Still not more than meets the eye

The Autobots have once again been called to duty to “fight the good fight” in director  Michael Bay’s latest installment of the Transformers series.

The Autobots have once again been called to duty to “fight the good fight” in director  Michael Bay’s latest installment of the Transformers series.

 In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the Autobots are pitted against their old foes the Decepticons, as well as a slew of new and unexpected enemies.

Dark of the Moon continues to follow the life of character Sam Witwicky, a now haplessly unemployed ex-student who is forced into secrecy about his relationship with the Autobots. Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf, is thrown into the middle of all the action once again. Surprisingly, Witwicky has started to become a more fleshed-out character as the series continues. Now plagued with thoughts of being a failure, we see slightly more inner conflict than in other previous movies.

LaBeouf, while having a more grown-up character to work with, continues to do little more than whine and scream. For most of the movie, especially any fight scenes, LeBeouf can be heard screaming incoherently. A good 80 percent of LaBeouf lines consist of a combination of “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” “Help!” or “Nooooo!” Still, he does create a somewhat endearing character that is helplessly human.

Unfortunately for many male viewers, Megan Fox does not make an appearance in the latest Transformers. Due to conflicts with director Michael Bay, Fox was axed from the sequel. Little is said about what happened to her character, and the only real explanation that is given is that LaBeouf’s character was “dumped” by her. Whether or not this is an underhanded insult is up to the viewer to decide.

Yet, male viewers hungry for semi-nudity shouldn’t worry. Fox, the brunette sexy doll-faced actress has been replaced with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a blonde, sexy doll-faced actress. Showing off equal, if not more skin than Fox, Hungington-Whitely fills in as the movie’s ‘T’ and ‘A’ machine. While her acting is less than spectacular, she does a good job at connecting some plot points and screaming girlishly.

One impressive point is the ensemble cast of the film. Appearances are made by John Malkovich, Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey and John Turturro. There is even a small cameo by “Papa Bear” Bill O’Reilly.

The film also features an impressive cast of voice actors. Peter Cullen returns as the voice of Optimus Prime, and movie villain

extraordinaire Hugo Weaving voices the evil Megatron. A surprising choice is that of Leonard Nimoy to voice the newly introduced Sentinel Prime. Such vocal talent definitely adds to these characters, some of which have been voiced by the same actors since the inception of the ’80s cartoon series.

The film is dripping with CG effects, all of which are detailed, lush and genuinely impressive when viewed in 3D. Dark of the Moon is definitely visually appealing; from the environments and scenery to the Transformers themselves, the film is full of amazing visuals. The action scenes are by far the best part of the movie, which is not surprising considering the reported $30 million spent just on the film’s 3D effects.

Although the film is based on a series of children’s toys, a word of warning: this is definitely not a film for the kids. Transformers definitely earns its PG-13 rating. With gratuitous robot-on-human violence, multiple uttering of the S-word, and a fair helping of semi-nude shots of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Transformers is best left to the 13-and-up audience.

All in all, Dark of the Moon leans heavily on its visual effects. With a variety of plot holes and unanswered questions, what dialogue exists seems to only carry the characters from one epic fight scene to the next. While many walk into a Transformers movie knowing they cannot expect The Cherry Orchard, there is still something very lacking in the film’s plot and dialogue.

This third installment does definitely take the title of best in the Transformers series. If one can see through the lackluster plot and groan-worthy jokes, there is still a decent movie underneath it all.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is currently being shown at most major Portland theaters and is viewable in IMAX 3D, 3D, and well as plain old 2D.

If you’re looking for intellectually stimulating content, I would pass on this movie, though it does have its fair share of entertaining and exciting scenes. While it may not win movie of the year, it is a solid 157 minutes of action-packed, explosion-filled entertainment that makes good on its promise to entertain—but one wishes there was a little more to it than that. ?