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The Future Is Michael Bay – Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Thursday, November 5, 2009
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I have seen the future. And the future is Michael Bay.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a beautiful, no-holds barred impressionistic masterpiece. If Monet and Picasso had had a love-child, and he/or she were alive today, had been given a camera and told to make a motion picture about a war between giant robots, this is the film they would make. Mr. Bay abandons plot, convincing characters, or any of those contrivances that we, puny mortals, consider to be important and instead produces a film that staggers the imagination, defies belief, and leaves the viewer completely and totally charmed by its boisterousness and good will.

You see, Mr. Bay enjoys the idea of the giant-robot-action-movie far more than he does an actual movie. He teases us, magician-like, by only revealing so much of his glorious metallic creatures, before ripping us away and taking us in a completely new direction. We see them in brief, fleeting shots, often through smoke or in silhouette – yet over the course of the film, Bay allows our minds to build up a picture of what his robots look like – his is a cubist vision, abstract and incomplete on purpose; we never get the tangible pleasure of watching these creatures as a whole, but we understand intellectually what they are.

In Maestro Bay’s universe, girls can lounge luxuriously on motorcycles, characters need not be anything more than mere pantomime creations, and robots can transform into horny coeds (but, it seems, no other type of human that might actually help them). Geography is abandoned because it only hinders the plot, and things such as time and space are frivolous concepts because they cause harm to the idea.

Herr Bay lures us into a dream state with his constant barrage of images. Joseph Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness that

“…no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of dreams…no, it is impossible…We live, as we dream—alone.”

Well, Mr. Conrad, you have been proved wrong in this case. Bay-san has taken the crazed, maddeningly elusive images of his dreams and turned them into a dream for all human-kind to share. Watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is like watching the hallucination of a genius. Things explode, more things explode, planes take off from aircraft carriers (in a cheeky homage to other Michael Bay movies), military men run around with guns, robots disguised as construction equipment transform Voltron-like into a great object-sucking monstrosity (complete with a set of clanging, metallic balls) – but in the midst of the madness, death, and destruction, Sir Michael isn’t concerned in the least about giving us explanations or any sort of context. As the credits roll, we walk away from this film perhaps not understanding what it was about, but knowing subconsciously what happened. You see, plot, character arcs, suspense, humour – none of these things are important to Lord Bay. Following in the footsteps of the great Bunuel, or even the modern master of the surreal and absurd, David Lynch, Bay deconstructs the action movie to such a degree that it will be hard, if not impossible for any action-movie director to produce a simple, well-told story ever again without it seeming emotionally cheap or crowd-pleasing.

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Just as the great American painter Whistler was ridiculed by his critics and accused of flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face, so too has Michael Bay’s vision of robots-in-disguise been derided and slagged – even by the fans of the first Transfomers opus – the very same fans that clamored, nay, begged for a sequel.

But so what if most people think that the film is a big pile of zebra excrement? Did people not say the same thing about Citizen Kane, or La Dolce Vita, or Pulp Fiction? Even the classic Moontrap was a critical failure when it was first released, yet can anyone now deny its groundbreaking and masterpiece status?

Truly it will take some time, perhaps years or even (I shudder to think) decades for Dr. Bay’s audience to catch up with him and discover the intellect, the brilliance – the unsurpassed genius of his vision. And when that day comes, I shall be safe in the knowledge that I was right, and the rest of you – the Michael Bay-haters, the Michael Bay-destroyers, the Michael Bay-pretenders – were wrong.
llewopemearg

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday, November 9, 2009 11:51 am

    Graeme — please, I beg of you one more time: don’t cut and paste from Word or Pages. The HTML it creates is almost as horrifying as that Moontrap trailer.

  2. Monday, November 9, 2009 11:17 pm

    Also, if you pause one of his movies in hi-def, the patterns along the edges of his explosions are encoded theses on the very nature of man (but not woman, ’cause he sums up their very nature elsewhere on-screen).

  3. Tuesday, November 10, 2009 12:06 pm

    I agree with you, Graeme, that the movie was a mess, but somehow I still liked it better than the first one.

    Although — what was your take on the horribly racist-caricature-Bots?

  4. Tuesday, November 10, 2009 10:23 pm

    I didn’t like the first one, but the second one, as far as I can recall, was much worse. Except for ROBOT HEAVEN — that was amazing.

  5. Thursday, November 12, 2009 10:59 am

    I was just so amazed at the awesomness of everything that I didn’t even really notice the racist-caricature-Bots. You’re talking about Optimus Prime, right?

  6. Friday, November 13, 2009 3:04 pm

    I just thought they were just cute and lovable, inner-city black folk. See? Look at them, they’re adorable, talking like they all oppressed and shit.

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