Picture from Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Overall C-

It turns out that NASA didn't really lose contact with the astronauts during their first landing on the moon. Instead, the space agency intentionally blacked out communication with the public, allowing the astronauts to carry out the top-secret investigation of a Cybertronian spacecraft. Now decades later the Autobots have learned of the ship's existence and are racing the Decepticons to the lunar surface to discover the vessel's secrets.

Violence D+
Sexual Content B-
Profanity D+
Substance Use B+

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Long, loud and ludicrous may be three appropriate adjectives to describe this third installment in the Transformers franchise.

Clocking in at 155 minutes (five minutes longer than the last movie), the action includes even more computer-animated clashes between the alien Autobots and Decepticons. Adding to their arsenal, the Decepticons prepare to strip the planet of its resources in order to rebuild their own civilization. Their plan is aided by the discovery of one of their wrecked ships on the dark side of the moon.

The skirmishes that follow are anything but quiet. As well, a thundering musical score bellows out of the speakers from beginning until the climatic conflict at the end of the production. (Supposedly the impact of seeing dead bodies, burning cities and severed heads is mitigated by this moving orchestral accompaniment.)

Still long and loud might be excused if it weren’t for the script’s ludicrous plot elements. Recently graduated from an Ivy League school and looking for work, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) throws a whining temper tantrum when hardnosed US Secretary of Defense Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand) refuses his help after another alien threat is discovered. Yet despite his juvenile behavior, the jobless, freeloading Sam has managed to bed a blonde bombshell and move in with her. (Megan Fox’s absence as Mikaela Banes is accounted for with the mention of a painful break-up.)

Dressed in provocative clothing that looks more appropriate for the bedroom than the boardroom, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) works for an antique car collector (Patrick Dempsey) whose actions could easily be interpreted as sexual harassment. But beyond exposing her curves in skin-tight attire and keeping her makeup perfectly applied, Carly’s character does little more than purse her pouty lips and walk seductively toward the camera while massive explosions erupt around her. These sensual depictions are combined with other moments of sexual innuendo including some suggestive comments by Sam’s parents (Julie White, Kevin Dunn) and an awkward encounter with a co-worker (Ken Jeong) in a bathroom stall.

However most of the film’s action centers around government deceptions and the escalating turf war between the mechanical extraterrestrials. In the fray, both human and robotic casualties result as characters are stabbed, beheaded, run over and blown up while the Chicago skyline burns (a refreshing change from the usual destruction of New York or Los Angeles).

As always, the Autobots remain committed to the freedom and preservation of mankind. But if the film is trying to say humans are worth saving, the main characters in this film hardly model the kind of behavior that speaks well of our race.

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