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3rd ‘Transformers’ aims to be less clunky than prior film

Dark of the Moon' is scheduled to hit theaters June 29.

Though “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” made more than $800 million in worldwide box office, Michael Bay’s follow-up, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is looking to pick up the pieces left by its predecessor.

The third film in Michael Bay’s explosive franchise, “Dark of the Moon” looks to improve on the much maligned “Revenge of the Fallen,” a flick panned by critics to the tune of a 20 percent on review aggregator rottentomatoes.com.

Shia LaBeouf returns to play Sam Witwicky, though Megan Fox, much to the dismay of many male moviegoers, is gone. No worries, however. Bay commissioned Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to play a new female lead: Carly Miller.

There’s no sense in getting into an intricate plot synopsis for “Dark of the Moon” as, let’s face it, plot won’t really matter.

Essentially, all you need to know is that the flick introduces a conspiracy theory regarding the moon landing … and then downtown Chicago explodes into oblivion.

A thin story for a “Transformers” film is actually OK. It’s to be expected. While this film has a good shot at topping $1 billion at the box office because it will be released in 3-D, its creative success (if you can even call it that) hinges on how dumbed-down it is.

That’s why “Revenge of the Fallen” was so hated – it bypassed a weak script and went to total idiocy.

Basically, it comes down to this: Explosions – OK. Racist caricature robots and robot testicles – not OK.

Bay has admitted that “Revenge” had its problems. Has he done enough to right the ship for “Dark of the Moon?” Early buzz says it might be so. And how can you turn down the chance to see Transformers destroy cities in 3-D, and “real” 3-D at that?

“Dark of the Moon” will be harmless summer fun. There’s no denying that. But will it also melt your brain cells? Hopefully not, though chances are that’s already happened in trying to understand just what the heck the film’s title means.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” hits theaters June 29.

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