Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Ehren Kruger
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich
To say anything more about the story would be to give too much away. To suffice to say, Transformers: Dark of the Moon intertwines government conspiracies, a high-tech war epic, and a story of an attempt to overcome insurmountable odds against overwhelming forces into a heart-pounding, non-stop bullets and explosions robo-actioner.
New characters abound in this third outing for the Transformers. The departure of Mikaela (Megan Fox) and the introduction of Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley adds a fresh dynamic to Sam Witwicky's (Shia LaBeouf) personal life, adding a renewed belief and wonder of discovering Optimus Prime and his Autobots for the first time. Patrick Dempsey comes onboard as Carly's boss Dylan and perceived rival for Carly’s affections. As Sam’s boss, Bruce Brazos, John Malkovich brings his Malkovich-y self to alpha-dog self-absorbed yellow-loving role, Bruce Brazos. Director Meade, played by Frances McDormand, brings a tough as nails female to the role of NEST Operations overseer. Epps (Tyrese Gibson) and Lennox (Josh Duhamel) reprise their roles as senior field agents for NEST, getting in the trenches with their teams against a foe so superior they certainly can not hope to defeat it alone – although they never give up. For levity, Bay replaced the annoying Skids and Mudflaps from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with the return of Agent Simmons (John Turturro), the addition of Simmons personal assistant Dutch (Firefly's Alan Tudyk), researcher Jerry Wang (The Hangover's Ken Jeong) and pint-sized Autobots Wheelie (voiced by Tom Kenny) and Brains (Reno Wilson).
As with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, some of the Cybertronian characters could have been expanded on. Of course, Optimus Prime, Bumble Bee, Megatron and a couple others get plenty of exposure, but Sideswipe and other Autobots seem like little more than glossy, high-detailed window dressing. The armies of Decepticons are certainly mechanical minions in the battle for the planet, but only Starscream, Shockwave and Soundwave getting any evil doing screen-time. At a runtime of 2 hours 37 minutes, Bay must have had more to cut out than he could keep, but he did manage to develop the secondary characters as best he could – to fine effect.
The IMAX presentation in 3D brought bone-vibrating sound and in-your-face graphics. The dust and debris hung in the theater, the explosions rocking the seats and the arm cannon blasts blinding the senses. The entire third act is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride worthy of a movie all its own. Along with the typical classic Michael Bay slow motions and cheesy adrenaline-fueled one-liners, we get a few Autobot/Decepticon Quentin Tarantino moments, and a Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan reference. In IMAX 3D, regular 3D or good ole-fashion 2D, Transformers: Dark of the Moon will renew your faith in the franchise, the three films as a complete trilogy, and the humanity of both man and machine!