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Transformers: Dark of The Moon is supposedly the end of the live-action Transformers movies - or, at least, the end of the series as currently envisioned. Director Michael Bay, who's never been a particularly big fan of the assignment, has intimated that this is his last go at bat, while star Shia LaBeouf has supposedly called it quits as well (co-star Megan Fox having jumped ship after the second one). Of course, in the New Hollywood, nothing is ever truly over - there will be more Transformers movies, in one form or another. But now that this particular iteration seems to have breathed its last I figure it's as good a time as any to give it the same once-over that seemed to go over pretty well for Green Lantern last week.
This time, though, my concerns are less about flaws in filmmaking (which are readily apparent, even in the trailers) and more about unanswered questions. For example ...
What Do the Decepticons Want, Again?
Transformers always had a fairly simple setup for its good-vs-evil business: The Decepticons wanted to strip the Earth of its resources for fuel; the Autobots weren't so much down with that. In the movies, exactly what the evil plan is - or the reason they're sticking around on Earth - changes multiple times, often in the same film.
In the first film, everyone shows up on Earth because they only just figured out that Megatron and the Allspark are being held here. The Allspark itself, incidentally, also changes usage a few times - from scene to scene it provides unlimited power, turns regular machines into Transformers, or kills you if you're a robot and you put it in your chest. The fact that Megatron has been held by a rogue government agency for decades is apparently a big deal.
But in Revenge of The Fallen, it turns out the Transformers have been here since the dawn of history. One of them mentions his ancestor being The Wheel (heh) while another has been hiding in a government museum disguised as a military jet (because no one would ever check that). Also, the Decepticons now want to blow up the sun, because they're running out of fuel needed to make baby Decepticons (huh?). This is also where we learn that only a Prime can kill The Fallen, but for some reason just about anyone can kill a Prime.
Now, in Dark of The Moon, motivations and history change yet again. The Decepticons haven't just been here for decades, they've been actively working with human collaborators. Why wasn't "let our nearly all-powerful leader out of his ice prison" on the agenda before? We're not told. Supposedly Megatron and Sentinel Prime were both headed for Earth to arrange a clandestine surrender/team up, which sort of makes sense since all that ancient tech from Fallen is here, but that never comes up. We finally get a belated repetition of the "steal your resources" motivation - but it's a trap! The resource they want is humanity itself, a slave labor army to rebuild Cybertron.