Last week, before a screening of J.J. Abrams’ supremely enjoyable Super-8, OWF were given the opportunity to see some footage from Michael Bay’s next Autobot opus Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
The footage played after a filmed Q&A with Bay and 3D’s supreme being James Cameron in which they briefly discussed the benefit of filming in 3D, did some understandable back-slapping and allowed us to see some behind the scenes examples of Bay’s action and motion use of the Arri Alexa Pace 3D cameras.
The opening few minutes of footage appeared to be the actual opening few minutes of the film, much of it familiar from the trailer, in which the US angle of the space race was down to the Americans tracking an object crashing into the dark side of the moon and needing to get men up there for a look-see. It’s a great conceit, and a cleverly constructed little piece of alternative history. Watching Armstrong and Aldrin bouncing their way towards the enormous damaged relic of the war on Cybertron is eye-poppingly entertaining.
Of course that’s nothing to the next 15 minutes of non-linear scenes which showcased just how much Bay has thrown himself into the 3D filming arena. Based on the action and mayhem on display he certainly didn’t waste his time.
From a mesmeric shot entering a Transformer’s eye, to frankly amazing shots following freefalling troops as they maneouvre between explosions, Decepticons, and collapsing buildings, to an absolutely monstrous Decepticon crushing a skyscraper in half as our hapless human heroes slide down the exterior the CGI spectacle is extraordinary, almost overwhelming.
There’s also a great shot of Shia LaBeouf going from sitting inside ‘car’ Bumblebee, being launched into the air as Bumblebee changes to his autobot self, and then back inside as Bumblebee changes back, manhandling Shia into the driver’s seat. There was no concession to explaining story, it was purely a visual rollercoaster, and as for the glimpses of the familiar faces (Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel) it seemed to be business as usual. Megan Fox replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, looked statuesque in a tight dress, and possibly more pneumatic that some of the robots.
Inevitably the CGI elements are more successfully rendered in 3D as there is still something a little off when viewing ‘reality’ in the third dimension onscreen (i.e. those rare moments when it’s just some humans walking and talking), but if the film’s running time is primarily filled with the kind of motion, and outright delight in destruction we saw in these 20 minutes we’ll scarcely have time to notice.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon opens worldwide on June 29th.
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