Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) (part 4 of 11)
Now we go catch up with Sam and Carly. He’s visiting her at her new job, which appears to be taking care of an automobile collection owned by a douchebag CEO named Dylan Gould, played by Patrick Dempsey, another actor who really should know better. He mentions that he “stole her away” from the British embassy, which, I guess, clears up why she was at the White House when Sam was getting that little medal of his.
Gould then continues to talk, for some reason, basically hitting on Carly the entire time, much to Sam’s dismay. This includes him talking about a car and saying “look at the curves,” while the camera pans up Carly’s body. Yes, Michael Bay. You like hot women. We get it. We wish we didn’t. But we do.
Then he takes Sam and Carly to a garage, which has a number of pictures of Gould and Carly up on the walls together. Yeah, that is a little creepy, it must be said. Carly and Sam make their escape after that, heading out to Sam’s car, which won’t start. He decides to fix this by kicking the engine repeatedly. Indeed.
These scenes again added nothing to the plot. Yes, we later learn that Gould is helping the Decepticons (oops, spoilers), but even that wasn’t anything really needed for the movie. So therefore all these scenes could have been cut, saving us 3 minutes and 18 seconds, thus cutting out a total of 10 minutes and 55 seconds. Not bad! I can’t wait to see what the grand total of time saved is!
Returning to the Autobots, who are Transformers, which is part of the title of this movie and the title of the franchise, we find Optimus and company going to the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. Now earlier it was said that they had the technology to do this, but apparently they lied, since clearly they’re carrying an external fuel tank and booster rockets for a space shuttle.
The Autobots head into the Ark, where they find Sentinel Prime and the various pieces of tech that were supposed to help end the war. What does this tech do, you may ask? It generates a large McGuffin field, designed to… ah, but that would be telling. Those of you who have seen the Doctor Who episodes “The End of Time” parts 1 and 2 should have an inkling of what the McGuffin Field does.
The Autobots head back to Earth, and now, about 33 minutes into the movie, we get to see Megatron. Not that you would know that it’s him, since he’s hanging out on the African Savannah, impersonating an escapee from Paradise City.
Of course, at first I wasn’t 100% sure it was Megatron. What with him wearing that clever cloak as a disguise and all. Good thing these robots can’t, say, camouflage themselves as something else, huh?
It’s worth noting at this point that Megatron is basically irrelevant in every single one of these films. He spends most of the first movie on ice, gets his role usurped in the second film and gets it usurped again in this one. If he has more than a combined total of an hour of screen time across all three movies, I’ll be surprised. He really seems like basically a useless afterthought that does nothing of note, and that’s really sad.
In this scene, for example, all that happens is that he growls at some elephants and then feeds some smaller robots. Because robots eat now. Then he speaks with Starscream, Laserbeak and Soundwave. So all the major Decepticons are hiding out in the middle of Africa? Out in the open? And the Autobots haven’t found them yet?
Anyhow, Laserbeak says that the Autobots have taken the bait and Megatron tells him it’s time to kill off all the human collaborators. This brings us into the best scene in the whole film, where Laserbeak disguises himself as a pink robot and visits a little girl, saying to her in his raspy voice, “Is your daddy home?” Then the girl’s mother walks into the girl’s bedroom as she and Laserbeak are hanging out together. He transforms, kills her dad and probably her mom and her as well.
This is everything that the series should be. It’s well done, it’s creepy and it shows real consequences. It takes the film into a very dark place, and that’s right where it should be.
Of course this mood can’t be allowed to last, and we all get whiplash as we shift in tone from dark and disturbing to idiot slapstick comedy! showing Sam at his new job. We meet his immediate supervisor, who is yet another douchebag.
I think I’ve figured out Michael Bay’s approach to characters. He has basically three types of men and two types of women. The men are either vaguely supportive and completely clueless (Sam’s dad), total self-absorbed douchebags (Gould and Sam’s new supervisor), or impossibly heroic (the NEST guys). There are exceptions here and there, but overall that’s what you get. With the women you have only two types; comic relief (Sam’s mom), or insanely hot (Sam’s two insanely hot girlfriends). There are, again, exceptions here and there, but most of the exceptions are women that are basically written as men.
Speaking of idiot characters, here comes Ken Jeong. He’s playing basically the same character he always plays. We see him spying on Sam and generally being weird, following Sam as he does his job and meets with his girlfriend (something noted by an officemate who mutters “Visitor violation,” thus fulfilling his role as a Type Two Bay male). Sam and Carly head into a room where Carly offhandedly mentions that she’s been given a $200,000 car by her boss. Sam makes the suggestion that they sell it and buy a house, though I’m not sure why, since they appear to live in a palatial apartment (albeit one that’s a bit rundown).
A bit of cuteness with Bruce and Carly then happens, and then comes one of the worst, most cringe inducing moments in the film. The only way I can explain the following scenes is that someone sat back and thought to themselves, “You know what this film is missing, aside from a coherent plot, convincing threat, steady tone and Megatron? Dick jokes and gay jokes. That’s what we need!” Boy, that’s certainly what we get. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ken Jeong’s character, Jerry “Deep” Wang.
He’s in an elevator riding with Sam and some other people, including another Type Two Bay Male. When Sam gets out of the elevator, Wang follows him, making all sorts of comments that make it clear that he knows Sam is in league with the Autobots. Then he lures Sam into a bathroom, forces him into a stall and straddles his waist, all the while leaning in close and repeating “Deep Wang, Deep Wang, Deep Wang,” to Sam’s horrified face.
Please understand, everything I just described actually happens. In a movie. In 2011.