10 Years Later: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I say this a lot, but it honestly blows my mind that it’s been a decade since Transformers: Dark of the Moon arrived in theaters. When I watched the blockbuster film’s teaser trailer in the theater for a movie I can’t recall, it was nice to see the 1969 moon landing on the big screen. I thought to myself, “wow, a film about the moon landing. Awesome.” As a film buff, I noticed the font for the trailer seemed a little too familiar but couldn’t put my finger on it. As the trailer continued, so did the suspense, and I saw a damaged alien ship as the astronauts try to investigate. I was drawing a blank until Steven Speilberg’s, and Michael Bay’s names showed up, and it clicked. The third entry into this franchise was about to knock my socks up—what a trailer.

I honestly didn’t pay attention to any of the reviews or how the fans reacted. All I know is that the crowds I was with were all in, and it made a billion dollars worldwide, and the DVD/ Blu ray packed with special features was worth every moment and penny. I often rewatch the opening, and it gives me goosebumps every time as I feel the sense of wonder, adventure and excitement. I mean, taking a moment in American history that defined the human race and wrapping it in the mythology of the Transformers universe–does it get any better than that? Oh, and Steve Jablonsky deserves an Oscar in the near future for his work on these films. Each one is a love letter to cinema and wraps you up in a blanket of awe and wonder.

Shia Labeouf (Holes, Even Stevens, Disturbia) stars for the third time around as the intrepid hero and ally to the Autobots, Sam Witwicky. He’s helped save planet Earth twice, and after a medal from the President, things are looking up for him. Even Bumblebee is going on missions, though this leaves Sam jealous. He may have broken up with Michaela and now has a new love in his life, but Sam feels he is missing his true purpose. I like this development because, like in the first film, Sam is trying to prove his worth by impressing the girl. Carly is a knockout, but she is a classy woman who’s down to earth. She isn’t bothered by the less-than-glamorous lifestyle and genuinely cares for Sam. He doesn’t see that, and it takes a world-ending event to know the value of his worth and how others see himself and vice-versa.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Mad Max Fury Road) may be an ethereal and elegant supermodel but defies expectations with her performance and characterization of Carly Spencer. She took over for Mikaela, played by Megan Fox in the previous two films. I was shocked that Megan Fox was no longer a part of the franchise. Fox and Labeouf had delivered such eclectic chemistry, and after the events of the second film, Sam and Mikaela seem inseparable. It was never explained in the movie, but I like to think that Mikaela loves Sam. Maybe the idea of being an ally of the Autobots and the perils of that world for a long time weighed on her, and she needed to move on. There have been conflicting reports of how Megan Fox left the franchise, but I was sad to see her go. I give props to screenwriter Ehren Kruger for expertly introducing yet adapting this amazing character for the screen, and Whiteley excelled.

John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White reprise their roles from the previous two films and once again give 100% and make their marks at the end of this trilogy. Patrick Dempsey (Enchanted, Grey’s Anatomy) was an unexpected casting choice but a very welcome one as he goes toe to toe with Sam Witwicky in more ways than one, which I was very impressed with how he delivered. The same goes for Frances McDormand and Alan Tudyk. They can work in any genre and own it.

What I love about this film is a hero’s journey redefined. Sam Witwicky has come full circle in becoming the best version of himself. He is determined to fight for truth and justice. The Autobots, time and time again, are sacrificial and honorable even when the odds are stacked against them over and over again. I mean, the fact that the legendary Peter Cullen has stuck around with this amazing world for decades adds a sense of wonderment and magic. God bless him. Many great actors steal the show like Andy Daly, Lester Speight, Ken Jeong, and JOHN MALKOVICH and THE LATE AND GREAT LEONARD NIMOY.

This movie is worth watching again on the biggest screen possible, and if you can watch the behind-the-scenes content, please do. It showcases the wonder of filmmaking and celebrates cinema’s real heroes who make these films possible, and I am forever grateful for it.

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