'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Review: Repetitive, Played Out

I imagine that in seeking a replacement for the discarded Megan Fox in the Transformers series, two qualifications were foremost in the filmmakers’ minds: one, a talent for wearing very tight clothing; and, two, the ability to scurry through fields of smoking rubble in kicky high heels. The woman–the actress, I suppose–who met these requirements was Rosie Huntington-Whitely, an English Victoria’s Secret model. Rosie lacks Fox’s forthright wenchiness, but you’ll be happy to know that…

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Well, who cares, really? Huntington-Whitely is the designated babe in this third Transformers destruct-a-thon. Shia LaBeouf, unlikeliest of action men, is back as young Sam Witwicky, friend to the noble Autobots, scourge of the evil Decepticons. And series regulars John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, and Josh Duhamel, all returning for another tent-pole paycheck, are joined this time around by John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and designated supporting stud Patrick Dempsey. It’s a crowded movie, especially after packing in Optimus Prime, Megatron, and all the other clanking behemoths once again on hand. But who would have it any other way?

Writer Ehren Kruger, who worked on the last Transformers film (the widely reviled Revenge of the Fallen), here had script duties all to himself, and he has fashioned a narrative of ornate silliness–which is to say, pretty good pulpy fun, when it’s not engulfed by digital hubbub. In a brisk prologue, we learn that America’s 1969 Apollo flight was actually a mission to investigate a mysterious alien spaceship that had crashed on the dark side of the moon, and to bring back its payload of mysterious alien technology. That mission, in this telling, was accomplished.

Down on Earth decades later, in a scene that begins with a traveling closeup of Huntington-Whitely’s eloquent behind, we find Sam desperate for a job now that he has graduated college. He finds one in a company run by the eccentric Bruce Brazos (played by Malkovich with his customary eccentricity), but then has to worry about a slick millionaire named Dylan (Dempsey) moving in on his new girlfriend (Huntington-Whitely). More stressful yet, a world-threatening emergency soon arises involving the helpful Autobots–exiled from their home planet of Cybertron and now employed as international trouble-shooters by U.S. intelligence–and the ferocious Decepticons, who are currently on their way to Earth with conquest and enslavement at the top of their to-do list.

Read the full review at Reason.

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