Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Transformers 3

It's been more than 48 hours since I watched Transformers 3, and I'm only just recovering from the battering. It wasn't quite as bad as Transformers 2, but that was a film that somehow managed to impose racist stereotypes on us via robots, and include a pair of mecha-testicles, so wasn't quite as bad allows for a multitude of sins.

Michael Bay has at least slowed his editting down from the second film's hyperactivity. You can now see what's going on. Unfortunately, what's going on is that Michael Bay is trying to make Terminator 4.

And we've already seen Terminator 4. It had the only Ancient Greek with an Aussie accent the world has ever known.

Transformers 3, alas, has no gorgon-slaying bogans running about. It has a bunch of human slaying robots flying about in a world conquered by machines. In flying cars.

Now, it may have been a while since I was 8 years old, but the point of the Transformers used to be that they transformed;. As a callow youth, I would have been less impressed by Robots-In-Flying-Cars than Robots-That-Turn-Into-Flying-Cars. What was Bay thinking?

It's strange to see post-apocalypse Chicago. At least the trains still run on time (you can clearly see a train on the L go past as Soundwave is butchering some of his captives). There's lots of humans milling around, waiting to get vapourised by the Decepticons, who, if they want to rely on human slave labour, aren't doing much to preserve their workforce. And there's some muppets flying around the city on their little wing suits, extruded from their bodies like Felix and his Amazing Underpants.

I won't say much about the plot because there isn't much of one. Countless plot devices are thrown in, then vanish and are never remarked on again (the rocket launcher, the Decepticon dustcart, the way Rosie Double-Barrelled flounces out after an argument when it's her apartment and she should be kicking Shia LeBoeuf out). Optimus Prime makes a speech about how every being has a right to freedom, which is pretty hollow because if he hadn't flounced off in a huff 15 minutes earlier, there'd be more beings to have rights, because they wouldn't have been zapped by the Decepticons.

Of course, it could be that Bay is trying to subvert the whole film and make a comment on misguided foreign policy, but that only works if you think millenial-aged robots acting like teenagers are a metaphor for ... Eurgh. Whatever.

Megatron waltzes around with half his brain missing. I wish that had been me, I would have been anaesthetised against the incoherent jingoism, the way that Rosie McPherson-Strut looks more and more alien as the film progresses, wouldn't have been annoyed by her running in slo-mo in high heels.

At least the 3D isn't very full on, unlike previous fuck-you-in-your-face efforts. Particularly for Bay, that's really restrained. Unlike the constant death or destruction, which, I suppose because it only happens to robots or to humans who leave no stains, is over the top but completely acceptable.

Still, in Hong Kong it gets a IIB certificate, which means not suitable for kids, so it was odd that I watched it in the company of a bunch of six-year-olds. I think the cinema's attitude to censorship might be just a little bit too lax. Or somebody's attitude to parenting might be a little injudicious.

There was a heavily pregnant woman there too. I suppose at least her progreny was the right mental age to appreciate the film, even if it will now enter the outside world half death and babbling inanities. I don't want to come over all prescriptive about other people's bodies, but whatever happened to playing Mozart to your unborn child to boost its intellectual vigour?


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