Film Review: ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ Gets Adrenalin Pumping

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CHICAGO – The final 45 minutes of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” are such an orgy of CGI insanity, falling skyscrapers, and battling robots that the film approaches some sort of summer movie nirvana, or at least it will for the right audience. There’s little debate that the Chicago-set climax of Michael Bay’s third film based on Hasbro’s line of toys delivers what it promises. Sadly, the previous 100 minutes are nearly intolerable. Buy a ticket for “Dark of the Moon,” go see another 100-minute movie and come back for what matters. You won’t miss a thing. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Very few filmmakers have the brass balls (or obnoxious gall depending on your viewpoint) to open their film not only with three Presidential impersonators (Kennedy, Nixon, Obama) but with a complete dismantling of American history to make it fit into “Transformers” mythology. It turns out the entire space race has been an excuse to mine Autobot technology and that both the U.S. and Russia knew all along that one of their spaceships had crashed on the other side of the moon. Even Buzz Aldrin (who cameos, believe it or not) was in on the conspiracy. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger and Bay go as far as to suggest that the Chernobyl disaster was due to experimentation with part of the Autobot ship – one can easily question the taste there, even more so during a scene that invokes memories of the Challenger explosion. Considering they’ve rewritten a massive part of the last five decades of international history without much concern about sacred ground, one can only assume that this franchise will eventually re-imagine the birth of Jesus Christ as somehow related to Autobots and Decepticons.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in our reviews section.

Of course, the interstellar drama isn’t nearly as important as what’s happening with Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). Despite saving the world twice, he’s having trouble getting a job. His model-girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, infamously replacing Megan Fox as the hottie of the franchise) still loves him but she’s clearly being wooed by her boss (a sleazy Patrick Dempsey) and Sam’s starting to worry that she’ll soon realize that she’s out of his league. He eventually does find a job although its importance to the plot is so secondary (other than to get John Malkovich and Ken Jeong involved in the movie for a few scenes) that it’s completely disposable.

What matters to the “story” of “Dark of the Moon” is that the Autobots, still led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), have been helping us protect the world from terrorism when they stumble upon the NASA cover-up. It turns out that the ship that crashed on the moon was carrying pillars that could transport enemies or even planets across the universe. Naturally, Autobots and Decepticons both want a technology that can unleash countless allies at one time and poor humans want to stop them. Frances McDormand gets involved as an Intelligence Director and Josh Duhamel & Tyrese Gibson return to kick some robot ass. Of course, John Turturro returns for comic relief, aided by the great Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”) in a mostly-throwaway role.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” review.

”Transformers: Dark of the Moon” stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Frances McDormand, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong, Patrick Dempsey, and John Malkovich. It was written by Ehren Kruger and directed by Michael Bay. It is rated PG-13 and opens on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 (with sneak previews tonight, June 28, 2011).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

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