Transformers: Dark of the Moon review / Susan Granger
Published 11:56 am, Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Take a packet of aspirin to the theater with you, along with a bottle of water if you don't want to dash out to the fountain, because the onset of a headache is inevitable.
Michael Bay's latest installment of his popular, action-intensive franchise is the first to be shot in 3-D. The teaser says the sci-fi plot revolves around the effects of a mysterious event from Earth's past that erupts into the present day, threatening to ignite a war so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save humanity. What that means is that the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in the dangerous 1969 space race between the U.S. and Russia because there's a secret Cybertronian spacecraft that's hidden on the Moon. Of course, job-hunting college grad Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) comes to the aid of his robotic friends. And with Megan Fox gone, Sam's girlfriend is now played by dazed-and-confused Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Written by Ehren Kruger and directed by Michael Bay, it's an immersive, if hollow, CGI experience revolving around what's brought back by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who later appears himself. Determined to out-mug the cold, metallic machines are John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, Ken Jeong and Frances McDormand -- plus Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson as government agents.
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With Washington, D.C. almost demolished, the primary battle is set in Chicago, where buildings crumble and streets buckle as the landmark cityscape is decimated, strewn with human carnage. But at 154 minutes, all the noisy destruction gets tedious.
FYI: The "dark of the moon" is defined as a phrase of approximately three days when the light of the moon is obscured; it precedes a new moon and the beginning of a new lunar cycle. Symbolically, it's regarded as a time of stillness and contemplation, preparing for a new beginning.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is a deafening, exhausting 5, yet in this kind of shock-and-awe sensory spectacle, the toys always emerge triumphant.