Transformers 3 movie poster featuring Optimus, Shia LaBeouf and Pillow Lips

When I started writing film reviews for The Nerd Report, I knew I’d have to make a decision; Do I pay premium movie ticket prices to see what’s so obviously complete garbage – all in the name of keeping the people up-to-date on the latest movie releases? Or do I forego the movie altogether in a “Fuck you!” statement to shitty movie-makers everywhere?

When I saw the first trailer for Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon I could feel the dread building up. Here was a movie that was directed by a guy I hate, starring an actor I can’t stand, about giant robots fighting each other. In my mind, there was no way this movie was going to be good – and surprisingly enough it was worse than I thought it would be! So for you, my reading audience, I chose the former and donated money to what I knew would be a terrible movie. God have mercy on my soul.

(Spoilers activated.)

Addams Family hates Transformers 3

It’s at this point where I would write a brief summary of the plot behind TF3, which is going to be difficult because I have no fucking idea what I just saw. The movie starts out with Optimus Prime narrating some stuff about the war on Cybertron, explaining that their leader was captaining a ship holding cargo that could win the war for the Autobots. The Decepticons manage to hit it with a few missiles and it gets lost in space. Cut to some scenes from mid-60s America during the height of the Space Race. You’ve got JFK, you’ve got Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (sorry Michael Collins), and you have a giant wrecked spaceship housing close to a dozen dead Transformers on the surface of the moon.

For the next two hours you see a bunch of stupid crap. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is still whining about how much his life sucks. Despite saving the world twice, receiving a hero medal from the President, and dating Pillow Face (his latest model), Sam just can’t catch a break. He just wants to be special, dammit! Meanwhile, the military guys from the first two movies get to work with the Autobots in an effort to “save humanity from itself.”

Then some stuff happens that involves Decepticons killing humans and Autobots reviving the captain of the moon wreckage, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nemoy), with the leadership matrix crystal. We learn Sentinel taught Optimus everything he knows and was the “Einstein of the Autobots” – having created hundred of sticks that, once activated by a master stick, will open a portal through space. The Decepticons want this technology, the Autobots try to hide it from them, and Sentinel betrays Optimus. At this point the bad guy monologues, revealing he was working with the Decepticons all along and in order to rebuild their home world, he’s planning on transporting the remains of their planet to Earth and turn the humans into slaves to rebuild it.

And in true Michael Bay fashion, a lot of explosions happen while giant robots kill each other. Sam manages to take out the human bad guy (Dr. McDreamy), and break the master stick with his corpse while Pillow Face talks Megatron into stopping his evil scheme. Megatron maims Sentinel, Optimus rips Megatron’s spine out of his robot-body, Optimus takes a sawed-off shotgun to Sentinel’s head and pulls the trigger. With the bad guys defeated, Optimus delivers some speech about freedom being a right for everyone while a flag billows in the background. And roll end credits…

I’m not going to say I expect a masterpiece where the Transformer movies are concerned. I enjoy seeing the spectacle that is a bunch of robots beating each other senseless. It’s entertaining, popcorn-eating fun. It’s the other crap I had to sit through that just made TF3 painful. I found myself actually thinking about the philosophical and ethical issues of this movie just to keep myself from being bored. Here are a few of them:

  • Was the spacecraft featured at the beginning of the movie also a Transformer? If so, do Transformers have a class system?
  • How do the Autobots feel about the way we use technology/machinery? Do they see it as a form of subjugation?
  • Why are the Autobots fighting to reinforce American foreign policies? As aliens, they have no reason to favor one human nation over another, and yet here they are fighting against Russia and the Middle East in an effort to “save humanity from itself.”
  • If the Decepticons want to enslave the human race, why do they spend the entire movie killing humans? That seems counter-intuitive.
  • How does Sam Witwicky keep getting attractive girlfriends?
  • Sentinel says his decision to enslave humanity to save Cybertron is purely Utilitarian. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!” So why is he willing to sacrifice 6 billion beings for a couple dozen beings? (Was this a throwback to Nemoy’s Spock days?)

And then there’s the logical questions like:

  • If Sentinel was working with Megatron all along, why did the Decepticons shoot at his spacecraft with missiles? Were they willing to risk the entire fate of Cybertron to make Sentinel’s escape to Earth believable? And the ship was damaged enough to kill every Transformer aboard, save for the captain. Was this also part of their plan? How did they know the attack wouldn’t damage the portal sticks?
  • Pillow Face threatens to leave Sam if he tries to save the world. WHO WOULD DO THIS!?! “If you try to save the planet AGAIN, I’m leaving your ass!”
  • Wouldn’t the introduction of Cybertron ruin Earth’s gravitational pull around the sun? I think if we had a celestial body that large in that proximity, we’d stop revolving around the sun and become a moon to the much larger planet. This would end up killing all life on Earth. Again, if they want Earth for the people, WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS!?!
  • What happened to that “rabbit’s foot” storyline at the beginning of the movie?

TF3 is probably the worst movie I’ve seen in recent memory. It was jarring, incohesive, and stupid. Had more of the movie been dedicated to the Transformer fights, I might have at least been entertained. Instead, I was bored and annoyed for the entire duration of the movie.

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