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TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (director: Michael Bay; screenwriters: Ehren Kruger/based on action figures by Hasbro; cinematographer: Amir Mokri; editors: Roger Barton/William Goldenberg/Joel Negron; music: Steve Jablonsky; cast: Shia LaBeouf (Sam Witwicky), Josh Duhamel (Lennox), John Turturro (Simmons), Tyrese Gibson (Epps), Rose Huntington-Whitely (Carly), Frances McDormand (Mearing), Patrick Dempsey (Dylan), Kevin Dunn (Ron Witwicky), Julie White (Judy Witwicky), John Malkovich (Bruce Brazos), Ken Jeong(Jerry Wang), voice of Hugo Weaving (Megatron), voice of Leonard Nimoy (Autobot); Runtime: 154; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura/Tom DeSanto/Don Murphy/Ian Bryce; Paramount Pictures; 2011)
You can’t say enough bad things about this theme-park ride trying desperately to pass itself off as a genuine dramatic feature film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

You can’t say enough bad things about this theme-park ride trying desperately to pass itself off as a genuine dramatic feature film. This is the 3D third installment, the longest one of the trilogy and thereby the worst one. It’s based on a line of Hasbro toys, which tells you how adult we can go with this toy story. Hack director Michael Bay once againdelivers a noisy techno spectacle that resembles a heap of scrap metal piled high with no purpose. The big buck budget allows the inept dramatically but high-tech friendly filmmaker to throw at us the latest in visual effects and CG animation, as its incomprehensible nonsensical plotline by screenwriter Ehren Kruger bases the story on the battle by machines for planet Earth.

The plot revolves around some revisionist history, about robots discovered by Apollo astronauts on the 1969 moon landing (with real moon landing astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a cameo to confirm some bogus landing on the dark side of the moon of the alien Autobots’ planetCybertron in a 1961 spacecraft, to escape from destruction by the fearsome Decepticons). It takes us to the present, where the good freedom-loving Autobots are the only thing preventing the world domination by the evil tyrannical Decepticons.

Jerky acting Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has a secret medal from President Obama for saving the world, but the recent college grad can’t get a job in Washington, D.C. in the bleak job market. Nevertheless Sam has for companionship a supportive hottie girlfriend Carly (Rose Huntington-Whitely, British Victoria Secret fashion model, who replaces the fired Megan Fox) and his lovable Autobot car Bumblebee. Through the recommendation of Carly’s billionaire luxury classic car collector/dealer slimy boss Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), who has a hidden agenda as the duplicitous PR man for the Decepticons, Sam gets a messenger job with the firm of anal-retentive Bruce Brazos (John Malkovich), and immediately gets involved with the Autobots and warns the bossy uptight national director of intelligence Mearing (Frances McDormand) of the danger of exiling the Autobots and about the machines planning to attack the Earth when the Autobots are removed by an order from the U.S. President and therefore would be unable to protect the humans. After Washington, D.C. is nearly destroyed the film’s last third, which went on seemingly forever, a battle royale breaks out in downtown Chicago and hunks Colonel Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson), from the elite Government squad NEST, help the heroic Sam rescue his bimbo girlfriend and help the cunning Autobots (who never leave as ordered) counter the attack by the Decepticons.

John Turturro hams it up as a former FBI agent, while Ken Jeong as an Asian cutie-pie plays it weird as some kind of alien lover.

It’s one of the really terrible blockbusters of recent years, as the acting was wooden, the dialogue was witless, the story line was unimaginative, the overlong crass pic was unwatchable, and everything about it was a slap in the face to serious viewers who do not judge a film by how much it grosses or by its special effects but by its critical worth. If you came out of this noisy dreck without a headache, you should consider yourself fortunate.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”