Genre: Action

Director: Michael Bay

Stars: Shia LeBeouf, Rose Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson

** 1⁄2

Picking
the “best” of the three Transformers movies is like choosing death by
firing squad, shark mauling or being crushed by one of Wile E. Coyote’s
giant anvils.

On reflection, I’d choose the anvil drop, which is what the last 45
minutes of Transformers: Dark of the Moon feels like, as the good alien
robots (Autobots) and bad alien robots (Decepticons) turn Chicago into
a scrapyard.

The overlong Transformers 3 is an improvement over the
incomprehensible Transformers 2, which I’m still in therapy for, and
the pokey original Transformers, which first turned these
robot-changing Hasbro toy cars into multiplex behemoths.

 

This latest eruption qualifies for “most revived franchise” status,
if only because scripter Ehren Kruger, the guilty pen behind
Transformers 2, has literally found the plot, any plot.

This one ludicrously connects the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing with
Transformers lore — Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin secretly discover a
smashed Autobots spaceship on the moon’s dark side — but at least it’s
a conspiracy theory we can follow.

The lunar find leads to our sweaty teen hero Sam Witwicky (Shia
LaBeouf) being reluctantly dragged yet again into the Autobots vs.
Decepticons fray. But at least he has a new girlfriend to play with, in
between explosions.

She’s feisty rich girl Carly, played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,
a former Victoria’s Secret model. Carly easily fills the gap left by
the departed Megan Fox, who was bounced for comparing Bay to Hitler.

Such happy simplicity doesn’t extend to the rest of Transformers 3,
which Bay and Kruger pack with so many excess characters, it’s as if
they wanted the cast to be as bloated as Bay’s ego.

Transformers 3 also triples up on the comic relief, with two pairs
of humans and one pair of robots offering dubious yuks. John Turturro’s
meddling FBI agent, which allows him to do his best Al Pacino
imitation, now finds its distaff counterpoint in Frances McDormand’s
snippy national intelligence director.

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