An Ode to George W.

bumblebee-1If when you were a child--either with Mr. Wizard or alone--you had passed a magnet over a pile of iron filings, you would have unknowingly created the action scenes of Michael Bay’s latest blockbuster, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Yes, for what seems like the first half hour of this exploration of the psychotic lives of former Hasbro toys, the screen is filled with the pounding of metal upon metal accompanied by very loud kabooms on the soundtrack.

Now children -- especially young lads, tomboys, and rednecks -- are supposedly fascinated by trucks and a cacophony of booms, bangs, and bleeps. No doubt aware of this factoid and also having observed that few Americans ever outgrow this stage of development, Mr. Bays has created the ultimate celluloid babysitter, which is currently breaking almost every box office record in Hollywood history.

What does it say about our culture that we as a country are embracing a film where it is often visually impossible to tell the heroes from the villains? Where the human actors are often less expressive than their metallic counterparts, and where the plot never even reaches the level of inanity?

Storyline: A mean creature named the Fallen wants to destroy the Sun because he doesn’t like Earthlings. To accomplish said feat, he has to get into the brain of Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf). Sam doesn’t like that idea, so with the help of hugely bosomed girlfriend (Megan Fox), a too-cute computer nerd (Ramon Rodriguez), an overacting John Turturro (who will do anything for cash nowadays), and the U.S. military, the freshman restores to life a nice Transformer named Optimus who will save the day.

Now, there is nothing that wrong with on-screen idiocy and lousy actors making a living (for example, Julie White as Sam’s mother). But Bay and his witless screenwriters (Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman) have used the film to attack Obama and diplomacy, too. Yes, Obama is mentioned by name, and his buffoon of a representative (a horrid John Benjamin Hickey) actually states, when confronted with the death of the world, “What we need is to come up with a suitable diplomatic solution.”

His reward for a peaceful sensibility: he is thrown off a plane.

In Bays’ vision of life, let’s have more Iraqs. Never waste time chattering about alternatives to full-scale slaughter. Let’s turn our kids into shoot-now/ask-later automatons. And where are George W. and Dick Cheney when you need them?

To get a handle on all of this, I read Gore Vidal’s Screening History, a book-length essay on cinema’s effects on our daily lives and our understanding of our past and present.

I did get some insights, but instead of sharing them with you, I rather quote one of America’s greatest minds quoting his own mom, Nina Gore Auchincloss Olds:
“When my mother was asked why, after three famous marriages, she did not try for a fourth, she observed, ‘My first husband had three balls. My second, two. My third, one. Even I know enough not to press my luck.’”

Which brings us back to Mr. Bays and his moneymaking epic: a ball-less director and his dick-less enterprise. - Brandon Judell


Mr. Judell is currently starring in Rosa von Praunheim's New York Memories, which is still in production. In the fall, he'll be teaching "The Arts in New York City" at City College. He has written on film for The Village Voice, indieWire, Detour, The Advocate, and dozens of other publications.

From one retard to another

This movie knocked my socks off.
So this reviewer didn't like the movie, fine. I don't really see that as a valid reason to insult anyone else that did enjoy it. Doesn't anyone see something wrong with calling a whole group of people retards, just for liking a movie? Maybe a little offensive?
So a movie based on a saturday morning cartoon made as much sense as a saturday morning cartoon. Surprise surprise. Get over yourself.

Almost a good review...

You hooked me when you mentioned a magnet and iron filings, that was a good one I must say, but then you lost me. But I am glad you think it still sucks.

A BAD Popcorn film....

The problem with the morons that defend this piece of garbage is that they are so ignorant of the conventions of film, that they don't realize that it is wholly possible to make a --GOOD-- " DUMB-MINDLESS-FUN-ROBOT MOVIE".

Bay DIDN'T. Transformers 2 didn't suck because it was a "popcorn" film. It sucked because it SUCKED. Bay is overrated even as an action director. We don't need to go back to the 20's; rent the first Matrix, Terminator 2 and Aliens to see what a good action scene looks like - notice how in those films I can actually tell what-the-hell-is-going-on as I watch them duke it out? And oh yeah- I actually CARE if the humans die or not?

And as for the lame circular logic of it's popularity validating it's existence, remember that the Backstreet Boys sold TOOOONS of albums....

I was gonna write something

I was gonna write something but you said it for me. The reviewer wasn't criticizing the film's genre, he was criticizing the FILM because it is atrociously and obnoxiously bad. Period.

This is Going Too Far

Do we have to compare the Backstreet Boys to the Transformers? Those robots can't even carry a tune?

Drooling retards vs. hypersensitive pricks?

Retards are the people that would go to any Michael Bay film, especially this one, and expect anything cerebral or anything for that matter except for action and a few laughs.

Plot holes: check. Poor dialog: check. Bad acting: check.
Action: check. Laughs: check.

I didn't hear Obama mentioned by name, did I miss it or did this reviewer just make that up? The president's representative was a caricature. I burst out laughing at him a couple of times.

Obama's name is indeed mentioned.

Only once and in a memorable manner.

I'd have a hard time

I'd have a hard time agreeing more.

I walked out of the theater, turned to one of my friends and said "Michael Bay just made a movie for adolescents and drooling retards." to which he responded "Yeah, I bet it's the best selling movie of the year."

... In the parking lot I witnessed a group of kids with their pants around their ankles and hats up-side down and backwards singing its praises. Idiocrity, here we come.

Of course...this guy would

Of course...this guy would have us watch CNN all day. Good movie all around for entertainment value. If people wanted Higher Speech reviews from a guy sitting in his basement watching movies from the 20's.... we would ask this guy.

Review a movie for what it is...not what you think it should be.



Really everyone keeps saying

Really everyone keeps saying this movie is stupid...well yeah, it's a friggin movie! You would have to be a complete and total idiot to think that you would be "enlightened" by a movie about giant fighting robots. This critic takes himself and the movie too seriously.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.