Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Very TRANSFORMING American Artwork

The Transformers movie came out two years ago, and its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will become a part of our memories and lives on June 24.

I saw the Transformers movie (un film de Michel Be) twice, both times on tiny screens, and both times I felt a delight inside.


1. On a small screen, you cannot tell what's going on for about half the movie.
It's like a beautiful loud moving painting; crayola-colored computer graphics made to look like space metalplastic whip around and fight each other and scramble about the Earth and her structures.

2. TRANSFORMERS appears to have been written by actual Transformers.


a. The dialogue.

b. As near as I can tell, the Macguffin that sets the whole plot in motion is a cube. The Autobots and Decepticons are fighting over a cube. The cube is power, it's raw power and if you put in it a transformer he dies.

Yes, a cube. There it is. Any wasteful specificity or detail (like if the cube were a secret code that could activate the Universe's Most Powerful Transformer, and the UMPT would then guarantee either eternal universal rule to the Decepticons or eternal egalitarian paxtimes via the paternal watch of the Autobots) would be the purview of weaker-willed, "realistic" Hollywood product. TRANSFORMERS DO NOT NEED YOUR BULLSHIT EMOTION-PRODUCING NATURALISTIC DETAILFLAGS, YOU PATHETIC FLESHLINGS.

(sidenote: I just spent 30 minutes on wikitransformia, it's called the All Spark)

That the new Transformers film has a title as proudly unoriginal as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen gives me hope that the sequel was also penned by Transformers. Transformer screenwriters probably transform into Macbooks. And then fold out into tiny white transformers who speed-wheel over to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and plug themselves into the espresso machine.

Characterization of Transformers
For a culture with daddy issues, there's Peter Cullen's Optimus Prime. Me personally I have a father, but I just really get the sense that Optidad Pops is here to help lost Americans deal with the pain of generational change. Has there ever been a voice so dominating yet gentle/kind as that of Optimus Prime? And Peter Cullen, FYI, is the O.O.P.-Original Optimus Prime.

Jazz. Jesus Christ. I get that Transformers, cause it's a product of 1980s white people, can't have a black transformer without being tokeny, but the execution here is just ridiculous, and yet therefore hilarious. IT IS POSSEEBLE that the Transformer DiabloCodies who wrote the '07 movie see the racial divides of our young species as worthy of parody. Was the name RapstarBasketball too many syllables? Check out the awkwardly unsmooth CGI moves of Jazz as he acts like Mr. Coolguy when the Autobots meet Samuel Witwicky (random human name generator on the fritz, is it, Scriptotrons?). And of course, in realistic 80s token character style, Jazz is the only major Autobot to kick the bucket. In the final battle:

You wanna piece a me?! You WANNA PIEC-

(rips Jazz in fucking half)

Megatron, voiced not by Frank Welker, the original Megatron from the 80s series, but by Hugo weaving. I kinda think Hugo Weaving did an amazing job as Optimus Prime's evil Decepticon brother, Lord High Protector Megatron.

You can find a clip of the Jazz murder scene on youtube (it's been recut for horrible emphasis). Has there ever been a voice so dominating yet rageful as that of Megatron? In the final battle scene, which I found confusing and awesome, Megatron shouts STARSCREAM!! at Starscream, and that angry bassy yell has been stuck in my head for months.


Frank Welker will be Megatron in the TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN this summer, by the way. My ears are peeled.


So that's basically Transformers and why it was fun to watch. I'm still not sure if I want to see the sequel in theatres. I DO want to check it out, but if I can tell what's happening, what's the point? I like my Transformers Pollock, not Vermeer. So I may wait until I can somehow watch it on my laptop or TV, but I don't want to wait too long. They're getting restless:

Except Jazz there up front. He's dead.

PS this time more Starscream (the jet) please. Look at Starscream. Look at that. He makes Optimus Prime look like a a shetland pony.


Degan said...

"I like my Transformers Pollock, not Vermeer" HA! After watching that youtube clip, i think i agree... i had no clue what i was looking at! Just an angry amorphous mass of space metal yelling at itself! Pretty awesome.

Devin said...

Potential Transformers viewers should also be aware that the ex-MST3K guys over at RiffTrax do a truly amazing number on this film:

Johnny said...

I didn't see the non-animated version, nor plan to. That said, I can't argue with your logic and that was an air-tight argument.

*rummages through his Netflix queue*

Anonymous said...

You are amazingly pretentious and willilngly uninformed.

"I like my Transformers Pollock, not Vermeer"

Shut the hell up.

"(sidenote: I just spent 30 minutes on wikitransformia, it's called the All Spark)"

Yeah, they only say it about 30 times in the movie. Way to match up your intelligence to your bloated sense of importance.

Get off the internet.

Johnny said...

Whoa, take easy there, dude/dudette. I can see how maybe Transformers might be super important to you, but no one's going to banish anyone from the internet because of it -- it's not that important when it comes to the overwhelming majority of the Earth population. I mean, Sarah could have a laptop or an iPhone or some other thingamajig, and that would make excluding her from the internet impossible. That is, unless you're a super genius or mastermind or something. Now that would actually be cool, but just by playing the percentages, I'd have to say that I don't think you are.