CHICAGO

'Transformers 3,' In All Its Downtown Chicago-Destroying Glory, Opens Wednesday

06/29/2011 09:43 am ET | Updated Aug 28, 2011

"Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon," the film that left parts of downtown Chicago in the midst of fake wreckage and very real traffic annoyance for two months last summer, opens Wednesday, and reviews for the Michael Bay-directed summer blockbuster have begun to stream in.

Though the film still appears poised for a relatively lofty box-office haul, it's not looking too good. Titling his review "A saga of loud and ugly toys," Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the 3-D special effects-laden, nearly three-hour-long film only one star -- his lowest rating. The film stars Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel, plus several actors with deep Chicago ties, including John Malkovich and Frances McDormand.

"[It i]s a visually ugly film with an incoherent plot, wooden characters and inane dialog," Ebert wrote. "It provided me with one of the more unpleasant experiences I've had at the movies."

Dan Kois of the Village Voice summed it up this way: "The people who you think might be evil turn out to be evil. Humanity triumphs. Optimus Prime gives a speech. Chicago burns. Your brain cells perish by the thousands, their howls of agony lost to the cacophony inside your skull." Liam Lacey of the Globe and Mail, added: "Don't worry about remembering the characters -- the movie certainly doesn't."

Hoping to relive Chicago's brush with cinematic magic, which shut down the Magnificent Mile and Wacker Drive and even "blew up" the Trump Tower temporarily, NBC Chicago has revisited the experience via an interview with Bay and plenty of footage of things being blown up. And you can also check out HuffPost Chicago's slideshow of yet more things being destroyed.

At the time of its filming, then-mayor Richard M. Daley said the movie's filming in downtown Chicago pumped an estimated $20 million into the local economy. The 2007 debut of the 'Transformers' franchise took in $319 million at the box office, domestically, while the 2009 sequel earned $402.1 million, according to FOX News.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

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