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Thursday, July 7, 2011 11:55 pm

Third Transformers surprisingly coherent, entertaining

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I’ve come to expect manic action, ear-splitting sound effects and character development treated as collateral damage in Michael Bay’s movies. Imagine my surprise that his latest, Transformers: Dark of the Moon sports a streamlined narrative, is more coherent in both action and plot and winds up thrilling viewers rather than bludgeoning them into submission. While I wouldn’t consider this a complete success – it’s far too long like the series’ previous entries and the action becomes a bit tedious towards the end – there’s enough here to make this a passable popcorn movie.

Shia LaBoeuf returns as Sam Witwicky, who’s frustrated by his lack of employment and intimidated by his high-class girlfriend (Rosie Huntington-Whitely). This tightly coiled bundle of testosterone seeks a purpose in life and he gets it when it’s discovered that those pesky Decepticons are up to no good again, plotting to gather hundreds of powerful pillars that will allow them to literally transport their world to ours.  

Ehren Kruger’s script will appeal to conspiracy theorists as he “reveals” the 1960’s space race was done to retrieve a ditched Autobot ship, while the Chernobyl disaster was caused by Russian scientists examining an alien fuel source. However, his streamlined story is his most important contribution. While the humans are still rendered in broad strokes, allowing John Turturro to continue to ham it up as former federal agent Simmons and newcomer John Malkovich to put his distinctive stamp on things as Sam’s boss, there’s a bit more background provided for the alien ‘bots who take center stage.

In the end, Transformers: Dark of the Moon does what it’s suppose to do – it provides a passable summertime diversion that will put a great many butts in seats and please the popcorn growers of America. Wanting more from a film of this sort is an unrealistic expectation.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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