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‘Transformers’ get cleaned up

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By Andrew Li

As you might recall in 2009, “Transformers 2” left most of us with feelings teetering between disappointment and outrage. Two years later, Michael Bay released a third Transformers movie, and it’s safe to say that the director took some of Transformers 2’s negative feedback to heart.
It’s certainly not hard to make a movie that can trump “Transformers 2,” and there are still a few notable issues in “Transformers 3,” such as some very crude humor and a bland love story. 
For the most part, however, you’ll likely be laughing at the good jokes and loving the intense action sequences, and you may not immediately care about  the faults in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
     Action has always been at the forefront of Michael Bay’s movie-making arsenal and the computer-animated robots deliver all the fighting and action you could possibly want.
The Autobots and Decepticons clash in places like Washington, D.C. and Chicago, with some unexpected events that provide memorable moments, unlike the immediately forgettable “Transformers 2.” 
Best of all, you get to hear the name of every new character introduced, so you don’t have to go through the “what...?” moments just to find out who’s fighting whom, though it does get chaotic when the screen is filled with explosions.
Spoiler alert
Once again, there is an ancient Transformers artifact that has the power to turn the tide of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. This new artifact is none other than Sentinel Prime and the pillars he created that can teleport objects (and robots).
If the Decepticons get the pillars and Sentinel first, they can teleport their entire evil army to Earth and take over. Here’s the irony: the Decepticons succeed.
It’s now a fight for survival for the Autobots and the humans, and while it’s not the best story ever, it works.
For adrenaline junkies, “Dark of the Moon” is chock full of the action you’ve come to expect in Transformers movies. But it’s usually excessive action that makes a movie into a mess.
The solution is to add a decent story to the mix, and it’s a relief that Bay actually followed through with making the plot darker and more emotional.  Humans and Autobots alike die at the hands of the Decepticons, and you really learn to hate them; when the bad bots go down, you’ll say that they really deserved it.
The emotional aspect of the movie is there, but it’s far from perfect — a big fault being the love relationship between Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).
The relationship is simple: Sam and Carly love each other unconditionally and that’s it.  Sam’s relationship with the Transformers is a little better, but unless you’re a Transformers fanatic, don’t expect to be crying when the characters onscreen do.
Speaking of Carly, you have probably heard that Megan Fox got the boot and Bay hired Huntington-Whiteley.
This is where some more improvement over “Transformers 2” comes in.  Huntington-Whiteley doesn’t wear any ridiculously skimpy outfits in the movie.
The final battle in the movie has Sam and Carly running through destruction and chaos, and Carly’s blazing white sweatshirt somehow stays blazing white throughout the final fight.
One thing that Bay managed to do with little to no problems, is Transformers 3’s new robot cast. For starters, the Twins are gone from the Autobot roster and little robot Wheelie is not a pervert.
Also, the team has been heavily condensed and you’re left with all the best Autobots like Sideswipe and Ironhide. On top of that, not all the Autobots are GM vehicles. The two non-GM Autobots are new additions Dino, a Ferrari, and the Que, a Mercedes.
     Bay also crams in a lot of wise cracks and humor into “Transformers 3,” and this comes for better and for worse.
The good news is that the amount of sexual humor has been tamed down quite a bit. But “Transformers 3” also tries to be a serious movie, so the humor defeats the sobriety of some moments.
There are still slivers of crude humor. All the crude humor aside, I still managed to laugh, because some of the funny moments work quite well. 
     In the end, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is a notable leap forward from its lackluster predecessor.
Whether or not you take this movie seriously, you’ll be glad you went along for the ride, and the action and (most of) the humor will more than likely stick with you. 
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” may be the best movie of the franchise.