Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Oh dear god no.
" Mankind's finest achievement. Our nation's proudest moment. A secret hidden for forty years."

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Tagline! I normally wouldn't bother to even address how shitty a Transformers movie is, but while watching a Rifftrax of the third Transformers movie, I came to realize that it was maybe one of the single worst movies I'd ever had the misfortune of experiencing. It was so unspeakably shitty, that indeed, it was hard to even watch with the MST3K crew making jokes over it (If you do not know about Mystery Science Theater, then learn you some here. Rifftrax is what Mike Nelson, Kevin Muphy and Bill Corbitt do now). I can also mention that I didn't care for the first Transformers movie either. I can admit that it was an average action movie at least, as opposed to the epic level train wreck that is Dark of the Moon. I'm now going to attempt to summarize the movie, but I expect that's going to be challenging because I'm not 100% sure about any of it. I'm going to open the wiki page about the movie and we can discover the plot together!

This is Sam's yellow car Jitterbug. He's an Otobutt. We care
about what happens to him for reasons not present in this film.
Okay so in the early 60s a robot spaceship from Cybertron crashed on the dark side of the moon. Footage of JFK is used alongside a really terrible CG rendering of him, to tell us that the moon landing was all just an excuse to go check out this crashed space ship. This is the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Then the movie jumps to the present (2012) where a voice over tells us how the autobots are helping 'Murica fight the 'bad guys' in the name of democracy or something. They go to Chernobyl and find a piece of the ship from the moon, and then go get it, and find Sentinel Prime, who came before Optimus and is like super leader and built some sort of teleporting bridge that is important for some reason.  Then the movie jumps again, to Shia the Beef, who is sad because without the autobots to make him interesting he is essentially an unlikable loser, even though for some reason he has a new 'hot' girlfriend, who has appeared for no apparent reason (honestly she is dressed so she looks like a scientist in a porn movie, which is maybe what the movie was going for? Even then why is she with the beef?). The obvious reason is that Megan Fox refused to be in Transformers 3, but that is not an acceptable answer Transformers!

Her description is literally "Sam's new love
interest". Now THAT is compelling character
for virtually the only female in the movie.
Anyway Sam the Beef is jealous because his porn girlfriend (portrayed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, an English model who I think Michael Bay cast just to try and piss off Megan Fox) is really close to her boss Patrick Dempsey, and let's face it, he should be nervous, I mean he's an unlikable tool. Sam gets a job working for a really insane looking John Malkovich (even for him) and then his weird spazzy co-worker Jerry (Ken Jeong, who was in those Hangover movies? He was nominated for a Razzy for his performance in this movie) tells him something about the spaceship for some reason, then he gets killed by an evil robot bird. The beef tells this to some guy from one of the other movies, and they realize that Megatron is trying to kill anyone who knows stuff about the mission to the moon... okay this movie was really long and the plot is boring and stupid, let's speed this up. After an awkward cameo by Buzz Aldrin, Sentinel betrays them and all the Autobots die, only they don't really, a lot of Decepticons come from the moon to blow up Chicago, Megatron wants to teleport Cybertron to Earth so he can rule it, The Beef has to save his girlfriend so he has to go to Chicago, Tyrese helps him, the Autobots come back even though I didn't know they were hiding, lots of explosions, then they beat the bad guys and we CARE, some robots die, I guess we're supposed to be sad.

Save me Beefman, for I am a helpless lady scientist!
So for starters, this movie is slightly over two and a half hours long, if the meandering plot summary above didn't give that away. I can't think of a movie that doesn't need that kind of length as much as a Transformers movie. Despite being bloated to the point that I suspected the movie might never end, it manages to pack in way more characters than it can fit reasonably, and then barely even tells us who most of them are (to be honest it actually just DOESN'T tell you who most of them are, we're just supposed to know from previous movies and care about them accordingly. Except for blondegirlfriend, she's just a straight up old fashioned Macguffin). Rather than waste time on plot development, character development, or even bothering to HAVE a plot that appears on screen in many parts, we get orchestral soundtrack while transforming robots wheel end over end through the air on fire while things explode, in slow motion. I'm not even embellishing here, this is a thing that happens multiple times for no reason in the movie. The movie is basically a parody of itself.

That looks like a practical outfit to do science in.
People have said in reviews that "well it's dumb but we can't deny the amazing 3D spectacle being put on display" and I'd like to totally do that right now. Just because effects are expensive and technically fancy, doesn't make them impressive. The effects in this movie have literally no context, and I don't even think they look very good. It's just masses of exploding shifting gears flying through the air while buildings blow up. That isn't engaging, and I'm not impressed by it. With the exception of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee (and Sentinel Prime in this one) I honestly have kind of a tough time telling the transformers apart. Their design is ugly, grey metal, and is generally pretty uninspired looking. Even Megatron looks kind of generic. I am frankly dumbfounded that this movie has a 6.3 on IMDB, and a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes. 36% of reviewers thought that this movie was at the very least adequate, and I feel like we must have been watching different movies. This movie barely even bothers to share what's going on, and its script is made up of mostly either almost unintelligible gibberish, or army men shouting things like "GOGOGO!" or "Let's move people!". It's like the script was written by someone who was fired from writing scripts for a Call of Duty game. I won't even address the fact that practically the only female character given any real screen time exists in the movie SOLELY to be a sex object who is paraded throughout the movie in skimpy improbable outfits. No I changed my mind, I will. What the fuck Transformers?!

Leonard Nimoy, you don't have to put on the red armor.
I hope dearly that actors like Leonard Nimoy (who voices Sentinel Prime) were paid truly exorbitant fees to even lend their voices to this smoldering train wreck, because it made me sad to see/hear them. I also hope that Michael Bay will never churn out something this repugnant again, but knowing that he is producing a Ninja Turtles movie makes it hard to hold out much hope. I want to say it couldn't possibly be worse than this movie, but after so many movies I know better than to dream that dream. Let me just close by saying that this movie grossed 1.123 billion dollars in the box office. Pacific Rim, a much better movie about giant robots, has thus far grossed 224 million dollars. In short, there is no hope. To strike another comparison, The Dark Knight, a movie about as long (152 minutes) with a similar budget (185 to Transformers 195 million) grossed only 1.004 billion, meaning that yes you got it, Transformers outgrossed The Dark Knight by about 120 million dollars. What the actual fuck people. I am seriously troubled by that realization.

That's all for today! I'll see you on Thursday with more bile, I'm going to double down on garbage this week, and I'm considering something different, maybe for the weekend? We'll see!

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