Sunday, July 31, 2011
TRANSFORMERS : The Dark of The Moon
Transformers 3 is a film that has been unfairly lambasted. It is however, absolute, and utterly irredeemable, tosh and nonsense. 157 minutes of animated robots hitting each other, and The Bad Robots wanting The Thing to do something bad, and The Good Robots wanting The Thing to stop the Bad Robots doing the bad thing. Or something.
But it isn't good. There's a slender narrative which exists as an excuse for big robot go boom, and that's the films biggest weakness. Go into this looking for anything approaching context or meaning and you'll get not very much at all. Go into this expecting nothing and you'll be surprised. It's a meaningless work of art. Crack for the eyes. A big rush of adrenalin and tosh.
Everything but the plot. There's sounds here that are works of art. Frames and ideas, and visuals, that are cut raw from the cloth of the dystopian alien invasion movies of the 50's that Bay – and millions of others grew up on – and this film, like the others, is nothing but a big budget, big balls remake of the most gonzo amphetamine fucked up hallucinogenic conspiracy theory bullshit espoused by some zonked out nutter in a post comedown drug hangover in 70's, multipled 1000%, and helmed by an the oldest and richest 8 year old in Hollywood, who just discovered girls bottoms and fast cars. This is is B-movie bullshit that not even the post nuke Japan could imagine on crack. Cinematic candy. Just eat it up. It's some kind of robotic key party with Optimus Prime buried up to the clutch in a teenage orgy of robot violence, napalm, and soft MOR music.
Of course, there's a whole bunch of other stuff. Ever wanted to see a tantaslising glimpse of a modern day thriller set in Chernobyl? Hell yeah. We see just enough of Pripiyat in this film to know that it's fairly inevitable there's going to a post-meltdown thriller set in that town soon enough. It's also the most luxurious – visually – represented version of the Moon landings. I wanted to watch a whole film of 3D Moon Landings, not just a few minutes of Bayised gloop. Course you do. Though there's a moment that is far far too close to a catastrophic event in human history for even my comfort. Bay here, is using human tragedy, for entertainment. A few minutes later, two bad tempered robots are joking about it.
And the characters? Some of the robots even show a personality. There's two bad-tempered asshole engineer-o-bots that, comedy accents aside, enliven any scene. And a sulking, angry Optimus. Even Sentinel Prime (Spockicon, in a virtual reprise of most of “Wrath of Khan”), comes across as a character worth watching instead of the largely incomprehensible piece of bright, fast moving animation.
And then there's the ending. Arguably, I'd say Bay should recut this film, trim the plot to a few sparse lines of dialogue, and just race ahead with a minimalist, hinted plot, and get the whole damn thing to race along frenetically to the end. The final hour – which sees Bay simultanoeusly remaking Invasion:Earth, Ghostbusters, The Matrix. Cloverfield, to name just a few, is possibly the most brainlessly enjoyable hour of cinema I've had in years. Stuff explodes, Spock goes mental, and things explode. Did I mention stuff explodes?
This is a film you have to see in 3D. On a screen the size of a small town. It's just a meaningless work of moving art. My first response was to recut the film, take out all the dialogue, score it with some burtal ambient electronica such as Aphex Twin, and just watch it, whilst mashed off my face at the end of a long night and an early morning. That's the mental level this film works at.
Is it Bays masterpiece? Well, he'll never be able to top this, and never be able to stoop any lower either. I hesitate to say it's any good. It is, however, the eighth wonder of the cinematic world.