truly a hard-on
for these U.S. armed forces
and for broken glass
try to suck boner
for nose-gas. half of us ran.
armsÂ heraldedÂ red.
Wired captured it best in June of ’07 with this quote from the original screenwriter, John Rogers:
“While a large chunk of people want to see giant-robot fights, there’s an equally large, dedicated group who want to see their childhood idols treated like serious characters, with real emotional arcs […] For every fan wanting to feel like he’s 12 again, there’s another who’s outraged that you think this is just a movie for 12-year-olds. It’s not that people don’t trust Michael Bay. It’s that the list of people who would be trusted is almost vanishingly small.”
I watched this film because, as a kid, I was a Transformers fan; I was curious what this updated version would bring to the table. Â I went into it feeling like the former group in the above quote — not really looking for much more than a cheap thrill — but left it feeling like the latter.
And not because the film was all explosions and broken glass1. Â I think I would have been OK with that. Â It was the nihilism. Â It was as if no investment was made in any aspect of the film. Â Certainly in the $150 million spent they could have found some room for actors willing to display a little affect, for writers that could create a half-way decent character arc… Â It’s almost as if they blew the whole budget on sets and special effects. Â And then when the CG animation didn’t look nearly as good as they hoped, Bay stepped in and said: “More smoke. Â More dust. Â More explosions. Â Speed the damn thing up. Â Don’t let anyone get a good look at anything.”
Also, bonus round haiku (non-anagrammatic):
Can a film about
giant transforming robots
have latent sub-text?
I’m not talking about the “no sacrifice, no victory” theme that they mention in the Wired article. Â No. Â I get a vague notion that what’s afoot is more ontological in nature. Â The battle between the robots seems to be about free-will; nearly all of Optimus Prime’s dialogue is drenched with these plaintive statements about how our young human species should be allowed to choose its destiny. Â It’s a little cloying and patronizing. Â Megatron at least seems to have grasped the principles of evolution, that goalless sallying forth of life (fleshy, robotic, or otherwise) that knows no rules and has no plan; he at least seems to understand that these are simply constructs that we bring into the mix. Â And as I recall, it is not as though the Decepticons were specifically out to destroy humans; we just happened to be in the way. Â This effort on the Autobots’ part to defend our free-will then seems to start to lose credibility. Â The Decepticons aren’t explicitly trying to strip us of any of our rights; they just don’t give a shit. Â Meanwhile, the Autobots claim to be defending our freedoms, tug at our heart-strings a little bit, and suddenly they’ve manipulated a boy and a whole bunch of hardened U.S. Army soldiers to pitch in on their behalf. Â Our choice? Â Our free-will? Â Perhaps. Â But perhaps under duress; those sons of bitches took advantage of us.
Oh, but they did a hell of a job with the sound in that film. Â Nice work, that.
- And man! Â I don’t believe I’ve seen that much broken glass since the original Die Hard. [↩]