Transformers: Dark of the Moon

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I would venture to say that we’ve entered the golden age of cinema sequels. Soon we’ll have the misfortune of another Ghostrider film despite the fact that the first one stunk. Sequels can be the best thing to ever happen to a film (The Godfather II, Rocky II) or the worst (see any of the Land Before Time series after the first). So, needless to say I wasn’t totally excited about the third Transformers film especially since the second film had left me disappointed.

I’m happy to report that this third film was a dramatic improvement in several ways over the second. I still feel that the first film was the best, but this film was watchable and even enjoyable. This time the cast includes Shia LeBeouf, Josh Duhamel, and John Turturro. New to the series are John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

The story follows up on the previous films as the Autobots discover a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon. Now they’re in a race with the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets. In the meantime Sam (LaBeouf) is struggling with being a normal guy after the role he played in saving the earth. Slowly he finds his way back into the mix with his old friends, human and Transformer, as the Decepticons begin their efforts to rule the world.

The film is visually stunning through the action sequences. The CGI and special effects work well as they make each action scene amazing. If you’re looking for anything realistic this won’t be for you, the fights and destruction are over the top from minute one.

The acting is exactly I expected, LaBeouf plays his frustrated Sam much the same way as he did in the previous two films. Gibson and Duhamel manage to shoot enough Decepticons to make their mark in the film. Sam’s new flame Carly (Huntington-Whiteley) is weak in the film but I’m fairly sure that she wasn’t hired for her acting. Newcomers John Malkovich and Patrick Dempsey are definitely the highlights of the film.

If there is any criticism I would say that the effort to leave the door open for a sequel is obvious and may have weakened the ending. It’s not a bad film, but like the second film it fails to match the quality of the first film in terms of story.

I would recommend this film if you enjoyed the other two in the series. If the second film left you feeling bad this might redeem the franchise a bit. I would give the film a rating of 2.9 stars out of 5.

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 157 minutes

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