking, talking special effects/product placement for car companies? Just because they don't get as much screen time as they could if this were a cartoon, it doesn't mean they can't be halfway decent characters. Even in all of its hokey Saturday morning, merchandise-driven glory, Transformers G1 managed to have far more interesting characters in its first season, which has a comparable run time to the live-action trilogy. Sure, the cartoon characters in G1 may have been very two-dimensional, but the film characters are barely one-dimensional. And we also had plenty of time to get to enjoy the characters from the first two seasons before most of them were killed off in The Movie.

    Maybe it's just like I said and it's just the limits of live action as well as the direction of the film series that made it less about the Transformers than it should be. Perhaps it would be better served by being rebooted as a CGI cartoon film. The film series did do plenty of things I enjoyed, including more alien-looking designs for the robots as well as excellent transformation sequences that avert the mass shifting prevalent in the cartoons. The special effects involved in that were just superb. Something that maintains that aesthetic of the live-action series, but puts it in cartoon form would probably give us, and the franchise, the film it deserves and hasn't received since the '86 cartoon film. But for now, the only thing really good the Transformers franchise has going for it at the moment is TF: Prime, which is already shaping up to be my favorite piece of TF media since the G1 cartoon.

    Overall, here's how I'd rate the live-action films, on a scale of one to four stars:

    Transformers: ***
    Revenge of the Fallen: **
    Dark of the Moon: *½

    Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment.
     
  2. NexusZero

    NexusZero 強度の、勇気の愛、平和。

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    The fuck? Why is the film forum full of stupid piss match starting reviews?
     
  3. Yggdrasil

    Yggdrasil Banned

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    In before nerd-rage
     
  4. RedWolf

    RedWolf Well-Known Member

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    Around 200 Cons went through the Space Bridge most of those spread around the world to launch the pillars.
     
  5. Overlord Balder

    Overlord Balder Voices Slugslinger!

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    And the 'Cons fought so badly, but so BADLY that all human aircraft was taken down.

    Oh, and they sucked so much they managed to defeat and capture all Autobots off-screen.

    Weak 'Cons, isn't?
     
  6. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    Shadowofthevoid,

    I agree a 100% with your review. SPOT ON.

    At least you come up with solid visual evidence in your arguments
    whereas the movie itself justifies its course by means of mcguffins,
    magically overpowered plotdevices, forced character potrayal ( Sam = win always ) and implied offscreen events.

    May I add, the budget which was allocated to the Driller and the massive amount of anonymous flying Decepticon pods
    was questionable, at best...
     
  7. Moy

    Moy Constructicons!

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    Disagree. :thumb 
     
  8. BW megatron

    BW megatron tiran

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    I agree with most of your review. DOTM was a lost opportunity to learn from the mistakes from the previous 2. Unfortunately Bay turned it into another expensive commercial for car manufacturers and 3D TV.
     
  9. Megabattimus

    Megabattimus Reborn Comics Fan

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    Ebay:
    This x1000.
     
  10. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. The Decepticons suffer the most, being given little-to-zero personality beyond, "RARRRGGHHH!! Kill! Death! Destruction!!" Knock Out and Breakdown from TF Prime have more personality than every Bay-con put together. The Bay-cons just come off as cool, because they make for some good action scenes. But personality? Character? Non existent except for maybe Starscream and Megatron.

    TF1:
    Blackout- nothing
    Scorponok- nothing
    Barricade- "RARRGHH!! GIMME GLASSES!!! RAARRGGH!!!"
    Devastator/Brawl- nothing
    Bonecrusher- nothing
    Frenzy- yes! Seems to love his work, crazy sense of humor. Guy's loaded with personality
    Starscream- Barely anything. Not enough to even say he has a personality in the 1st movie.
    Megatron- Standard Megatron personality, but it's something.

    But I get it. It was the first film, so maybe they wanted to keep the Decepticons evil and mysterious. Maybe they'd give them some more screen-time in part 2 and develop them beyond "rampaging metal monsters".

    RotF:
    Demlishor- . . . not much. One line vowing that the South shall rise again.
    Sideways- nothing.
    Soundwave- "Soundwave reporting. Ravage, go do stuff." A.k.a. nothing.
    Ravage- nothing
    Reedman- nothing
    Scalpel- Dr. Mangler basically. Manic and crazed but a genius.
    Megatron- Sith apprentice
    Starscream- channeling his G1 self
    Alice- flirtatious seductress with diesel breath
    Grindor- nothing
    Scorponok- nothing
    Devastator- nothing
    Rampage- nothing
    Mixmaster- nothing
    Long Haul- nothing
    High Tower- nothing
    Overload- nothing
    Scrapmetal- nothing
    The Fallen- REVENGE!!

    Seriously, watching it, the 'cons don't do much beyond blow stuff up. Like, I really love Barricade, but it's only because he transforms into this cool Mustang done up like a cop car and has a good (albeit short) car chase with Bumblebee. Aside from that, there's nothing really there to like. Might as well finish this off with...

    DotM:
    Megatron- Burnt out hobo
    Starscream- even more like his G1 self than ever
    Soundwave- . . . still nothing.
    Laserbeak- Crazy bird! Okay this guy pretty much stole the show as far as the 'cons are concerned. Like Frenzy, good things come in small packages.
    Shockwave- nothing
    Crankcase- nothing
    Crowbar- nothing
    Hatchet- nothing
    Driller- nothing
    Barricade- nothing
    Igor- uh. . . that thing had a name?

    I love the 'cons. They make stuff blow up good. And really, in such a large cast you can't possibly personify all of them. The Dreads and the Constructicons/Devastator don't really require personality. They have limited purpose in their films and are quickly dispatched. But guys like The Fallen, Megatron, and Starscream don't really get much either. As a guy that's always liked the villains and especially the Decepticons, I have to say that these 'cons are all flash and no substance. I'm sure the comics, toy bios, novelizations and other media have helped flesh them out more, but judging strictly by the movies, they're pretty 1-dimensional. Sorry, guys.
     
  11. Sparky Prime

    Sparky Prime Well-Known Member

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    Personally, this is something I find believable about the movies. The first movie was the first time the military had ever encountered a Transformer, so obviously they weren't going to have any effective strategies or specialized weapons to specifically combat them. They simply scrambled to fight back against an enemy they knew nothing about with what they had available to them. After that however, they teamed up with the Autobots, that we've seen helped train the NEST teams how to fight against Transformers and develop new technologies. With that kind of specialized combat training and improved technology to fight a specific kind of enemy, of course they're going to become more effective at it. I don't see that the Decepticons suffered 'badass decay' at all, the NEST teams just got better weapons and better at fighting them in general. And you are greatly over-exaggerating how easily they took out the Decepticons. They may have gotten better at it, but we see it still isn't that easy either.

    I'd agree with your point that the Transformers still need more characterization though.
     
  12. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    ...and in those same years....the Decepticons never thought to themselves "Hmmm... maybe we ought to develop some new tactics and technologies to deal with this Autobot/NEST combo ..." ?

    Sure, just like usual.. the fandom will write it up to characterization, saying the Decepticons are probably too arrogant/lazy/ plain inept etc blah blah.
     
  13. Eric

    Eric RIP AND TEAR!!!

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    Agreed. The Decepticons in the first movie, despite not doing much, were at least a formidable force. But that was only because the military didn't know much about the Transformers, except that they couldn't be killed easily by conventional firearms and missiles. By DOTM, most of the Decepticons pretty much got their afterburners handed to them on a silver platter, by the humans no less. This was the most pitiful incarnation of the Decepticon faction in any continuity. Hell, if I were Megatron in the third movie, I would have created a force field that protected my troops from the weaponry the humans had. At least then some Decepticons would have lived.
     
  14. al91176

    al91176 Decepticon

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    I think your complaints about the Decepticons are valid, but I myself still did enjoy the film. I guess I knew what to expect after seeing the Decepticons of ROTF. I was still disappointed with Shockwave though. After seeing the footage from the Burger King commercial I thought him and Optmus would have a good fight... Too many Decepticons were dispatched far too easily by human and Autobot forces imo.
     
  15. Thepower911

    Thepower911 Decepticon

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    Yes I agree 100%!!! Especially what you said concerning the "Decepticons" ...
     
  16. Sparky Prime

    Sparky Prime Well-Known Member

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    You seem to be jumping to unfounded conclusions.

    ROTF showed the Decepticons tried simply laying low, at least while they were looking for fragments of the Allspark and the Matrix. Then as things started to come to fruition, they took a more direct approach in order to finish the plot. Since that appeared to be the first really big conflict between the NEST/Autobot team and the Decepticons, I'd say it's understandable the Deceptcons would have underestimated how strong their opponents had become working together. But even so, if it hadn't been for Jetfire's sacrifice for Optimus to use his parts, the Decepticons would have won.

    In DOTM, remember the Decepticons needed the Autobots/NEST team to revive Sentinel Prime for them. It wouldn't have made sense for the Decepticons to move against them until the right time. Why do you think the first thing Sentinel Prime did once he revealed his betrayal was to make an ultimatum to the U.N. forcing them exile the "Autobot rebels" from Earth? In short, the Decepticons new tactic here was to manipulate the enemy into doing what they wanted them to do and then divide and conquer.
     
  17. Shelbo

    Shelbo Hur hur

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    I completely agree with you on this.
     
  18. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    Not at all.

    If there's any lesson learned for the Decepticons from the events in both TF1 & ROTF, it's that they shouldn't have left things up to chance ;
    - they got to know the fact, humans reverse engineered tech from Megatron
    - they got to know the sabot rounds the humans use.
    - they got to know the massive Rail Gun which was able to hit any TF target from long sea range.
    - they got to know that Autobots tutored their NEST companions on how to battle Cybertronians and that the core of NEST guys would act loyal towards their Autobot friends, defying government guys like Holloway.
    That's solid evidence right there & confirmed in the movieverse books such as Reign of Starscream and other prequels.

    The movie scripts were written in such a way to make you believe, the Decepticon plan in DOTM was the tactical thing to do....making their tunnel vision - in this case betting on ONLY Sentinel and human cooperation in 'coercing' them to exile the Autobots - seem as credible.

    Well, imo it was paperthin and less than credible and the same goes for the arguments to defend this script, which are just supporting what it tries to spoonfeed the audience through tunnel vision.
     
  19. QuakeDude

    QuakeDude Member

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    I agree with the review. This movie was a visual spectacular - but that's about it. The beginning was done exceptionally well, but the rest of the movie was a let down.

    - Con's getting shot by humans with machine guns was pathetic and completely out of sync with the first movie
    - Soundwave finally shows up, and he's....nothing like Soundwave. If I'm not mistaken, his head in ROTF was more like his G1 character than the abortion we saw in this film. Why does Bay continue to simply ignore the subject content and choose to reinvent things the way he prefers them?
    - Movie was far too long
    - I wouldn't be surprised if John Malcovich is sitting somewhere in a fetal position after seeing himself in that film. Totally insulting to the man's skills and his acting ability
    - Concidering the autobots were protecting us, at the beginning of the movie, they're off killing foreign forces? WTF?
    - Carly just strolling up to Megatron for a chat? Really?

    Too much other stuff to mention.. I was so hyped to see this before it came out, and I prayed that Bay wouldn't ruin it again, but I guess it didn't pan out that way.
     
  20. Jazz1979

    Jazz1979 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed
    This movie has some nice scenes but overall it was lame :( 
     

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