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'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' won't change the face of 3-D

Even some die-hard fans at a free-preview screening of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" left grumbling, "That was way too long." There was none of the usual applause for any of director Michael Bay's vehicular carnage, just some faint, polite clapping at the end -- and that just might have been thanks for a free movie.

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3-D enthusiasts who were hoping that Bay would renew the format's luster must await a new techno-messiah. Bay's headlong style of action -- I'd call it orchestrated chaos, but I'm not sure about the "orchestrated" part -- simply appears even more boundlessly anarchic in stereoscopic vision.

I had hoped Bay would design a coming-at-you 3-D moment or two that would make audiences jump out of their seats. Nothing worked that way, not even the human -- make that, "human" -- heroes sliding down the side of a glass building that's been folded in half.

Bay has said he's devoted to 3-D, but he hasn't adapted his style to it. He's adapted it to his style. He's simply made a Bay movie that forces you to wear glasses.

3-D doesn't serve helter-skelter action scenes that well -- it delivers the sci-fi-spectacle equivalent of "Too Much Information." So, especially in 3-D, a Bay watch is a tough watch, wearying and confusing.

By the way, although Bay and his technical team pull off robot metamorphoses with their usual virtuosity, some of the opening effects are remarkably shoddy. The computer-generated images of JFK are like something out of a cheap Taiwanese cartoon.

And Bay tries to make a joke out of his well-known propensity to view comely young actresses and svelte machines alike as collections of moving parts. He gets groans, not laughs.

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