With 13 Hours, Michael Bay doesn’t so much wear his political heart on his sleeve as use it as a club to beat his audience into submission. His dramatic retelling of the September 2012 terrorist attack on US diplomats in Benghazi, Libya – during which two members of a covert security team lost their lives along with American ambassador Christopher Stephens – plays like an extended Republican party political broadcast, complete with relentless hand held camera carnage and beating jungle drum soundtrack.
Anyone who’s seen one or both of the Transformers movies may think they know what to expect from this latest collaboration between toy giants Hasbro and movie studio Paramount Pictures. So, then, it may come as something as a surprise to say that GI Joe is far more enjoyable than either of Michael Bay’s head-splitters. True, it’s utter action fantasy aimed squarely at kids and anyone who remembers playing soldiers in their back garden – the boys playfighting at the front of the screening I attended were clearly having an absolute ball – but if you take it in the spirit it’s intended there’s fun to be had.
A whole lot of bot…
If you showed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to the pioneers of the motion picture, those visionaries who first thought to splice images together to make them come alive, they would most likely be overcome with shock. It’s a testament to how far cinematic technology has come that modern audiences take such spectacle for granted – to the extent that the mind begins to wander and we begin hypothesising about how early cinema-goers would react to the film that is still playing on screen in front of us. Ok, so that might be just me, but the fact remains that, however awesome the visuals might be, Transformers 2 ‘aint got a whole lot of soul. And, despite all that technology, soul still remains the heart of great cinema.