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Two ends of the spectrum

Posted at 4:05 PM on July 24, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Over the weekend I caught two summer offerings which lie at opposite ends of the celluloid spectrum. One, "Transformers," is pure silliness aimed at the teen market. The second, Pascale Ferran's "Lady Chatterley" is aimed at the arthouse crowd, being both in French and almost two and three-quarter hours long.

Both are pitched perfectly at their audiences, and thus, depending on your mood worth the price of admission.

"Transformers" revels in it's silliness. Intergalactic bio-robots? Sure! Beings who can fly through space but need the help of a teenage loser to find the source of life on their planet which they have misplaced? Of course! A huge climactic battle where massive metal monsters stake everything on a teenage boy's capacity to climb a building while they smash at it from all side? What else could they do?

Despite all this ridiculousness Shia LaBeouf as the hapless teen Sam Witwicky and his supporting cast keep their faces straight enough to carry it off. John Turturro is magnificent as the officious agent leading the alien investigation for a government agency so secret that the Secretary of Defense (played by John Voight) doesn't know about it.

"Transformers" will make you laugh more than anything, and that's not a bad thing.

"Lady Chatterley" on the other hand will make you think. While the story is best known as a result of the court battles over whether it was obscene, D.H. Lawrence's novel, or actually three novels, is as much about British class struggle in the years after World War I as it is about sexual awakening.

Director Ferran contrasts Lady Chatterley's restrictive upper-crust life with lush wildlife of the land around the remote mansion where she lives with her husband who has returned paralyzed from the war. She seeks escape in the arms of the gamekeeper, only to find he is just as bound by conventions of his own.

It's a long film, perhaps a little to languid for some, but on a hot humid day it could be a welcome escape in more ways than one.

But a "Transformers" "Lady Chatterley" double feature, probably isn't going to work.

July 2007
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