A blowed-up-real-gooder flick

Michael Bay revs into destructo-rama overdrive

It's Autobots versus Decepticons again in Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.

Although not as soul-crushing as the middle entry in what has now become the trilogy of blowed-up-real-good Transformers aural and visual assaults, Dark Side of the Moon is an hour longer than it needed to be. As such, it presents its own challenges to any adult viewer with a limited ability to enjoy the pornographically repetitive sight of heavy trucks and hot cars “evolving” at high speed into Hasbro action figures that clobber each other with all the finesse of third-tier professional wrestlers. But all is not lost, if only because there are some humorous touches and several cameos by talented thesps such as John Malkovich, John Turturro and Frances McDormand.

Moon starts out with a looking-for-work Sam (Shia LaBeouf) finding out that receiving a Medal of Honour from President Obama isn’t enough to guarantee an entry-level job. On the plus side, he’s got a hot new girlfriend (played by collagen-sculpted Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, replacing sultry Megan Fox who got dumped after comparing director Michael Bay to Hitler). The plot takes its time kicking in, first teasing the audience with some sinister events at the Chernobyl nuclear site. Then a ponderous flashback to the home planet of the Autobots and Decepticons shows those rival races of shape-shifting machines locked in all-out battle. The stentorian voice of Autobot leader Optimus Prime informs us that this was a matter of “tyranny versus freedom,” which is about as simple-minded as you can get while using words of more than one syllable. The Autobots are losing the war and their leader escapes in a spaceship with some “vital technology.” In the movie’s cheekiest conceit we then learn that when that ship crash-landed on the dark side of the moon in the 1960s, it secretly precipitated the space race between the Americans and the Russians.

Back in the present, Decepticon leader Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving) is desperate to get his hands on that slumbering technology. But the Autobots get there first, and are even able to revive their original leader, Sentinel Prime (voice of Leonard Nimoy). But Megatron is nothing if not dastardly, and with the aid of some human flunkeys he is soon launching an all-out war. Not content simply with plans to trash the Autobots, he hopes to turn our entire planet into a world of pain.

The final third of the movie is set in Chicago, and Bay has an unholy amount of fun unleashing the full measure of his destructo-rama powers on that handsome city. It’s weirdly impressive at times, but the overkill and the essential stupidity of it all gets tiring: gigantism is boring. And can anyone explain the snake-like beast, as big as a stretched-out whale, that can core through a skyscraper in seconds? This CGI superstar appears and disappears with no logic, and seems to be about 1,000 times more powerful than Megatron. Oh well, they never promised us Shakespeare. M

Rating: ***

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel

PG 13 – 157 minutes

Continues at theatres throughout the galaxy

Just Posted

Oak Bay’s new music fest returns next weekend

All festival concerts take place on June 2 and 3 at St. Mary’s Anglican Church

Cyclists win Bike to Work Week’s Commuter Challenge kickoff

16 teams of cars vs. bikes raced to see who could reach downtown destination fastest

Victoria Cool Aid Society invites you to their Homecoming

Event celebrates 50 years of social services across Greater Victoria with fundraiser to keep programs running

Fort Street bike lanes making their debut with roll-out event Sunday

Completion marks the second east-west connector dedicated to downtown cyclists

City shifts gears on Cook Street bike lanes, Vancouver St. recommended instead

Cook said to be too expensive, to inconvenient to install dedicated lanes

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Burlesque performers don’t let theatre fire stop their show

Cheesecake Burlesque Revue raising money for PEERS with Saturday night performance of Hot Pink

Free mixed media camp offered to youth

Camp hosted on Denman Island

Reading between the lines: the many roles of the Victoria Literacy Connection

Saturday fundraiser to help volunteer-run organization teach people to read, write and more

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Mulroney children to act as bridesmaids-page boys at royal wedding

Ben and Jessica Mulroney’s children will be in Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

St. Luke’s brings whodunnit to the stage

Laura plays at St. Luke’s Hall from May 16 to 27

VIDEO: Let the good times roll in first Laketown Shakedown

With Current Swell and Jon and Roy as headliners, there’s lots to enjoy at this first in a series

Most Read