Thursday, January 3, 2013


On Finally Watching "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon"

No. Look. A lot of bad things happened here. Things we can learn from. And the whole interchangeable-hot-women thing is not important. It's a movie about toy cars. It's not "Albert Nobbs," or anything.

The whole damn movie should have been set in the past. It was an opportunity to free the franchise from Shia, and now it's too late. Right? The whole, whole thing should have been set in the immediate aftermath of the moon landing, everyone should have been dressed like Ed Harris in Apollo 13, the epic battles should have been in the middle of New Mexico, cute nods to Roswell and nuke testing, everyone dies or is sworn to secrecy, and it doesn't have to cause problems for Transformers 1. Cast anyone you want, cast CHRISTINA HENDRICKS if you want to, make a fun retro awesome action movie, done. Not this. And you KNOW the guys who made the trailer understand that, because the entire trailer is in the past.

We're supposed to be surprised that Shia can't find a job? Who would hire him? His single achievement to date is knowing there are aliens, and now everyone knows about aliens. It's not even like he's the kind of action star that can drive really, really well, so you watch the movie and think "oh, man, you know, I guess I would have flipped my Jeep taking that turn, so he might as well make twelve million dollars a picture."

The cars drive themselves. There is actually a scene in which Shia is sitting like a pathetic ride-moocher in the back of Bumblebee, who at LEAST is not one of the racist Autobots, and Bumblebee is driving himself, and Shia whinily yells "Shoot him! Shoooot himmmm!" as Bumblebee tries to fend off Decepticons.

AH YES, DECEPTICONS. It's not the moviemakers' fault that "Autobots" is a stupid name, or anything, or that one kind of hears "Autobots" and thinks they're the bad guys until someone actually says "Decepticons" out loud to remind you. But it absolutely IS their fault that you can never tell whether you are watching an Autobot battle a Decepticon or two Autobots battling because one has sold out to the Decepticons, because they all look the same and have similar voices and the screen is just this writhing mass of twisted metal and tiny pinpoint-sized eyes while highway overpasses are being trashed all around you.

Now, let's talk about actors who think they are too good to do their best.

John Malkovich. Frances McDormand. Get over yourselves! We all get that Malkovich spends 99% of his time complaining about taxes and wearing velvet smoking jackets and talking about brown liquors and Georges Seurat, or whatever, but then he's supposed to show up for the 1% and BE A DELIGHT, right? He barely stands up in Transformers 3. He just acts like he hates Shia, which is correct and adequate, but also not really enough. Frances McDormand, though! She is a national treasure, and she is barely, barely phoning it in. If you think you are too good to get paid a zillion dollars to act mad in front of a green screen, stay home. Really.

You know why we know you're not doing your best? John Turturro had the same stupid script and managed to be a delight.

Badly done, Emm[ichael Bay]a. Badly done.

38 Comments / Post A Comment


My favorite part (ie the part when I burst out laughing) is when they did a 360 shot of optimus on the bridge like he was hero (!!) when in fact he is a toy! A toy robot! Also going "SENTINEL" in the Optimus Prime voice is a surefire way to crack me up. That movie was horrible.


Thank you for sharing this.@m


This is why I'm glad I haven't seen it. I don't want to imagine Frances McDormand being less than her (amazing) best.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@frigwiggin This should help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzD_nCpYypM


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Oh, Frances, you gem.

Jane Marie

plus, it feels like "side" is missing from the title.


@Jane Marie Fun fact: It wasn't until the movie came out on Netflix that I realized it wasn't Dark Side of the Moon.

I also thought until a few years ago that it was Kate Beckinsdale.


@Jane Marie
I have only just realized this because you said it.
My brain is now doing this: ?!?!~*%$£


@Emby ...I too thought there was a D until this very moment. Now I don't know up from down or right from wrong.

Lila Fowler

@Emby What!? I can't believe it's 'Beckinsale.' Mind blown.


@Emby Wait, it's not? Did she take the d out recently or something?


@stonefruit I know; what?! this is like "sherbet" all over again.

(also, I once caught the very beginning of the first Transformers movie, & was like "what movie is this?"

it was on a 4:3 TV, & the print was un-letterboxed--so when the title card finally came up to give me the answer, the left & right sides of the screen were cut off, & it read "RANSFORMER" I have subsequently refused to call this franchise by any other name.)


I haven't seen it but I enjoyed the Austin reference at the end!


I haven't seen it (because, ew) but every time I hear about how the Autobots' best human friend can't get a job I just think "Why is the military not just keeping the best friend of the giant robot aliens employed and happy just in case? That doesn't make any sense."


@TheUnchosenOne Exactly! Seriously, military, call him an ambassador to the Autobot nation and give him a reasonable salary and a nice secure place to live.


@TheUnchosenOne You know, that's a good question! Shouldn't he be, at a minimum, some kind of junior assistant in the office of the U.S. Ambassador to Giant Robot Nonsense? Or the Army's Giant Robot Liaison?


@Elsajeni "Madame Secretary? This is Mr. Witwicky, our Giant Robot Liasion." "Pleased to meet you, ma'am."


@Elsajeni I guess what I'm saying is that I want to see Hillary Clinton being unimpressed by giant autonomous robots and I want it right now.


As a fan of the silly 80's cartoon and a very disappointed viewer of the first Transformers movie (if only they'd gotten rid of every scene featuring a human) I am glad someone else is suffering through the sequels in my stead.

Valley Girl

I'm pretty sure I'm the resident Shia Superfan and even I couldn't force myself into this one, especially not after they fired my girls Megs.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Valley Girl Is it weird that I really liked her in "Jennifer's Body"? Or that I enjoyed that movie at all?


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I actually enjoyed it to, and I've never been able to reconcile that fact with anything else about me.

Nicole Cliffe

I saw it on a plane while a creepster tried to watch it for free by basically climbing into my lap, and I STILL had a good time.

Valley Girl

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose If loving Jennifer's Body is wrong, I will never be right.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Jennifer's Body is a super solid movie and completely enjoyable. Even Megan Fox.


Is there any cultural significance to this movie to merit a commentary on The Hairpin about how dumb/bad it is, well over a year after it came out in theatres?


@AllisonWonderland It is always culturally significant to expose the sins of Michael Bay.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@AllisonWonderland Also, check out the tags for context, I suppose.


@area@twitter Ah, then I look forward to Nicole's review of Bad Boys 2.

Nicole Cliffe

"Bad Boys 2? More like Sad Boys 14, amirite?" - The Hairpin, next week


@Nicole Cliffe Can't wait!


I enjoyed the first one. (Sort of? It was watchable. Goofy, but no goofier to me than supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires.) Second one was terrible with the exception of the grumpy SR-71 Blackbird and I'm glad I never tried the third one. So thank you for confirming it's Goad-awful, Nicole, I guess that's what I'm saying.


It's true, the trailer was REALLY GOOD! Every time I saw it I would get all excited (MOON MONSTERS!), and then halfway through I would remember that it was just the Transformers trailer and get pissed off instead.


@Elsajeni Same here! What a waste of a good trailer. I would totally watch the alternate-history "MOON WARS: 1969" movie.


@anachronistique I guess we had the option of Apollo 18 for that, although I never actually bothered to see that either.


@Elsajeni Spoilers: there are no moon monsters. :(


Wow, I actually thought Turturro super phoned it in during his appearances. He had this kind of face that made me think he really, really didn't want to be there. So, if the other performances made Turturro's look involved...that's pretty bad!


So, I thought the first movie was so terrible that I didn't even try with the others, but I'm commenting here to congratulate you on your excellent use of an Emma quote.

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