Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 27
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
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Cinema

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL: The robot Optimus Prime (voice Peter Cullen, left) meets up with his archenemy Sentinel Prime (voice Leonard Nimoy) by the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. as part of the worldwide battle for control of the earth by either the Autobots or the Decepticons.

Transformers: LaBeouf in Showdown Between Autobots and Decepticons

Kam Williams

This summer a number of sequels have rewritten past events by placing fictional characters at the center of critical historical moments. For instance, X-Men 4 had mutants play a pivotal role in the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 featured Captain Jack in a race with Ponce de Leon to locate the fabled Fountain of Youth.

Dark of the Moon, the third film in the Transformers series, is no exception. The movie claims that the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the sixties was caused by the crash on the dark side of the moon of an alien aircraft from the planet Cybertron, the home of the Transformers.

The Apollo 11 astronauts were the first to find the wreckage, and they retrieved advanced technology during a top secret portion of the lunar landing. The Russians also reached the marooned spaceship and succeeded in seizing a share of the advanced technology. This back story explains how the robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons, came to be adversaries.

After this prologue, the film shifts to the present where we learn of several developments in the life of Sam Witnicky (Shia LaBeouf), the hero of the trilogy’s previous two pictures. He graduated from college and moved to Washington, D.C. where he lives with his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).

With the help of his girlfriend’s billionaire employer, Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey), Sam takes an entry-level position in a division of Gould’s corporate conglomerate. What Sam doesn’t know is that Dylan is secretly in league with the Decepticons who are hatching a plan to colonize Earth and turn most of humanity into their slaves.

Of course, once Sam learns of the scheme, it’s up to him to save the world with the help of a hastily assembled team of patriots and Autobots. The only glaring flaw of this Michael Bay spectacular is that the special effects driven showdown between the forces of good and evil drags on for about an hour longer than necessary. Consequently, the ending is less of a dramatic conclusion than a welcome relief from incessant stimulation.

Despite the picture’s conversion into a concatenation of pyrotechnics and noisy detonations, there are a number of laudable performances. The most notable ones are Shia LaBeouf as the protagonist, Patrick Dempsey as the despicable villain, Dr. Ken Jeong as a paranoid conspiracy theorist, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (replacing Megan Fox) as the damsel-in-distress, John Malkovich as a sadistic henchman, and Tyrese as a mercenary.

Very Good (***, Three Stars). Rated PG-13 for profanity, mayhem, destruction, sexual innuendo, and science-fiction violence. Running time: 157 minutes. Distributor: Paramount Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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