Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ultimate Franchise

By ultimate, I really wish I meant last.

Michael Bay, however, will not grant us that mercy, not with these numbers. Which means we'll get the same movie again in a couple of years. Actually, it's two movies in one. One movie involves the sub-human inanity of the human characters, their respective dog/robot-humpings, hyper-unrealistic relationships and inhuman experiences (perhaps the next film will feature a Graduate school where the professors are all hot thirty-something babes, inspiring the Beouf to just pluckspaz right out to even greater heights of performance art, completely and totally, until he implodes?)

The other movie on display here is a thoroughly appalling, unexpectedly racist, loud, and completely baffling army ad, featuring giant robots (which transform into vehicles made comical by their own recession-based obsolescence). For all Michael Bay's right-wing war-porn, this is a pretty lame recruitment tool. Just because the dragon fight at the volcano wasn't a successful marketing strategy doesn't mean that Transformers and better special effects will work.

The movie is so sloppy I'd be hard pressed to be offended that Obama has been whisked away to a secret bunker (I'm trying to imagine a Republican president being any more effective than Obama would be against a Decepticon attack. Eight years ago, whither Cheney?).

Still, let Red America have a Transformers flick rather than have the White House, I say.

There' s another movie mixed into that appalling war-ad, and it' s a full-throated Transformers movie, with special effects and battle-sequences that worked better this time around, and are sometimes even breathtaking in their audacity (if sometimes swallowed by their own complexity). There are actually moments of real artistry, with creature effects that really are among the best I've ever seen. I had to sit through a Michael Bay movie to see them, which I won't want to do again unless there's another Transformers movie.

The AV Club has a wonderful breakdown of everything that went wrong, and of course we all read poor Ebert's generous take-down.

The theme that emerges from these reviews is that Michael Bay is far too old to be making this kind of movie. That confuses me a little bit. I sometimes wonder if critics forget who's in charge in Hollywood. I know it's maddening the amount of money this is making, I know it's juvenile, etc. etc. But to expect Michael Bay to grow up? Come on. We need Michael Bay. It's Manichean, really, how much we need him to soldier on, creating Manichean conflicts from the tip of his id. I don't ever want him to grow up. Every couple of years we get dazzled and appalled in equal measure. Behold our bread and circuses! Can we ever out-excess this? The last movie I watched before this one was Through a Glass Darkly. I'll be fine. Besides, ROTF was roughly the same movie last time, minus the minstrel show, and I don't remember this volume of critical fulmination in '07.

2 comments:

quo.vadio said...

The difference between then and now is not the movie, but the tipping point that our collective sensibilities reached in late July, Early August of last year, when we woke up and said, "wait, just because the semi-babe can talk about commies and hunting and go on SNL, doesn't mean we should let her help run the country. What the hell are they trying to make us swallow, and how long have they been doing it?"

Plaid Avenger said...

Well, that doesn't explain critical reaction, or the 201 million dollar four day gross.....;)