‘Transformers’ review: 3-D artistry and robots are the stars in ‘Dark of the Moon’

July 01, 2011 | 1:16 p.m.
lmuqp1nc Transformers review: 3 D artistry and robots are the stars in Dark of the Moon

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Paramount Pictures)

After seeing the third installment in Michael Bay‘s big-budget blockbuster action film franchise, Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey writes in her review that “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” takes the audience on a romp, delivering excellent 3-D, a cleaner story and more eye candy than its critically panned predecessor. That’s not to say “Revenge of the Fallen” set the bar very high, Sharkey writes, saying the series “remains as much an endurance test as a movie.”

Sharkey praises performances by Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Shia LaBeouf and even newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, “who delivers just as convincing a pillowy pout as Megan Fox did” in the first two films, but notes that the real stars are the robots themselves. Though the bulk of the film follows Bay’s babes, ‘bots and blasts formula, Sharkey writes that it also allows the Transformers “to emerge as players in their own right, with hopes and dreams, declaiming their philosophies of fate, humankind and the universe in grand Shakespearean style.”

Here’s a brief excerpt:

It’s also good news for us because you don’t go to “Transformers” for the character or the plot, you go for metal-crushing, sensory-overloading action. Between Bay’s obsession to make his 3-D matter and the artistry of the special effects legions amassed for the project, the visual payoff is striking. The individual character articulation is so finely rendered we can actually see the complexity of the robots’ construction as they morph from the ordinary — car, plane or whatever — into their towering mechanized essence.

But the action sequences, while cutting a spectacular path of destruction, go on far too long (an ongoing “Transformers” issue), including the final pitched battle, which displays dazzling firepower but extends for roughly an hour.

(Read the whole review here.)

Though the new “Transformers” movie is beating out the first two films critically, it’s not doing as well in the box office, write Ben Fritz and Amy Kaufman over in Company Town. “Dark of the Moon,” which opened Tuesday, is on track to rake in $160 million over its first six days. Two years ago, “Revenge of the Fallen” earned $214 million in the same period of time. But “Transformers” is still beating out its competition, and is expected to dominate at the box office over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Read the whole post here.

– Noelene Clark

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