Autobot Bumblebee looks a little beaten up after the Decepticons attack Chicago in Tranformers: Dark of the Moon.

Autobot Bumblebee looks a little beaten up after the Decepticons attack Chicago in Tranformers: Dark of the Moon.

Aisle Seat: Robot battle is the best part

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Three stars out of 5

  • Jul. 8, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The third Transformers movie, to quote Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The best?  The visuals in Dark Of The Moon are undeniably spectacular.

Director Michael Bay has a lot of money to spend on these toys, and he breaks the piggy bank wide open for this sequel, especially the grand finale which sees most of Chicago chewed up into rubble as the Autobots and Decepticons stage their nastiest to-do yet.

The worst? Um… can I just skip right to the chase and say everything else??

Okay, perhaps a bit harsh there, but honestly, Transformers: Dark Of the Moon is as equally tedious in nature as the admittedly awful second chapter, 2009’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. (By the way, fun trivia fact: the guy who admitted it was awful? Director Michael Bay.) The biggest difference this time around? Dark Of The Moon isn’t near as dull. Still a whole lot of goofball nonsense n’ noise, but it keeps your attention, so that’s a good thing.

The plot explains that during the first Apollo moon landing, NASA discovered that the Autobots were already among us, leading to a lengthy cover-up to hide the big secret and keep the Russians from beating the stars-and-stripes to such jaw-dropping technology.

But before you can say Smirnoff, a discovery is made at Chernobyl that has Optimus Prime and his gang of good Autobots racing against the evil Decepticons to track down an old pal that could make the difference in their age-old war.

Shia LaBeouf has said that Dark Of the Moon is his last tour of duty in the Transformers franchise, and after watching him here, the news should be met with an overwhelming shrug.

It’s not that LaBeouf doesn’t carry himself well; he runs, romances babes (Megan Fox is replaced in this sequel by Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, which would now make the score, Eye Candy 2: Performing Arts 0) and makes his eyes go really wide with the best of ‘em, it’s just that there isn’t a whole lot more for the character of Sam Witwicky to do here.

When the shape-shifting robots finally get down to throwing punches and busting scenery in this movie, you realize what a colossal waste of time it was following the plight of their human pal for a good 90 minutes.

The brawl is the main event in Dark Of the Moon, and Bay’s enthusiasm/budget makes it worth the price of admission.

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is The Morning Star’s film reviewer. His column, Aisle Seat, appears every Friday and Sunday.