Russell Webner

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Transformers 2 Sucks


Well, I was intrigued enough to see Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen last night.  I didn’t enter the theatre excited, just intrigued.  Like the first Transformers, I expected Revenge of the Fallen to be an orgy of special effects, dialogue like chewing gravel, and a suffocating amount of slow motion shots of Shia Lebeouf screaming like he’s strapped to a chair trying to avoid somebody force-feeding him a tasty sausage.  After two and a half hours, the movie delivered exactly as I had expected it to.

It was a horrible piece of garbage, it couldn’t even be considered a film.  The plot was as non-linear as the nonsensensical geographical hop-scotching that led the characters on a tour of Egypt in about 3 minutes.  The acting was as pleasant as diahrrea.  Any scene not involving giant robots was doomed from the start.  The format I watched the movie in was extended so the screen was much wider than usual.  Thus, in a scene where the Shia Lebeouf’s character is talking to his father in the living room, the imax shot makes it look like some epic vaccuum cleaner commercial with a sprawling interior that is just way too epic. Actually, I’d say the robots were better actors than the humans.  And they looked so much cooler!
Michael Bay will go down as the Ronald McDonald’s of cinema.  He churns out sensationalist trash that follows no narrative, has no themes, no messages, nothing of any quality except special effects that are done by some geeks in a room somewhere.  His movies dont even follow the rules of the universe.  Optimus Prime is dead!  No he isnt, you just have to find the Matrix of Leadership — I’m not even making that name up.  Yet, like a big mac, Transformers is tremendously popular despite its lack of nutritional value.  I heard that it made 80 million dollars in its opening night.  On facebook, my main feed is sprinkled with status updates like: “I’d go see transformers 4 more times!”  Michael Bay has stumbled upon the perfect Hollywood formula: take all the artistic value out of movies and instead inject it with computer generated opiates and acting that, while painful, is easy to grasp.  Plus, if the viewer deems it necessary they can just disregard the dialogue all together to concentrate on their milk duds or lust over Megan Fox.  It’s ok, the next action sequence will be in 17.4 seconds anyways; and the one after that is in 48 seconds.

A sampling of scenes in Transfomers where I said to myself “Why am I watching this?  Are they serious?  Is the American population really this stupid?”

1) A small transformer robot humping Megan Fox’s leg.  (I’d actually say she’s the best actor in the movie.  Especially because of her first scene sprawled on a motorcycle, ready to take it from every 15 year old male hiding their boners in the audience.)

2) Robot testicles.  Yep, there’s one big robot that has too huge iron balls.  When Michael Bay was watching shots of this scene during its production, I wonder what he thought was added to the movie by the gratuitous shot of two clinking robot balls.  Oh, and I hate to spoil the movie for you, but those balls belonged to a robot that was ripping apart one of the Great Pyramids in Egypt to find a tool that could be used to destroy our Sun. (A blatant disregard for Egyptian antiquities in this movie, too.  Archaelogists are having fucking heart attacks)

3) I didn’t actually see this, but in the beginning of the movie the kitchen of Even Steven’s house is turned into a bunch of evil transformers.  As my friend Pat said after the movie: “Did you see the one that had a gun as a dick?”

4) When Shia Lebouef goes to college, which lasts for a grand total of 10 minutes of screen time, Bay felt it necessary to cram as many college stereotypes into those few minutes as possible.  The mother manages to find a ‘bake sale’ where she buys pot brownies.  First of all, I’m a college student and have yet to find one of those bake sales (if anyone hears of one, let me know).  Secondly, the mother goes ape-shit after she eats the brownies — embarassingly grabbing frisbees from some co-eds on the quad, then seductively telling the father: “Professor, I’d do anything for an A.”  Sheesh, everyone knows it would take a lot longer than 10 minutes for pot brownies to settle in and get you high.  Duh.

5) Apparently, now it’s ok to model characters after complete racial stereotypes as long as they’re robots.  If you see the twin-bots you’ll know what I mean.

6)  Michael Bay has created a new ‘shot.’  The Michael Bay shot will now forever be known as:  the camera, travelling in a semi-circular motion, constantly swivels around the subject of the shot….for the entire shot.  In a scene when Even Stevens and Megan Fox are saying goodbye before he goes to college, the camera travels in circles around them for the whole of 3 or 4 minutes.  Literally, by the time the scene was over and the moved onto the next scene’s stationary shot, I was motion-sick.  But Bay is onto something here, by giving viewers a minor thrill ride through this technique, they are less likely to concentrate on the horrible, horrible dialogue.

Enough hating for me, though.  And I could go on all day.  Really, I’ve just skimmed the surface.  (Shia Lebeouf goes to heaven, ROBOT heaven! Fo Real)  But Transformers 2 is going to make bank, serious bank.  Not only in America, even.  I bet people are gobbling this up in Europe and the Middle East.   In China, bootleg copies have probably been selling like hotcakes on the street for weeks.  While Transformers is undoubtedly a horrible film, it demonstrates a higher cultural phenomenon that will be known, before long, as the definitive American aesthetic.  Like Big Macs, or the Jonas Brothers, or network television, American culture has evolved to produce entertainment in the most efficient, malnourishing way possible.   Instead of investing in the quality or our cultural exports, we maximize profit first, short-term entertainment value next, and finally we throw in whatever necessary artistic elements as a last priority.  Is this really what our country, our world even, has come to?  Is human culture destined to be harnessed and whored out to the benefit of capitalism?  Ask enough people walking out of Transformers 2, and they will tell you yes.  But hey, the special effects were pretty good.  And Megan Fox is super hot, and so is the other banging chick who ends up being a robot with a tail coming out of her butt.

Filed under: Movies