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Published on June 29th, 2011 | by simeon

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Delivering a much-needed shot of adrenaline to the summer movie season, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, arrives awash in stunning visuals and cutting-edge 3-D.

The movie picks up a few years after the events of the last film, as Sam (Shia LaBeouff), is struggling to adjust to his post college life. Despite the fact that he has been honored by the president for his heroic actions in the two previous films, Sam finds himself like many graduates, unable to find a job in today’s economy.

Sam bemoans the fact that he wants to do its work that matters again to his new girlfriend Carly (Rose Huntington-Whiteley), and is become increasingly frustrated with not being able to contribute to their finances. The fact that Carly works for suave and rich boss named Dylan, (Patrick Dempsey), only heightens Sam’s insecurity.

Meanwhile Sam’s Autobot friends are working closely with the government to root out any threats to national security as well as staying on alert for Decepticon attacks.

It is learned that an object great importance is on the moon in a crashed ship, and that the United States and Russia created their space race during the Cold War in an effort to obtain the secrets of the crash.

When alerted to the existence of the crash site, the Autobots investigate and discover their long-lost leader Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy) is still alive and guarding precious cargo.

Despite meeting interference from a politician overseeing the top-secret program (Francis McDormand), Sam discovers a shocking secret with the help of Simmons (John Turturro), which soon has the entire planet caught in a battle between the two alien forces.

As loyalty, love, and friendships are put to the test, Sam and the Autobots must once again face their mortal enemies to save all life on earth.

The film is much darker than the previous films in the series as watching cities and civilian’s cut down during various enemy attacks may be hard for some fans of the series to watch.

That being said, the film is a visual masterpiece as the wizards at Industrial Light and Magic have crafted an amazing experience that at times is hard to believe are comprised of digital imagery rather than actual creatures.

Director Michael Bay who made a name for himself with summer action films that are big on explosions while short on plot has created arguably the best film of the series and perhaps of his career.

While the film runs at two hours and 40 minutes and does at times lag, Bay keeps things moving along at a steady clip and injects a little bit of humor into the film in between the chaos and mayhem.

While the acting and plot are not going to win any awards, they are better than usual for a summer action film.

It was reported that Paramount pressured Bay into filming in 3-D by threatening post convert the film if he had filmed in 2D. Bay responded with lavish 3-D effects that show off the true beauty and potential of the new 3-D technology and drastically underscores why Hollywood needs to stop doing the vastly inferior post conversion 3-D which has been done to the majority of 3D films that are being released. While it does not have the immersive quality of “Avatar”, the film nonetheless provides quality visual experience without resorting to the in-your-face gimmicks which are so common with 3-D films.

There are several fine supporting performances in the film including John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk, and John Tuturro who lift up the scenes they are in. Rose Huntington-Whiteley taking over for Megan Fox provides a fresh new romantic interest for Sam even though she’s given little more to do than play the damsel in distress for large parts the film. When she is given the chance, she throws herself deep into the action with a gusto worthy of any of her cast mates.

The film does have more than a few plot holes and without giving away any spoilers, suffice it to say that I had to question the events the last two films after seeing this one.

When a long-term objective is revealed, I had to ask why the events of the previous films took place now rather than in the past when certain parties had all of the required information available to them for decades.

It certainly would’ve been just as easy for characters to have initiated the actions of this film in an earlier film or timeline and would have wasted less resources.

That being said, when you’re dealing with shape changing aliens, one does have to allow a good degree of leeway in the storytelling process.

While it may not be the end to the series, certain cast members (Shia LaBeouff), have indicated that this is their last performance in the series. If that is the case, the film goes out on a strong note is arguably the best film in the series and a highly enjoyable summer movie experience.

3.5 stars out of 5.


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