They never cease to amaze, do they? No matter the amount of money spent or the specialization of the 3D F/X technology, Michael Bay’s massive Transformers films always find a way to shock and stun… and not with the movie material you expect. Sure, the splashy battles between giant alien robots are always impressive, as are the various standard action scenes which lead up to the metal melee, but it’s the little things, the pointless asides and scripted set-ups, which constantly challenge our concept of what a Summer blockbuster should deliver. In the past, Bay’s behemoth boy’s adventure tale has introduced us to mechanical testicles, softcore grease monkeys, inappropriate racial profiling, and a sense of humor so adolescent it makes Mad Libs seem sophisticated.
While not quite as blatant as its predecessors, the latest installment (entitled Dark of the Moon) does offer a few more halting head scratchers. Let’s face it, any movie which trots out Buzz Aldrin and then tries to tie his ’60s walk on the lunar surface with a CG character played by Leonard Nimoy is functioning on its own insular cloud of clueless geek. Even among all the smoke, explosions, mirrors, and implied car commercials, we discover more surreal lessons that only Bay and his buddies can teach us. Listed below are the 10 craziest, most cracked concepts ever forwarded as “normal” by a proposed mainstream entertainment. While not always obvious, what is clear is that, as part of a typical genre dynamic, the Transformers’ films view the cinematic universe in a skewed, screwed way, beginning with the following financial reality:
As he says numerous times in the film, a half-pint former hero can’t catch a career break. Instead of setting him up in some sweet government gig or letting him work with the machines that first befriended him (and he them) sorry little Sam Witwicky is stuck pounding the pavement and pulling in zero professional dollars. So what f he saved planet Earth from All Spark/Matrix inspired mania and helped revive the important Optimus Prime when it looked like the Fallen would hump the pyramids into the apocalypse. Doesn’t matter in today’s cutthroat climate.
On the other hand, if you look like a stick thin Barbie doll reject with a mannequin’s rack and a facial expression that resembles a brain dead albino raccoon, it’s all upward mobility and swanky DC digs. The comely (?) Carly Spencer may be less of a tomboy blow-up doll as the pariah she replaced, but that doesn’t mean that her string of high profile jobs were well earned or even deserved. In fact, for every slight effort her boy toy Sam makes to forward his financial well being, his woman walks suggestively and winds up with a corner office.
And who would give a lingerie model with the IQ of a penguin and the personal presence of sheetrock such a high profile professional calling card? Why, a glorified accountant who has somehow turned his family business into a personal plaything, that’s who. Patrick Depmsey’s Dylan Gould may end up being an important part of the whole Decepticon take over, but initially, he comes across as a rejected host option for the unnecessary US version of Top Gear. His dream? To showcase his own egomaniacal need for speed via a building sized exhibition of his questionable CEO acumen while selling out the planet.
In Revenge of the Fallen, audiences had to suffer through a pair of automotive hate crimes known as Mudflap and Skids (because Amos and Andy and Leroy and Skillet were already taken…). With their jive talk and haphazard hip hop attitude, it was like watching a motorized minstrel show. Wisely, Michael Bay dropped these fuel injected abominations and substituted something slightly less offensive (and less likely to complain) – a couple of gearbox goombahs named Brains and Wheelie. With their wise guy attitude and patter, they’re one six pack step away from their own ‘situational’ MTV side project.
Much has been made recently of producer Steven Spielberg’s demand that former hottie Megan Fox be fired for a comment she made in comparing director Bay to a certain fiendish Fuhrer. Clearly, name checking the king Nazi himself doesn’t get you invited back to the Summer popcorn party. So what, exactly, did former villain Megatron tweet about the filmmakers and the Third Reich? At one time, this evil robot was the main threat to everything the Autobots stood for. Now, he’s a broken down (and parasite ridden) afterthought, slinking around the fringes of the film, looking for a purpose.
Everyone above Sam, Carly, Bumblebee and his robot buddies are either dolts, driven female caricatures, or unsure of which side of the pro-humanity position they should take. From generals and majors who make stupid mistake after stupid mistake to dim desk jockeys that can’t seem to countermand a single ridiculous regulation, it’s as if a tea bagger sat down and envisioned this version of the FBI, CIA, NSA, NASA, FEMA, and the Department of Central Casting. All that’s missing is a moustache twirling President of unconfirmed birth origins to make the portrait complete.
As they do throughout the Transformers films, Sam Witwicky’s parents show up to add some inappropriate humor (?) to the already adolescent film dialogue. Before, it was all about responsibility, sex, and pot. But this time around, the newly retired (and living large in a supersized RV) couple come by to see their son, apparently so that mom can wax poetic about his penis. As Sam turns twenty shades of some embarrassed color, she continues to opine about his package. Nothing confirms your current status as a castrated male than being jobless while having your mother mention your personal undercarriage with casual aplomb.
No amount of orange spray tan, teeth whitening, or lube like hair gel can keep Bruce Brazos, powerful tycoon and closet color fetishist from sticking his nose into this whole End of the World business. After all, when your mail clerk (Sam) ends up on the wrong end of an employee ‘suicide’ (Ken Jeong, in a cameo), what better way to play a part in the ongoing struggle between good and bad robots. And what part does Brazos want to play? Why, Bumblebee’s sparring partner, that’s what. No specialized advisor. No knowledge international man of management. Just a punching bag for a anthropomorphized car.
During the final invasion, US military troops need to find a way into a heavily guarded downtown Chicago. While the conversation constantly infers that no plane can penetrate the defenses, we still see several of our more recognizable heroes taking up their Rocket J. Squirrel flying suits and heading for the nearest major Windy City landmark. After freefalling from deliver vehicle to the top of some recognizable tower, they take some defensive tactics and then decide to do some more intercity skydiving. Apparently, even with such short air to ground distances, you can fly like Superman among the many bombed out architectural wonders the Loop has to offer.
SPOILERS: So as Spock Prime decides to enslave Earth in order to rebuild Cybertron (which he intends to transport here because… well, moving an entire planet makes more sense than teleporting human workers and resources back home?!?!?), Megatron sits back, waiting to take his proper place… in the backseat??? Hoping to stop the oncoming carnage, Sam’s airheaded honey confronts the broken down baddie and convinces him to step in — by playing to his high tech vanity. Even though he is a highly specialized automaton capable of mimicking another machine, you can still find a community college level of persuasion to get his busted carcass up and fighting.