In a super busy week in which some builders came and noisily lavished us with new doors and windows AntBuoy, Astarico and I set out for an adventure in the Metropolis which drew us to the Barbican centre where we marvelled at an extraordinary piece of artwork made of unsupported strands of wire some of which were the same thickness as cloud matter. It was incredible, you could only see it properly when someone wearing dark clothes was standing on the other side of it. We also discovered that the centre’s cinema will be showing Studio Ghibli’s latest film Arrietty, their adaptation of The Borrowers and we soon made plans to go and see it. After spending some time watching the girls go by at St Paul’s AntBuoy and I took the DLR to West India Quay to catch Michael Bay’s latest entry in the Transformers series. I’ll get to that in a minute. In other news Ception Theatre’s production of Little Bear in which I play Jaeger the Hunter is being performed as part of the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston on the 3rd, 5th and 6th of July. For more information go to our website http://www.ceptiontheatre.co.uk/. We just broke the funding record on WeFund by reaching 250% of our target, not that I’m bragging or anything.
I admit I quite liked Transformers as a kid. Giant battling robots turn up everywhere but there’s something really satisfying and charming about the idea of machines that can change into cars and planes and so on. Michael Bay’s handling of the material isn’t much like the cartoons but his showboating use of detailed CGI to bring its robotic protagonists to life proved popular and lucrative, not that the critics have always approved. The first film was reasonably well received but its sequel, Revenge of the Fallen was pretty universally derided. Now it’s time for a third stab at it minus Megan Fox.
Transformers – Dark of the Moon opens with an intriguing rewriting of the history of America’s space program. Apparently the Apollo 11 moon-landing was actually a mission to investigate an alien spacecraft that landed on the lunar surface. Naturally the craft was from Cybertron and carried precious cargo. It’s actually a pretty nifty opening but everything goes downhill from there.
Sam Witwicky (Shia Le Beouf overdoing it a bit) has a new girlfriend (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, absolutely rubbish) and is looking for a job all the while brooding over his non-involvement in the Autobots’ CIA missions. Optimus Prime retrieves and resurrects his old mentor from the moon crash site and Megatron begins plotting to put the Decepticons back on top.
It’s lucky no-one goes to these movies for the plot because this one is pretty nonsensical. It’s biggest mistake is the stubborn focus on Le Beouf whose job hunting and jealousy issues are impossible to care about. When all we really want to see is cool shape-shifting robots knocking seven shades of oil out of each other we’re forced to sit through a lot of awkward comedy thrown at us by annoying characters as they blunder through the messy script. When the action scenes come they’re all about the CG as usual and you’ll have to accept that to get anything out of them. This isn’t about substance and never was. The Transformers are still cool to watch but they don’t get nearly enough to do, don’t do as much actual transforming as they should and their numbers are stuffed with too many forgettable underdeveloped characters that are a bit hard to truly engage with.
Eventually we get to the climax and this is where Bay ramps up the epic action casting a mammoth 45 minute continuous sequence set in Chicago as the Autobot underdogs and some human military types make a desperate attempt to thwart the Decepticons. If you’re an action junkie it’s this epic back end of the show that will make it worth the price of admission as you watch buildings topple and robots smashing each other but for the rest of us the damage has already been done. The film is too much of a mess to be redeemed.
An incoherent, confusing and sometimes laughable script completely detract from whatever entertainment value the action might contain. The exhausting running time even means you should think twice about going along anyway to chuckle at how bad it is.