196) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Dir: Michael Bay(?) Date Released: June 25th, 2009 Rating: 0.5/5
Judging by the vitriolic onslaught of critical rancor that Michael Bay's latest film incurred, I was initially tempted to give the film a chance. I did this partly out of sheer spite for what I though to be a snobbish response to what could only be at worst a mediocre film and partly out of a misguided morbid solidarity for the filmmaker's earlier works.* That having been said, I now know better.
Bay's film is just as obnoxious, racist, sexist and unfunny as everyone including Roger Ebert have said. Bay and his screenwriters--Kurtzman and Orci, I believe, were brainwashed after writing Star Trek; it's the only logical conclusion--have made a film hellbent on chucking all that PC nonsense about treating women like people and black people like something slightly more human than Amos & Andy 2.0 out the biggest window available (IMAX!!!). They know they can get away with talking about how hot "bitches"**, cars and really big explosions are and so they do. It's hardly an acquired taste but it is one that will obviously make money. I shrug my shoulders.
Still, I cannot help but feel that at some level that Transformers 2 is some kind of revenge, a massive cinematic prank the likes of which we may never begin to comprehend. This fleeting impression struck me as soon as I saw the scene where the little Laboeuf boy was about to be raped by a robo-hottie with an overeager phallo-metallic tongue--all the better to create disturbing and new cavities in our hero's pre-pubescent body, no doubt. Using my Batman-like logic*** I thought: "sick joke....sick joke....TSUKAMOTO?!" And it all made sense: this then is the upcoming second sequel to Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo, the Iron Man, the one wrapped up in rumors and secret code names.
Before you knock this admittedly wild and crazy idea, think about it for a second. Transformers 2 is basically a series of volcanic explosions of the Beef's macho id. It's a perfect caricature of the All-American male's varied persecution complexes and repressed rape fantasies. The film's laundry list of psychological issues include: fear of homo-robotic penetration, fear of robot-on-human metallic intrusion, fear of women--look out, she's a robo-slut--fear of commitment, fear of abandonment, fear of the government--they're out to stop you from saving the world--and oh so much more. If this is true, and I really hope it is, there's no way to excuse Tsukamoto for this kind of cruelty--the film is a spot-on Bay send-up but is also just plain mean-spirited. Tsukamoto, you magnificent bastard, I've read your book!
*I think I like The Rock and Armageddon but I don't remember either well enough to know
**I forget the name of the Autobot that calls a woman this but it's in there somewhere
***Circa the Adam West movie
Additional note: I loved seeing Warren Ellis as the curmudgeonly old Welshman-bot that's "too old for this crep." Good casting decision.