Shia LaBeouf grows up–or tries to | Inquirer Entertainment

Shia LaBeouf grows up–or tries to

/ 03:33 AM July 09, 2011

US actor Shia Labeouf poses for photographers as he arrives for the European premiere of Transformers 3 in Berlin. AFP/JOHN MACDOUGALL

Like many actors who achieved huge success while still in their teens, Shia LaBeouf has a problem: What to do for an encore—especially when you wake up one day to realize that you’re no longer a teenager, so you can’t play it “cute and frisky” without looking like a slap-happy retard?



Other “formerly teen” actors have tried to stretch their moneymaking years by pretty much playing variations on the same generically “frisky” roles well into their 30s—with predictably embarrassing and even mortifying results!


So, we credit Shia for refusing to prolong the agony (his and ours) any longer: In his latest outing in the “Transformers” film series that made him a big star, he tries to go the “young-adult” route, complete with a change of wardrobe, bed scenes and “stuff.”

If “Transformers 3” does well at the tills, we can safely surmise that the fave actor’s attempt to rachet up his movie game is a success.

Seen another way, however, Shia’s showing in “Transformers 3” is not all that relevant a factor as it initially appears—because, the production’s biggest “insurance” that it will do boffo business isn’t the star value that Shia contributes, but the visual excitement and mayhem provided by its animated Autobots, Decepticons and “stuff.”

Yes, Shia’s character provides the human touch and humanizing element that makes the production more than just an all-out, take-no-prisoners, whiz-bang, gung-ho sci-fi caper. But, there are quite a number of moments, especially in the movie’s clangorous and overlong final battle, when he and the production’s other human actors virtually “disappear”—and we see only the monstrous Transformers and Decepticons fighting each other for total world domination.

LaBeouf may be a charismatic star, but not all of the charisma in the universe can wrest viewers’ attention away from the stunning sight of mechanized monsters, each the size of the Statue of Liberty, King Kong and Gargantua, fight each other to save one planet (theirs) at the expense of another (ours).

The psychological links to King Kong and Gargantua are most relevant to the movie’s impact on viewers because they tap into a powerful source and motherlode of great seminal force in terms of “iconic” cinema.


In other words, “Tranformers 3” “works” not just due to its own efforts, but because it pulls in and puts to canny psychological use all of the viewing public’s collective “sense memories” of other celebrated monsters throughout the history of film.


The “armor” and “armature” of metal and mechanized pluperfection are new, but the “monstrous” intimations and psychic reverberations are as old as the Hollywood hills.

Finally, the slam-bang way that “Transformers 3” throws in everything it’s got (and then some) to make its final battle the overloud and overlong “monstrosity” it is gives us the gut-feel that this could be the last of the film franchise’s “chapters.”

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That’s all to the good—especially for Shia LaBeouf, who can now look forward to making more movies in which he’s the visible and most authentic star!

TAGS: Entertainment, movie, Shia LaBeouf, Transformers 3

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