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Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Disappointing End to Trilogy
During the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in the 1960s, Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts come across the wreckage of the last escaping Cybertronian spacecraft, the Ark, which crash-landed on the dark side of the moon. Onboard was Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime's mentor and former Autobot leader, who was guarding the five pillars; technology that would allow the evil Decepticon armies to travel across and invade planets.Flash forward fifty years; the Autobots discover one of the missing pillars that the Soviet Union tried to use as a power source, which leads Optimus to question the humans' honesty and intentions. Meanwhile, newly graduated Sam (LaBeouf) is trying to find work with the encouragement of his new girlfriend Carly (Huntington-Whiteley), and finds himself in the middle of an assassination plot by the Decepticons, who are targeting everyone involved in the American-Russian space mission. As they uncover the Decepticons' plans to invade earth for the pillars, both the Autobots and humans will wage in an ultimate battle against the Decepticons.
First of all, we advise that you get yourself popcorn and a drink before heading in; the film's running time is very long. The third and final Transformers film simply builds up to the final battle of good versus evil; the result of which will determine the fate of Planet Earth. This might be too simplistic an estimation given the summary above, but it's best not to focus on the details.
No one expects brilliant dialogue or Oscar-worthy acting from the Transformers franchise, but still, you’d expect a lot more than is given here. Although LaBeouf is hilarious at times, he seems to spend most of the film yelling unnecessarily and with excessive bouts of anger that don’t quite fit. Megan Fox's replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is surprisingly engaging compared to Fox’s painfully stale acting, especially given that this is the model’s first acting role. The rest of the original cast have little on-screen time: Duhamel and Gibson don't really share many action scenes or dialogues, which is a shame. Also keep your eyes out for a very brief appearance by a major Hollywood actor, whose presence is completely out of place.
As for the action, it's the same formula as the previous Transformers; nothing more, nothing less. The use of 3D is average at best, and definitely not worth the hype that both the director and the leading star created in claiming Transformers: Dark Moon to be the best 3D film ever made. Nothing about this film’s action scenes or CGI effects will impress you; the robots are barely distinguishable and the choreographed fights between them are far too visually complex to register as realistic or even stimulating; unless you’re a fan of the last two films of course.
Transformers 3 lacks the originality and entertainment value that was expected with all the hype leading to the film’s release. This is a disappointing ending to what has been, in retrospect, a pretty lacklustre trilogy.
What can you say about the seemingly unstoppable force that is Nicolas Cage that hasn’t been said before? A magnet for the most troubled, muddled and just generally exasperating films to hit cinemas in the last five years, his latest work in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage does nothing to change his fortunes.
Despite being based on one a true story that has all the makings of a war epic, the Mario Van Peebles-directed USS Indianapolis bleeds all and any gravitas and emotion out of its incredibly dramatic source material.
The story goes as thus: the eponymous US Navy cruiser delivered the first parts of the atomic bomb that would go on to devastate Hiroshima, before being torpedoed by the Japanese navy, leaving some 300 of the 1000-plus crewmen dead and the rest stranded in shark-infested waters. Said sharks, along with dehydration and salt water poisoning, leave just over 300 survivors to be rescued.
At the centre of the ensuing hubbub is Cage’s Captain McVay, who many, very unreasonably, blame for the death of the 700 or so victims – so you see, it’s a very complex story, but one that very quickly descend into and exercise on how not to make a war film.
The occasional laughable CGI aside, Cage is oddly sedate, bordering on placid, in his role – yes, the central character is possibly the flattest element of the film, while seasoned actors, Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane, are given little to chew on in their respective roles.
While starting exactly as one would expect a war film to, the wreckage part of the film turns into cheap disaster movie, before turning into a courtroom drama in the final act. It’s a muddle of a film that fails to really drum to the beat of McVay’s potentially brilliant arc as a firm commander that eventually buckles under the unjust pressure he receives back at home.
Bad CGI, a mammoth two hour-plus running time and Nic Cage can be forgiven, but what’s at the heart of this film’s mess is the script. Jumping from event to event, plotline to plotline, at a whim, with Cage’s soft murmured speech used to pave over the transitions, USS Indianapolis’s pacing is that of a film hurrying to stuff as many ideas and threads as possible – expect that’s not the case. Van Peebles tries so hard to build the layers of an epic, when, actually, all he needed to do was tell this simple but stirring story as it is.
Marking the fifth instalment in the Underworld franchise, Blood Wars rests in the hands of a first-time feature director, Anna Foerster who, although managing to create a few notable moments of action, fails to bring any ingenuity or freshness to its now exhausted vampires-versus-werewolves narrative.
The story begins with a brief recap of events from the last four films where we learn that everyone’s favourite vampire death dealer, Selena (once again fully embraced by the leather-clad, forever sulking Kate Beckinsale) has been betrayed and banished by her kind.
Still trying to cope with the pain of having given up her vampire-werewolf hybrid daughter Eve for everyone’s safety, Selena is surprised to be summoned back into the vampire community - now led by the scheming Semira (Pulver) - who wish to make use of her skills in order to train the new generation of fighters, while still escaping her own chasers and searching for her daughter.
Taking quite a bit of time to get going, Blood Wars – written by Cory Goodman – is filled with lots of politics and nonsensical dialogue between characters who seemingly have a hard time in conveying any emotion, thus, making it all that difficult for the viewer to get invested in what they have to say. Drenched in a seemingly cold, metallic-blue tint, Blood Wars – although certainly not heavy on the action front – does manage to offer a couple relatively exciting action set-pieces. However, considering that this is a vampires-verses-werewolves kind of a movie, there just isn’t enough of that that specific mythology to set it apart from any other action movies – no wooden stakes or silver bullets to see here folks, just plenty of swirling swords and guns that can’t hurt anyone.
Another problem here is that the mythology behind the franchise in general – something the keeps spinning around aimlessly with no real focus or ending in sight – is a little hard to take seriously.
All of the characters, including the PVC-wearing Kate Beckinsale, who thinks that scowling her way through the scenes will get her anywhere, are all without an ounce of charm or personality – which sadly, brings us to a conclusion that there is no fun to be had in this rather forgettable cinematic offering and generic continuation of a franchise which, perhaps, might be ready now to close its doors and call it a day.