Thursday, 28 July 2011

Facebook Friends and Transformers 3

Not as odd a combo as the title sounds. On Wednesday I met my third Facebook friend in the flesh for the first time, fellow scifi writer Laurel Kriegler. :) As my house is currently in disarray with boxes of stuff everywhere, and flooring lifted ready for new radiators (and because it freaks my husband out a little to find my Facebook friends materializing in our home), I suggested a film and dinner. I don't get to do either of those much these days. So tickets were duly booked for Transformers 3 (in 3D no less!) and Laurel got to meet my little brood of monsters for a couple of hours. :-P

As movies go, it was pretty good. One scene especially reminded me why I love scifi so much over other genres. Sure, you can get car chases with explosions and smashes and gunfire, but how many have cars transforming into super robots that tear up the tarmac and somersault through the air? How many car chases have the hero thrown through the windscreen, tossed over the flaming debris of crashing trucks to be caught by an Autobot on the other side? Of course, spectacular special effects are considered the norm now and no film would be without them, but it still impresses me. Maybe I need to get out more ...

On the whole I'd rate this a good but not fantastic film. I didn't like the use of old black and white footage at the start, however authentic it might be. It seemed a bit rough and patchwork, and I've seen amateur movie makers do a better job. I'm not exactly sure what the point of John Malkovich's character was aside from a little warped comic relief. In fact, several of the secondary characters seemed to be hanging around without much of a part to play in the whole, aside from reminding us that they'd been in the previous film. And I hated the fact that the Decepticons seemed so very invincible in human terms, and yet we beat them in the end with our inferior human technology. The mega-huge Decepticon Shockwave seemed especially impossible to destroy and yet - yep - it was.

Having said that, the overall story line was good. There were a couple of good twists in it (can't tell you what they are as I never do spoilers!). I question some of the comic relief during the apocalyptic scenes at the end, and Witwicky's girlfriend Carly Spencer seemed nothing more than a compulsory glamour token proffering the required terrified screams at the appropriate time. However, the final battle was AWESOME! Leonard Nimoy provides an iconic voice for Sentinel Prime and you can play spot the Star Trek connections. Bumblebee uses a sound clip from Star Trek II - 'your friend' taken from Spock's line 'I am and always shall be your friend.' - and Sentinel Prime quotes 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.' from Spock's death scene. Alan Tudyk had a very minor role as Dutch but played his slightly deranged character well and John Turturro's character (Seymour Simmons) seemed a bit tongue in cheek as the ex-Sector Seven fruitcake but entertaining nonetheless. There's also the kudos of two real life astronauts (Buzz Aldrin and Bill O'Reilly) taking a part in the film.

The 3D was good for the battle scenes but I wouldn't pay out for it again. Overall, I'd rate this film a B+. Entertaining, visually impressive but the acting and the storyline sucked a little. If you want to know the whole story with spoilers you can check out the Wikipedia entry here.