Transformers: Dark of the Moon

2 out of 5 stars
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

It wasn't just one small step for man. As Michael Bay's latest boom-splat-pow spectacular reveals, the '60s space race was a cover for a series of reconnaissance missions to the moon where, naturally, a ship from the planet Cybertron had crashed. Cybertron, as all of you know, is the ravaged home of the Hasbro toy line---uh, the intergalactic metal men---the Transformers. With the help of their Earthly ally Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf, wearing a gastric-distress expression throughout), the Autobots are still waging their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons. But for both warring factions, this runaway lunar vessel is a long-sought missing link, since it contains Spock's brain.

That's only a half-fib: Leonard Nimoy voices the UFO's long-lost Transformer captain, Sentinel Prime, who has some whatsits that, with the help of Sam's affluent rival Dylan (Dempsey), will bring the thingamajigger back to the spugazzi. Um, yeah. "Sense becomes not a Michael Bay joint," as Master Yoda might say, and that's fine to a point. Shooting for the first time in 3-D, Bay's visuals are noticeably lucid compared to his usual incoherent stylings (there's a fairly spectacular collapsing-building set piece). But all the problematic aspects of the Hollywood bad boy's filmography---reactionary rah-rah patriotism, sneer 'n' drool female fetishization, callously detached bloodletting---remain in soul-shattering force. At least McDreamy gets sucker punched. Simple pleasures.

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