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For Freedom! The Politics of Transformers 3…

This is part of the “Morality Bites” blogathon being hosted by the always awesome Ronan over at filmplicity and Julian at dirtywithclass. It is, as ever, a joy to be asked to take part.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to tackle politics (or any thorny issue) in cinema. Documentaries are the obvious exception, but very few people go into a major motion picture (or even an indie one) expecting a personal diatribe of the creator’s controversial political opinions construed as absolute fact. It’s often more interesting to hear a rant in spoken form rather than structured into three acts at well over an hour with awkward plotting and characterisation designed to outline a particular world view. Don’t get me wrong, many great film makers have used their films as clever points of interest on a particular topic, but those that succeed often do so through clever construction, honest analyse and a decent amount of subtlety. However, such an approach is far too rare in Hollywood, as I thought to myself emerging from Michael Bay’s Transformers 3. I’d made my piece with the fact I was attending a two-and-a-half hour toy commercial, but I didn’t expect it to be a two-and-a-half-hour toy commercial delivered as a declaration on American foreign policy.

Transformers: Politics in Disguise...

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Non-Review Review: Transformers 3 – Dark of the Moon

Here’s the thing: I don’t really expect a lot from Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It’s a movie about two rival factions of robots who engage in civil war on Earth. It’s not the stuff of epic tragedy or cinematic masterpieces. It’s designed to offer knock-down brawls, superb CGI, stunning action and a handful of fist-pumping moments. I’m cool with that. I don’t expect any more than that, and – to a certain extent – the movie meets my basic needs. However, despite a superb supporting cast and some superb special effects, the movie feels a little too self-important and po-faced to ever really engage. The final forty minutes are something to behold, but there’s just too much mundane plotting and pompous pseudo-philosophical rambling in the first two hours to really justify it.

Jump in my car...

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Why Does Transformers Need John Malkovich and Frances McDormand?

Francis McDormand and John Malkovich have been cast in Transformers 3. Both are fantastic actors. In fairness, Malkovich has fairly low standards when it comes to choosing his movies – he was linked to Spider-Man 4 as the Vulture before it all fell apart and managed to be the best thing about Con Air (okay, second best – but Steve Buscemi is just awesome anyway) – but McDormand is an actress known for being relatively choosy about her roles. She isn’t exactly matinee idol fare. But, as I read the story, I couldn’t help wondering: why does Michael Bay even need actors for Transformers?

Who needs actors when you have explosions?

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