Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon poster.

I know it's a sin for a cinephile and/or critic to not hate Michael Bay but I don't. Yes, he uses big budgets. Yes, he appeals to the eyes only. Yes, he appeals to philistines and morons everywhere but he's good at what he does. For example, I love the Bad Boys films. I think they're really funny and full of great action scenes and they have their right in any DVD collection of anyone who enjoys films. It's a genre as much as any other because not everything has to be hard hitting theatre. Although the first Transformers was good, the sequel (now sequels) haven't lived up to the first.

Plot: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

The worst thing about the second was the incoherence and the attempt at humour. The added screen time of Sam's mother was just painful and cringe worthy (but not in the good cringe worthy way). The tiny robot who humps Megan Fox's legs and changes sides. The flatmate who isn't funny nor worthwhile to watch. The RC twins who were - at the end of the day - racist stereotypes. That along with the fact the storyline was incoherent, flawless lines like "this is top secret - do not tell my mother", Megan Fox's white trousers that couldn't get dirty in the desert and they slapped every geography teacher in the face with their setting.

It felt like he'd evolve the roles of the second to more painfully unfunny and when I heard the news that the little robot had a friend, I was almost devastated. The truth is though, this wasn't that bad. It was much better than the second. Although it did nearly make my bladder explode with a running time of almost three hours, I found myself enjoyed throughout - mostly anyway. Except for almost every Rosie Huntington-Whiteley scene because she made Megan Fox look like a multi-Oscar winner in comparison.

It's the same storyline, and that's a problem. In the three films, the same thing happens really. There's a small bad guy, then an army of bad guys, they look like they might win but then Optimus Prime saves the day. That is the Transformers formula and although the first one was original in a sense, these others are carbon copies but with bigger spectacles and with some sub-plots and horrible attempts at character development. If they used the second film as a cliff hanger, with the Decepticons ruling Earth, then the follow-up would be a much more interesting story and possibly more anticipated.

"There's a reason we never went back." A tagline which could possibly be credited as plagiarised from the upcoming Apollo 18 film is the main storyline. We knew something was on the moon so the Americans raced the Russians to the moon to see what was on there. They discovered a Cybertronian spacecraft which had crash landed after leaving Cybertron with precious cargo. This cargo was a collection of pillars which could be used as a teleportation device. This would bring armies to a certain spot instantly which is a huge military advantage and the Decepticons want this so they can finally control Earth.

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk and Tyrese Gibson. Directed by Michael Bay.

Your first scene of the new love interest, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), is of her in underwear and a long shirt which isn't long enough to cover her arse. You can tell Bay has directed a Victoria's Secret advert before and that's her part of the deal in this film really. Megan Fox left a void, a very sexy, hot void which needed to be filled and who's better than an underwear model? The camera practically air humps her in every shot, ogling her every curve and I'd be game for that usually but Rosie has annoyingly big lips, a flat Na'Vi like nose and terrible acting abilities. Maybe I'm being too harsh on FHM's sexiest woman of the year but I just personally don't see it.

John Malkovich interviews Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who is jobless after successfully graduating college and is a minor role in this film. His career is taking a turn with this and R.E.D. Now these are agonising scenes. With John Malkovich fake tanned up to the max and being pretty abused as an actor, it's hard to like these scenes. Especially the unfunny scenes involving Ken Jeong of Mr. Chow fame playing inappropiate Mr. Chow without the accent and the profanity. These scenes don't make you laugh, they don't even raise smiles; they just want you to hurry the scenes along so you don't have to listen to this awkwardness. There's a new person (Frances McDormand's Mearing) in charge of the Autobots who doesn't trust them again and doesn't believe that they should be here, which is the same as the first three.

Enter a new threat, a new transformer and a slight twist in the story. It's like a zinger, not a twist. After the set-up scenes, the film does get more interesting and then the action can commence. That's all Transformers films are are action and that's what you want. You want a spectacle. You want to be entertained. You don't go in expecting some hard-hitting emotional rollercoaster. You want explosions, guns and robots massacring each other.

There are some welcome changes and some welcome characters in this new adventure. For example, Patrick Dempsey's turn as Dylan - Carly's boss - is interesting and well acted. The best addition of them all though is Alan Tudyk's Dutch. He is actually funny. He's the man that made Serenity a whole lot funnier and Dodgeball a whole lot weirder (he was the pirate).

Shia LeBeuof has apparently turned down roles in The Social Network, 127 Hours, The Bourne Legacy and The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The first two films produced three Oscars and seven Golden Globes as well as other accolades. Also, the other two are set to be huge blockbusters. Yet, he did Wall Street 2, Eagle Eye and Disturbia. Source: Details and Total Film.

You have to respect the team behind the CGI and the vision that goes into these films. There were numerous impressive moments with the CGI and the way things fit and fall and fight. Especially in 3D, it was just intricately detailed and was Super-HD like all other 3D films. All in all, it was much better than the second but shy of the third. Maybe a reboot is what is needed with the inevitable fourth (Jason Statham is rumoured to take the helm of them). Maybe they should stay loyal to the cartoons a bit more and bring Unicron in it to resurrect Megatron and create Galvatron. The story of the next has to be different otherwise they'll have no chance of extending the franchise further really.

★★★