Let’s face it: There isn’t much anyone can say about “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” that will sway audience interest one way or the other.
If you embrace the explosive, Michael Bay aesthetic and enjoyed the first two “Transformers” flicks, you’ve undoubtedly already decided to see all 154 minutes of the new film, which opens in theaters tonight at midnight. And if you don’t and didn’t, well, you’ve surely chosen to skip it and go see “Midnight in Paris” again.
Consequently, I’m not going to offer much in-depth critique of “Dark of the Moon” in this post. But I will share a few factoids about the film: details you may find surprising, some that won’t surprise you at all and the scoop on how the disappearance of Megan Fox’s Mikaela Banes is handled. (Hint: Nice words are not uttered.)
If you’re adamant about remaining 100-percent spoiler-free, proceed with caution.
The Washington, D.C., depicted in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” looks nothing like D.C.
This probably isn’t a huge surprise, since movies rarely depict D.C. accurately. But Bay and Co. did take the time to shoot for several days last year in our nation’s capital. Some of those scenes — a quick shot of Optimus Prime, in truck form, speeding down a D.C. street, a newswoman doing a live shot in front of the Capitol — appear. But generally speaking, D.C. looks completely unrecognizable — full of impossibly tall buildings, street signs that make no sense and a vibe evocative of a less stylized version of “Sin City.”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” may be the first 3D movie to feature an appearances by Barack Obama, Walter Cronkite, John F Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill O’ Reilly.
Not kidding. They’re all in there.
Oblique references to Megan Fox are not kind.
In an early scene, Shia LaBeouf’s Sam talks to his new girlfriend, Carly (that would be Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), about Fox’s Mikaeala. “She was mean,” he says. “I didn’t like her.” Later, Sam tells his parents: “She dumped me. I moved on to something better.” Tongue-in-cheek humor or Bay’s revenge for Fox’s past remarks that compared him to Hitler?
So how is Huntingon-Whiteley anyway?
She’s fine in pretty much the same way Fox was fine — she looks good and is convincing enough within the confines of the material. And by the way, don’t assume her character isn’t an empowered female. She has her own job (working for McDreamy), she is not afraid to yell at Decepticons when necessary and she can run from exploding debris just as well as the boys can — and while wearing turquoise pumps.
Ken Jeong is in the movie. And he is a manic delight.
Honestly, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” would have benefitted from a bit more Jeong.
Shia LaBeouf flies in your face courtesy of the 3D effect.
I expected to get a little Megatron up in my grill. But seeing LaBeouf’s body leap off the screen was more effectively surprising. I have now officially dubbed this cinematic effect “getting LaBeouffed.”
Frances McDormand and John Turturro
The two actors share several scenes. Which is thrilling for Coen brothers fans because it means we get to watch Jesus Quintana from “The Big Lebowski” go head to head with Marge Gunderson from “Fargo.”
Lots of product placements
The most interesting and blatant one involves Mercedes, and could be fodder for post-movie discussion: Is the luxury car company’s involvement in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” good or bad for its brand? Should you choose to watch “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” again on DVD, I strongly recommend viewing it as a double feature with Morgan Spurlock’s most recent documentary. You can call it “The Loudest Movie Ever Sold” meets “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”