Megan Fox

Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) fights to save Chicago in “Transform

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

There are few pairings in blockbuster cinema as perfect as director Michael Bay and the “Transformers” franchise. After all, Bay throws everything but the kitchen sink into his films, which are often overlong exercises in excess and spectacle. And a series of films about fighting robots is really nothing but spectacle anyway. Unfortunately, the second film in the series, “Revenge of the Fallen,” was a mess in every regard, even for a Michael Bay film. With this third (and presumably last) film in the franchise, it seems Bay has been reinvigorated by the general disdain for “Revenge of the Fallen” and is determined to make a “Transformers” film people won’t regret seeing. And “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is that film. In fact, it’s the most epic film of the summer so far — especially in its final hour with an extended robot battle in downtown Chicago that single-handedly makes a case for 3-D as a viable format.

The film is ludicrously over-plotted for such a simple concept: there are robots from space. Some, such as Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) are good. Others are bad. And then they fight while a boy named Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) watches, and that’s all that really matters. Everything else is just window dressing.

Just like “Revenge of the Fallen,” “Dark of the Moon” spends the majority of its runtime setting up for an epic robot battle, making the audience wait for what they came to see. Thankfully, “Dark of the Moon” manages to sidestep some of its predecessor’s problems.

Gone is most of the lame humor that Bay tends to work into his films, and finally, Sam’s parents, who were nothing short of a cancer on the last film, are entirely excised from the film after a handful of scenes that only hurt a little bit. Still, the film has entirely too many characters, and it adds even more, including John Malkovich as Sam’s new boss and Frances McDormand as a high-ranking security official. While McDormand manages to escape with her dignity mostly intact, Malkovich doesn’t fare so well. Neither does John Turturro (who returns from the first two films) or Alan Tudyk’s ridiculous turn as an ex-CIA operative with a silly accent.

The third film does surprisingly well with its heroes, however. Sam has never been more relatable as he struggles to find a job just out of college, and Shia LaBeouf brings his usual sharp comedic timing to the role. But LaBeouf truly shines in the film’s last hour. While robots clashing is the main appeal, this is the part of the film where his character steps up and finally becomes the hero he’s been threatening to become for the entire franchise, and LaBeouf sells every minute of it.

As far as the female lead goes, getting rid of Megan Fox ends up being the best decision Bay could have made. Her replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is better than Fox ever was. Her performance isn’t much more than a winning smile and letting the camera ogle her body (in 3-D, no less), but she has a charm and likability that Fox could never get a handle on. Bay uses this to his advantage, hanging the film’s emotional stakes on the fate of Whiteley’s character and making her essential to the narrative in a way that Fox never was.

As far as the robots, they get more development in this film. For the first time, we can almost tell them apart from each other, and Optimus Prime gets a few great moments, as does the new character Sentinel Prime, voiced by Leonard Nimoy. As Optimus, Cullen has always brought a steely gravitas to the franchise, and he finally gets some actual dialogue here, as opposed to the empty motivational speeches that his character was prone to deliver in previous films.

But what really sets the film apart from its predecessors is, again, its last hour. Here, all pretense of plot falls away and Bay allows his robots to unleash untold amounts of destruction on Chicago. Here’s what makes “Dark of the Moon” worth seeing: an hour of pure spectacle and action, all presented in glorious 3-D.

Bay utilizes the technology James Cameron developed in “Avatar” for his own purposes and creates a symphony of barely controlled chaos that single-handedly makes a case for the format. The 3-D is immersing and detailed, from sparks flying to shards of glass shattered from buildings destroyed by robots. With many films, 3-D has felt like an afterthought, a way to squeeze a few extra dollars out of audience members who are vulnerable to the gimmick. But “Dark of the Moon” is meant to be viewed in 3-D, something reflected in Bay’s formerly frantic directorial style, which is now slowed down to give audiences a nice, long, three-dimensional look at the chaos Bay takes great joy in unleashing.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is unprecedented. Going in, it’s expected that the film would have great, big action, and not much else to offer. While it certainly won’t be praised for its narrative ambition, it’s a completely watchable film, bolstered by a 3-D presentation that’s easily the best use of the format to date. It boasts a solid hour of wall-to-wall destruction and mayhem that stands among the most memorable action scenes in years.

Even more surprising, Bay almost manages to redeem himself for the first two films, making this final installment feel like the natural conclusion of a much better franchise. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is spectacle from top to bottom, and there is not a better bang for your buck in multiplexes today. It’s a summer film through and through, so audiences in the mood to watch an entire city reduced to rubble by a bunch of angry robots should make it their priority to see “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” as soon as possible. Yes, in 3-D.
 

Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Megan Fox and Anne Hathaway are among the slew of stars said to have done a detoxifying cleanse in the past either to drop weight quickly or to detoxify the body — or both.

The Master Cleanse is a popular fast that is meant to detoxify the system, give a person more energy and help shed weight. However, the cleanse may have detrimental effects on the body and mind despite its quick results.

The Master Cleanse calls for the practitioner to subsist on a drink of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for a minimum of 10 days — and eat nothing. During this 10-day period, the person should drink six to 12 glasses of the beverage throughout the day, wedged between a laxative at night and a salt-water flush in the morning.

If you’re not eating food for 10 days, you’re definitely going to lose weight. But if you return to your old eating habits after the cleanse, you are likely to put the weight you lost back on.

“You know how people do a house cleaning, a spring cleaning? With their cars, they get oil changes. With the computer, they get them defragmented. When do you ever do that with your body? When do you give your body a chance to have a spring cleaning,” said Matt Shook, owner of organic and raw food bar The Daily Juice.

The Master Cleanse gained popularity in 1976 when Stanley Burroughs, a practitioner of alternative health methods, wrote a book called “The Master Cleanser” to teach people how to cleanse their bodies to rid them of toxins and illnesses. A variation of the book, “Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days,” written by Peter Glickman in 2004, popularized the diet again.

Neither Burroughs nor Glickman is a health professional, but they both believed in natural remedies for healing different ailments in the body. Burroughs’ book says that through following the Master Cleanse program, all illness and disease will go away.

He recommends to practice the Master Cleanse when sickness has developed, when the digestive system needs to be cleaned or rested, when being overweight has become a problem and/or when better digestion is needed.

In their books, Burroughs and Glickman say that by eating something with artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, we are taking in so many toxins each day that our bodies cannot eliminate all of them. Through cleansing the body by drinking the mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water, the body is able to process the fat the toxins are stored in and excrete them over a 10-to-14-day period. Burroughs’ book explains that lemons are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and have been used to treat stomach ulcers for decades. The maple syrup has a large variety of minerals and vitamins as well as sugars to give the body energy. The cayenne pepper is used to break up mucus and increase warmth in the body and adds many B and C vitamins.

“The first five or six days there are a lot of toxins being flushed into the blood stream,” Shook said. “You’re not making your body digest food. You feel a lot of toxins in your blood. You feel really heavy and lethargic. But after that, it’s like the sun comes out, you feel like an angel on earth. You feel as light as air, your mind is super clear, you feel very energetic.”

All three locations of The Daily Juice sell the Master Cleanse drink by the gallon, so people who are on the go can still follow the Master Cleanse by buying the premade drink.

“The Master Cleanse is a way to give people, give their bodies a chance to actually take some time to clean out,” Shook said.

Although the idea of a kind of “spring cleaning” for the body sounds like a good thing, we don’t need an extreme diet to cleanse our insides, said Bethany Dario, a registered dietitian at University Health Services.

Dario said that healthy people already have a built-in detoxification system — the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. She says that exercise is a built-in detoxification system as well.

“When we sweat, we release toxins through the skin,” Dario said. “It’s another reason that we should all focus on the behavior of routine healthy exercise for health.”

A cleanse might not be necessary for eliminating toxins from the body, and it can actually be harmful, she said.

Dario said that when diets or cleanses fail, the dieters or cleansers often tell themselves that they have failed. Shame and/or guilt are, in effect, the results.

“When an individual attempts to restrict food, it is highly probable the individual will start to be obsessive over the food and eventually end up overeating on it,” Dario said. “The general population seems to think that obesity and eating disorders are the right and left wings of nutrition, but I’d like to suggest both can be a result of food restriction.”