Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Michael Bay)

Bumblebee and a backdrop in ruins.
Although I really did not find the much-hyped 'Apollo 11' plot that fascinating (I still believe that this one's a messy little exercise in narrative disjoint) and the introduction of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's character anything other than a forced casting decision due to Megan Fox's departure, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is nonetheless still an enjoyable blockbuster thrill ride where it feels like you're no longer watching a big-budgeted movie let alone a film. A theme park ride, more like.

As the film bombards everything that moves with explosions, collapsing things and flying men, as one's ideas about the limits of human stamina and survival impossibility blurs into a little spot in the film's array of robotic showdowns (and structural meltdowns) for domination, freedom and some 'can you top that?' on the side, we may not know it, but with a dumb blockbuster like "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" in front of our very 3D-ridden eyes, it's too overwhelmingly flamboyant to ignore, and just too visually phenomenal to pass.

Alright, I, for one, hate Michael Bay. His films are nothing but thick collectives of machismo sandwiching a thin narrative and paper weight characters, except for "The Rock" which I really like. Believe me, I'm ready to denounce this film with all my might, but as the film reaches the plot's conflict which I found to be much more perilous and engaging than I have imagined, my ready-made hatred towards the film diminished like how people in the film disappear when they're hit by those Decepticon beams. I'm just completely drawn in by the intoxicating CGI-fest that this is.

Is it the"Forrest Gump"-esque 'famous people' visual composites, the film's pseudo-political pretense or Ms. Whiteley's bosom? Of course, I really cannot pretend that any of those trivialities is the real reason why I liked the film, because the genuine one is two pure, simple words: action scenes. For me, however high a critic's intellectual capacity is (except for those who think that they're utterly superior that they cannot admit it to themselves) and encompassing his/her film knowledge is, there's still these sets of films that really cannot be denied, visuals and entertainment-wise. The likes of the first "Transformers" film (not counting the second one because that one's a real stinker), "Avatar" and every other superhero features, these are movies that are shown and will stay for what they are and nothing more. No psychological complexities and artful avant-gardism, to say the least. Just pure old movie fun catering not to any specific demographics but to anyone ready to surrender their minds in exchange for some fun. And here in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", I wholeheartedly did.

Now, the supporting cast, for a change, are very likable in a silly and limited kind of way, but that's how it is. Frances McDormand, John Turturro and John Malkovich, who unknowingly assembled for some sort of a mini Coen brothers' cast reunion, are by all means effective, except for Malkovich who, after some scenes or two, really failed to leave an assurance to what his character is all about. The Witwicky parents are still here but their running time are reduced extensively, and I'm grateful for that.

Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel are there for the absolute macho presences and Patrick Dempsey is a messily cliched villain inserted to counter the film's larger-than-life-and-earth villainy. Now for Shia "CGI Baby" LaBeouf, there's not much to say except that he runs, jumps and runs a lot. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, although the leading lady, shouldn't have even been in the film in the first place. I think Megan Fox still should have played the leading female character because this third film leaves a space for a potentially climactic emotional crescendo between her and LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky character.

Now, from a messy plot and a mediocre cast performance, how did I still rate the film 'higher than fair'? Well, because I think that for a third film that speaks of such generic tagline as "Earth's Last Stand", although its cinematic posture wobbles constantly in the entirety of its running time, it still strongly held its own on the way to a climax that is one hell of a ride worth taking and buying tickets for.

If "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is a self-confessed (I think) 'so-so' in terms of plot execution and character fleshing, its lengthy climax has created a new, indelible standard in CGI action set pieces. Hundreds of Robots and a metal snake + a city to destroy and some heroic humans = a guilty pleasure. A truly spectacular one at that.


No comments:

Post a Comment

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Ivan6655321's Schneider 1001 movies widget