Michael Bay has a few fetishes. He likes supermodels, cars, high-tech military weaponry, hunky military personnel, jingoistic flag waving and giant, flaming explosions. I like models and explosions, so that was enough to plant me in the seat for the third film in a trilogy that could at best be called "special." Rain Man
special, not first-kiss special. If you like either the first or second offering in this trilogy, you will enjoy this one as well - it's easily the best in the trilogy. Before you accuse me of damning with faint praise, let me first admit that I am, in fact, damning with faint praise.
This go around has something to do with Buzz Aldrin and Neal Armstrong discovering a giant spacecraft on the moon that escaped from Cybertron (the Transformers' home planet) before it was destroyed. Onboard the ship are a bunch of "pillars" - Cybertronian technology that could somehow save Cybertron from further destruction. Or something like that. Anyway, The Decepticons (bad robots) want to use the pillars to beam the remains of Cybertron into the Earth's orbit and then use the Earthlings as slave labor to rebuild the planet. The Autobots (good robots), in conjunction with the United States military, must stop them from doing so or else all of humanity will be like a sweatshop that only produces tears.
Shia LaBouf is admirably committed to the film, considering he is mostly acting with things that don't exist in our material universe, like Optimus Prime and John Turturro. Honestly, if I hadn't seen Turturro's work with Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers, these movies would make me think he's a nut job they found under a bridge during location scouting. But LaBouf isn't bad, he's actually the one character I found myself rooting for throughout the film. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaces Megan Fox (who was apparently fired at Spielberg's request for calling Michael Bay Hitler in an interview) as Shia's ladylove for this film and she's a giant step up from Megan Fox's botox-faced shenanigans. Since she's twice as hot as Fox, it made her relationship to LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky three times as hard to believe, but she does a better job selling it than I would have imagined. But none of this matters. You want to know whether or not shit blows up and the answer is a resounding "yes."
This film clocks in at a punishing two hours and 45 minutes and the first hour and a half is all set up. It still has the same bad jokes and broad racial stereotypes as the first film, but then somewhere around the 90-minute mark everything and everyone converges in Chicago and the film proceeds to have the most jaw-dropping hour of action filmmaking I think I've ever seen. Bay slows down the pace of the robot fights, allowing your eyes to actually make sense of what's happening and the absolutely spectacular 3D pulls you right into the center of it all. Make no mistake, this is by far the best 3D filmmaking since Avatar and it's probably even a little better. It's not about debris flying at your face, this 3D technology actually creates a depth to the frame that makes the final action sequences feel so immersive that you'll check yourself to make sure none of LaBeouf's sweat landed on your clothing.
I'm not saying this is a great movie or even a very good one, but the final hour of this film put a smile on my face from ear to ear and had me feeling like a kid again. As long as you can shut your brain off for the inane dialogue, a few clunky performances and the first 90 minutes of exposition, then you'll be rewarded with some peerless explosions and awesome robot fights. If that's your thing.