Transformers 3 a step up, though still a bit too loud

The 'bots are back in fighting shape

I'll say this plainly: Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the best one of the trilogy.

Now for some, that doesn't mean much. For others, it reeeeeealy doesn't mean much. I will admit right now that I do enjoy both previous outings, but I will agree that there are some real problems with them, particularly the second one. I felt the second one was too long, too loud, too frenzied and too flat. It seemed to run under the idea that good action meant "lots of stuff happening on-screen, even if you don't know what they're trying to do or why they're taking so long doing it." Particularly the battle at the end.

Don't confuse plot with "stuff happening" and don't confuse action with "stuff blowing up."

Well in the third one, stuff still blows up. That's the kind of movie this is. But the action actually feels like it has a purpose. The movie could easily be trimmed (it runs over 2 1/2 hours), but the action that it has feels motivated and more than just "we need a long fight scene right here."

As the third movie starts, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is living in DC with his girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, not Megan Fox, sorry to all Fox fans out there), and having trouble finding a job and it's eating at him. Sure the economy is in the toilet right now, but he frikkin' saved the world twice and he can't even get a lousy job. Of course, he can't tell anyone how he saved the world, so that puts a damper on things.

Anyway, the Autobots have been globe hopping with the US army, cleaning up the political messes of the world, yet again showing that immigration is just an avenue for aliens to come in and take the jobs that nobody wants to do, while honest Americans like Sam can't get two pennies to rub together. Okay, he probably could, but they'd probably be sterile pennies which means no amount of rubbing them together is gonna produce little baby pennies.

A quick investigation of the disaster site at Chernobyl clues everyone in to the fact that the world knew about these aliens much earlier than believed. They uncover a conspiracy behind the true meaning of the Apollo 11 mission.

Long story short, ... or at least, less long, they uncover an old Autobot comrade (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) and things get interesting.

The story is not simple, but it doesn't lose you. And it does a good job of bringing certain things from the first two movies full circle.

That being said, you should know right now whether this is the kind of movie you'd enjoy. It follows in the same vein as the first two, but the story has been given more than a passing interest here.

And there are a few other things that help this one out completely independent of the story. I absolutely love Alan Tudyk as the very odd Dutch. Also, as a Star Trek fan, I can't help but notice how much Star Trek there is in this one. There's a brief scene on TV from the classic episode Amok Time, Shia's character refers to a modernistic building as looking like the Starship Enterprise, and of course there's Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime.

In fact, as the diabolical Decepticon scheme is about to come to fruition, Sentinel Prime makes one quick comment that made me laugh out loud. Clearly I was the only Trekkie in the audience because everyone else was dead quiet and looking at a madman who was laughing at a very dramatic scene.

I give this one a 7 / 10.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is rated PG-13 for profanity, plenty of robot-on-robot violence and a bit of sexuality. I mean, seriously, how do you cast a Victoria's Secret model as a female lead and not get a PG-13 for sexuality? If you do, you're doing it wrong.

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