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July 05, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-07-05

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'Moon' misses mark

Cinema dilluted

Effects can't save
third installment
of 'Transformers'
Daily Flm Editor
The latest entry in the "Trans-
formers" franchise can be viewed
in a variety of ways. It's revo-
lutionary. It's
It's visionary.
It's supremely Trsform-
in tune with the
current cultural ers Dark of
zeitgeist. And it's the Mo
also a steaming
pile of crap. At Quality16
Before we go and Rave
any further, in Paramount
the interests of
journalistic eth-
ics, there are a
few redeeming qualities about
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
that should be mentioned. From a
purely technical standpoint, it's
genius. The visual effects are (ini-
tially) stunning and the 3-D is the
best since "Avatar." Since 3-D cam-
eras are heavier than normal cam-
eras, director Michael Bay ("Pearl
Harbor") couldn't rely on the
shaky-cam thing he usually does.
And Megan Fox's replacement,
newcomer and Victoria's Secret
model Rosie Huntington-White-
ley, is absolutely gorgeous. Fox was
shamelessly sexualized for Bay's
amusement. Huntington-Whitely
is shamelessly sexualized, but she


"No! Don't make me star in the fourth one
can also sort of deliver her lines in
a (somewhat) realistic fashion.
To a certain extent, these things
all set "Dark of the Moon" a small
step above its predecessor, the uni-
versally abhorred "Revenge of the
Fallen," mainly because you can
watch without developing nausea.
But the film also inherits most of
the second installment's problems:
shamelessly explicit product place-
ment, government computers, vid-
eoconferencing and transforming
cars. There are endless plugs for
the military, shameless war movie
cliches, and of course, toilet humor
and the casual racism.
That doesn't even touch on the
disjointed, paper-thin plot. Pro-
tagonist Sam Witwicky (an incred-
ibly bitchy Shia LaBeouf, "Wall
Street: Money Never Sleeps"), is
unhappily working the mail room.
Meanwhile, Optimus Prime and
the other Autobots, who stand for
freedom and justice, find some sort
of sci-fi MacGuffin that can some-
how save their old planet, Cyber-

tron. The Decepticons - the evil
enemy robots from the last two
movies - naturally start shooting
each other. Witwicky manages to
involve himself because he's a big
boy now and he deserves to do big
boy things with the other big boys
- LaBeouf, full of self-righteous
angst, says words to this effect
throughout the movie.
Just as Swiss cheese needs
a certain number of holes to be
considered Swiss and a Michael
Bay-directed film needs a certain
number of holes to be considered
authentic, "Dark of the Moon,"
with its multitude of unnecessary
scenes and unresolved character
arcs, doesn't disappoint. As in most
of Bay's films, the script is an after-
thought, simply an excuse to light
the entire Chicago skyline on fire.
The performances are painful
to watch, too. Veterans like John
Turturro ("Do The Right Thing")
and John Malkovich ("Burn After
Reading") remind us through their
See'MOON', Page 9

For the Daily
The first film I remember see-
ing is "Jurassic Park" on opening
weekend during the summer of
1993, and it remains one of my most
cherished memories. From the
back seat of an early '90s Honda
parked at a drive-in theater on a
rainy night, I watched a Tyran-
nosaurus smash through cars
much sturdier than my own. The
film was set to a backdrop of trees
swaying in the wind - or were they
swaying from a massive prehistoric
lizard pushing its way through the
suburban sprawl of Dayton, Ohio?
In what may have been the birth of
my love for film, the horror of the
scene took a backseat to the maj-
esty of the moment, the serenity of
becoming lost in the monumental
potential of movies.
Skip ahead 18 years and I could
watch "Jurassic Park" at any time,
in any place. I could - and often
do - fire up my video iPod to watch
"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" in
an I-94 traffic jam. I've watched
"Machete" at the gym, "Drag Me
to Hell" in retail backrooms, and
"Up" while walking to German
And each time, I feel a little
guilty for it - this isn't how movies
are meant to be seen.
I was eager to adopt the same
iPod mentality for film that I have
for music. It's such a nice idea to
have the "Lord of the Rings" tril-
ogy around at all times, the same
way it's nice to have every song by
your favorite band at your disposal
for instant gratification. But film
doesn't translate. A song can give

your day a soundtrack, especially
as we're becoming more "on-the-
go" daily. But films? They can't
make the transition from the silver
screen to your iPod for jogging, for
background noise, or for class-to-
class travel. They demand your
attention visually, audibly and nar-
I won't knock Netflix - the most
direct, appropriate equivalent of
iTunes to film and television -
but torrenting websites have also
devalued cinema's shimmer to the
status of cold productup for instant
evaluation. I know, Hollywood
makes products, Hollywood sells
us products, everyone goes about
living. But when a film is truly done
well, like J.J. Abrams's "Super 8,"
which delivers a potent rush of cin-
ematic awe, how do you expect to
experience the same effect on a tiny
laptop screen with tinny audio?
The huge screen, the crisp projec-
tion and the room illuminated only
by dim exit signsis all necessaryfor
appreciating film as an event over a
file you can swipe online.

Hello iPods, 3-D.
Goodbye film.



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The inauthentic direction cin-
ema is heading is only perpetuated
by Hollywood's gimmicks. The 3-D
boom of the post-"Avatar" cinema
has been an attempt to cram the
idea of "the event film" down the
throats of moviegoers. It's been
successful thus far, giving both a
new reason to buy a ticket at the
theaters and making an excuse
to charge more for it. Some of the
success has been alarming, with
such popularity that deliciously
stupid films like "Piranha 3D" are
getting not only sequels, but rip-
offs in "Shark Night 3D" and "Bait
3D," both horrifying omens of the 4
holographic shark from "Jaws
19" in "Back to the Future: Part
Two." 3-D was supposed to be the
next generation in filmmaking,
and while 3-D films keep on com-
ing, it's often nothing more than
a cheap gimmick that ends up not 4
being so cheap for audiences. The
same thing goes for D-BOX seat-
ing, which provides motion simu-
lation for action films. I personally
prefer it to 3-D cinema, as one can
See CINEMA, Page 9

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