Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

Transformers: Dark of the Moon ReviewSynopsis
When the Transformers learn that an ancient Cybertonian ship is on the moon, the Autobots must race to discover its secrets before the Decepticons do.

After the disappointment of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I went into the third live-action Transformers film with caution. Thankfully, Transformers: Dark of the Moon seems to have learned after Revenge of the Fallen and treats the audience with more respect. The humor isn’t as immature as before. In fact, there is not as much humor as there was previous films in the franchise. Whereas the last two films had jokes coming from multiple sources, this movie primarily relies on Shia LeBeouf to carry that aspect of it. Instead, it takes itself much more seriously, which ends up helping overall because the story is much bigger and epic than before. Like Revenge of the Fallen, it goes bigger than the films before in a true sequel fashion. This focus on the story and characters rather than the childish humor creates a much more engaging and exciting experience.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the definition of a β€œblockbuster” movie. It’s big, it’s loud, and it takes you on an adventure. It isn’t as glob-spanning as Revenge of the Fallen but that’s okay. While the world trotting grandeur isn’t there, the action is much bigger, which is saying something considering the last film. The best part is that this movie does a much better job of framing the action scenes around the robots than the previous films. There are still multiple close-ups during the fights making it tricky to see everything but for the most part, the camera stays further back, giving a better view of the fight, especially against the backdrop of Chicago during the final act.

I thought Transformers: Dark of the Moon was GOOD πŸ™‚ Just like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen went bigger than Transformers, Dark of the Moon goes bigger than Revenge of the Fallen. Even though the film is longer, the story is much more focused and the humor is much better, being toned back severely and being more serious in general. Overall, it is a vast improvement on all counts than the let down of its immediate predecessor in the franchise.

According to ILM, the company employed its entire rendering machinery to use on the film. This added up to using more than 200,000 rendering hours per day, the equivalent of 22.8 years of render time in 24 hours. (via IMDb)


Cast & Crew
Michael Bay – Director
Ehren Kruger – Writer
Steve Jablonsky – Composer

Shia LeBeouf – Sam Witwicky
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – Carly
Josh Duhamel – Lennox
John Turturro – Simmons
Alan Tudyk – Dutch
Tyrese Gibson – Epps
Patrick Dempsey – Dylan
Frances McDormand – Mearing
Kevin Dunn – Ron Witwicky
Julie White – Judy Witwicky
John Malkovich – Bruce Brazos
Ken Jeong – Jerry Wang
Glenn Marshower – General Marshower
Peter Cullen – Optimus Prime (voice)
Jess Harnell – Iron Hide (voice)
Robert Foxworth – Ratchet (voice)
James Remar – Sideswipe (voice)
Francesco Quinn – Dino (voice)
George Coe – Wheeljack (voice)
Tom Kenny – Que / Wheelie (voice)
Reno Wilson – Brains (voice)
Leonard Nimoy – Sentinel Prime (voice)
Hugo Weaving – Megatron (voice)
Charlie Adler – Starscream (voice)
Frank Welker – Soundwave / Shockwave (voice)
Keith Szarabajka – Laserbeak (voice)

Movie Quote of the Week – 11/11/16

Movie Quote of the Week banner

Answer to MWL 11/9/16: V (Hugo Weaving) – V for Vendetta

Evey: Can I ask about what you said on the telly?
V: Yes.
Evey: Did you mean it?
V: Every word.
Evey: You really think that blowing up Parliament’s going to make this country a better place?
V: There’s no certainty, only opportunity.
Evey: Well I think that you can be certain that if anyone does show up, Creedy’ll black-bag every one of them.
V: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
Evey: And you’ll make that happen by blowing up a building?
V: The building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people blowing up a building can change the world.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and a Guy Fawkes mask to the following people for answering correctly:

Cindy (Cindy Bruchman)
Tom (Digital Shortbread)
SG (Rhyme and Reason)

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Captain America:The First Avenger movie posterSynopsis
During World War II, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) creates a formula to create a super soldier. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was the first person selected to receive the serum. Before the procedure can be used again, Erskine is killed by a member of Hydra, a Nazi research division led by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). Now the only super soldier, Rogers goes after Schmidt to eliminate him and the rest of Hydra.

Captain America: The First Avenger was the final stepping stone to the historical The Avengers. Each of the Phase One films have all been unique. What makes this film stand out is that it’s a period piece, something that none of the other films did or have done since. It takes place during World War II, separated from the Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. It’s not without it’s faults, but like the other movies of Phase One, Captain America: The First Avenger serves as a good introduction to Steve Rogers.

Right away, I want to say Hugo Weaving was the perfect choice to play Johann Schmidt. He can just play the perfect villain no matter the situation (he is arguably the best thing from the later Matrix movies). He is cold and heartless, or at least he is great at acting to be. I can see him being the sweetest person in real life.

At first, I wasn’t sure about Chris Evans as Captain America. I still envisioned him as the lighthearted, whimsical Johnny Storm. I wasn’t sure if he could pull of the more serious and patriotic Steve Rogers. Thankfully, my reservations were misplaced. Evans ends up doing great. The same can be said for Hayley Atwell. I wasn’t familiar with her before Captain America, but she simply killed it as Peggy Carter. She’s strong, independent and sassy, the perfect complement to Rogers (and Evans).

When dealing with a character like Captain America, where patriotism is a huge part of his character, it can creep into being obnoxious. This film does great with showing Steve Rogers’ personality without shoving that aspect down your throat. He is a good person and his country is important to him, but it’s not overbearing on the audience.

Alan Silvestri is one of my favorite composers, so it’s no surprise I really enjoyed the score. It may be my favorite of at least all the Phase One films (maybe even all of the MCU films). I immediately recognize it whenever it comes onto my Film Scores Pandora station. You can’t help but be filled with excitement and gusto whenever you hear it.

Captain America’s costume from the comics is as hokey as they come. I’m glad that the final outfit didn’t go that route. It still had the color palette but was actually practical. But there was a throwback to his comic book garb when he was touring the country trying to sell bonds, which was a nice touch.

The tiny Chris Evens in the beginning kind of freaked me out a little. The effect was well done but knowing how Evens looks normally, seeing him so disproportionate threw me off. After several viewings I have gotten used to it, but is still was weird at first.

My biggest issue with this film is the inconsistent pacing. Captain America: The First Avenger loves it’s montages. Normally montages aren’t a bad thing, but this movie doesn’t use them sparingly. There’s a montage and then a few scenes, then another montage, followed by some more scenes and another montage. I understand that it was almost a necessity to for time jumping, but it just seemed irregular.

Captain America: The First Avenger distanced itself from the previous Marvel films by it’s setting in World War II, giving it the sort of freedom to tell the story it needs to. Even with it’s spotty pacing, Marvel’s strong casting choices once again carries their movie further than it would have otherwise.


Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 1: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers.


Cast & Crew
Joe Johnston – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Hayley Atwell – Peggy Carter
Sebastian Stan – James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes
Tommy Lee Jones – Colonel Chester Phillips
Hugo Weaving – Johann Schmidt / Red Skull
Dominic Cooper – Howard Stark
Richard Armitage – Heinz Kruger
Stanley Tucci – Dr. Abraham Erskine
Toby Jones – Dr. Arnim Zola
Neal McDonough – Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan
Derek Luke – Gabe Jones
Keneth Choi – Jim Morita
JJ Field – James Montgomery Falsworth
Bruno Ricci – Jacques Dernier
Lex Shrapnel – Gilmore Hodge
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury

V for Vendetta Review

V for Vendetta move posterSynopsis
In a fascist Great Britain, the freedom fighter known simply as β€œV” (Hugo Weaving) plans to bring down the oppressive High Chancellor (John Hurt) and return the power to the people. But when Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) unexpectedly gets involved, V must determine if she is an asset, or a liability.

Several years ago, I started an annual tradition of watching V for Vendetta on November 5th. It is based off of a graphic novel of the same name, written by Alan Moore in the 1980s. The graphic novel is amazing (if you haven’t read it, check it out), but the movie updates V for Vendetta‘s themes for a more modern audience, but the central message remains the same. Very rarely do I think movie adaptations are better than their source material. But in this case, V for Vendetta delivers everything the graphic novel does and more.

Action sequences don’t happen very frequently in this movie, but when they do, they are intense. If you liked the action from The Matrix trilogy, the Wachowski brother’s project directly before working this film, then you will enjoy it here as well. The last fight between V and Creedy’s soldiers took a page out of those films. It even has got β€œbullet time,” this time with knives included!

Despite never seeing his face, Hugo Weaving does fantastic as V. He strongly delivers his lines, particularly on the more serious ones. And his monologue? Perfectly executed. Natalie Portman does quite well as Evey. Some of her best scenes are when she gets kidnapped and her captors interrogate her. To see her transform as her character transform is remarkable.

One of my favorite things about V for Vendetta is its pacing and how the characters are developed throughout the film, particularly V. We aren’t given all his history at once. Instead we are given bits and pieces that are finally brought together in narrated journal entries. Same goes for the rise of the of the High Chancellor. It is an excellent method to not dump all the information at once, but still keep the audience engaged.

I’m not going to delve too deeply into them, but V for Vendetta has several thought provoking ideas that are worth your attention. Some of which include what the relationship between a government and its people should be, and the power of an idea. Definitely what makes this movie one for me is its ability to present its messages in an entertaining way without becoming preachy.

The filmmakers did everything right in V for Vendetta: intense action sequences, good characterization, great story pacing, and it does an outstanding job of getting its message across. This is a very in-depth movie, but also can be viewed just for entertainment. Watching it every year is a tradition I plan on keeping for a long time.