Streaming highlights August 7-13: The Speed Cubers, Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy & Brabham

QUICK: Australian Rubik's cube competitor Feliks Zemdegs.
QUICK: Australian Rubik's cube competitor Feliks Zemdegs.



AT first glance some people might dismiss Rubik's cube speed solving as some geeky pastime and anything but exciting.

Sure, the Rubik's cube is hardly "cool" or "sexy" but the documentary The Speed Cubers, shows how competition built around community can empower those who struggle for a place in the regular world.

Can you imagine Roger Federer sitting down with Novak Djokovic and his family for a Chinese banquet the night before Wimbledon or sending him personal video messages every time his rival broke another one of his records?

Of course not. But this is exactly what happens in The Speed Cubers, which focuses on the relationship between Australia's two-time speedcubing world champion Feliks Zemdegs, 24, and his emerging 18-year-old US usurper Max Park. The pair are the only speedcubers to hold the world record in the marquee event, 3x3x3 solves average, since 2009.

The 40-minute documentary shows how Park's skill at speed solving has helped him cope with autism by developing his social and fine motor skills. Zemdegs is initially threatened by Park's emergence, but he then discovers his greater calling by serving as a mentor and friend to his young rival.



REBOOT: Autobots leader Optimus Prime.

REBOOT: Autobots leader Optimus Prime.

IF you were an '80s kid it was impossible to avoid Transformers. The good Autobots and the evil Decepticons were the coolest toys around and the original cartoon was definitely "more than meets the eye."

Unfortunately the Michael Bay live-action film franchise beginning in 2007 sapped any soul from the circuitry of these transforming robots and replaced it with SGI bombast.

This reboot series Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy is aimed at appeasing original fans, now in their 30s and 40s, in design. However, the six-part series is decidedly darker and more complex than the '80s cartoon or Michael Bay's popcorn fodder.

We see various beloved characters destroyed or tortured and the Autobots and Decepticons aren't as black and white as previous incarnations.

The story begins in the dying days of the Transformers' home planet of Cybertron. Decepticons leader Megaton is winning the civil war, but it yet to fully embrace his diabolic tendencies, instead favouring a surrender from troubled Autobots leader Optimus Prime.

The bleak wasteland of Cybertron is beautifully presented, but some of the SGI Transformers movements are stilted. The dialogue too can be overly, dare I say it, robotic at times.

However story wise, one episode of this series contains more depth than the entire Michael Bay film franchise. A must for old Transformers fans.



COMPLEX: Aussie racing legend Jack Brabham.

COMPLEX: Aussie racing legend Jack Brabham.

IT would have been easy for makers of this documentary about Sir Jack Brabham to merely focus on the Australian racing legend's feats on the track, as they're numerous. He was a three-time Formula One world champion and the only man to ever win a title in a car bearing his own name.

While the first half of the film follows the boy from Hurstville's ascent to the peak of motor sport, the second part is dedicated to how this driven personality neglected his three sons, Gary, Geoff and David, who followed him into the sport.

It also details David's quest to reclaim the Brabham name both as a business brand and as a pathway to his own identity. "If I'm just Jack's son, then who am I?" he asks.

Archival footage is interspersed with interviews with Brabham contemporaries like Jackie Stewart, which are both critical and complimentary. Even viewers uninterested in motor sport will find plenty to enjoy in this analytical piece.

This story Speed cubers shape a different edge to competition first appeared on Newcastle Herald.