WHAT was THAT?
Going into Transformers 2 this weekend, I had every expectation that it was going to be loud, stupid, and very very long. But for the first 30 minutes or so, I was on board. Sure, it was loud and stupid from the very beginning, but we knew that going in. So there was some pleasure to be taken in just resigning oneself to the experience. “This is so dumb that it’s almost reverse-dumb,” I thought during those first 30 minutes.
The problem is that the movie didn’t end after those first 30 minutes. It went on for another 900 hours. And that’s where it fell apart.
First of all, huh? Admittedly, I’m not very smart, but I feel like I’m usually capable of following the plot of movies made for a 10-year-old audience, which is what a movie based on Hasbro toys is, right? This is for children? Well maybe they can explain to me what that movie was even the fuck about. The Auto-bots are now working for the United States government* to help defend humankind from the Decepticons, who are hiding in China? And all of the knowledge of the robot races is now in Shia LaBeouf’s mind, because he touched a piece of a thing, and his mind includes a map to the key to a machine to destroy the sun? Because one time the robots tried to destroy the sun but then they got in a fight because even though all of them helped build the machine to destroy the sun, a few of them realized that maybe destroying the sun was TOO MEAN. So they decided to hide behind a painting. Also, Shia LaBeouf’s dad knows that he is a man now? Also, the key is that Dumbo doesn’t need his magic feather? The machine is in a pyramid? The United States has a secret rail gun that is Top Secret but was built to shoot robots off of pyramids? I don’t know! I’m doing my best here but they keep changing the rules!
Like, now it turns out that being an Auto-bot or being a Decepticon is a choice? And I thought that they destroyed the All-Spark in the last movie, but it turns out you can’t destroy the All-Spark. That is convenient. Why am I still saying All-Spark? I am an adult! Speaking of adults and having to write the word All-Spark as if that’s a thing, how about the Matrix of Leadership. WHAT? That was probably the part of the movie that made me the most angry. Do not expect me to sit here and believe that there is a thing called the Matrix of Leadership that will turn on a machine to destroy the sun. Do not do that. Because I refuse! Matrix of Leadership. FUCK YOU. I PAY TAXES. That made me even madder than the centuries old Auto-bot who somehow managed to disguise himself as an ANCIENT B2 BOMBER. What? Careful, he farts parachutes.
OH, OH, OH, AND LET’S ALSO TALK ABOUT ISABEL LUCAS.
Very pretty! She might actually be even hotter than Megan Fox, although judging by the breathless tones in which the teenage nerd siting next to me said “Incredible!” when Megan Fox first appeared on screen, I could be wrong. But more importantly, since when have the Transformers possessed TERMINATOR TECHNOLOGY? They’re just Terminators now? And how come the Isabel Lucas Terminator Transformer spent, like, two days seducing Shia LaBeouf? She even pretended to get mad at him after the frat party. Why? Why waste all that time with seduction when you could be turning into a robot and straight killing him no problem? And at the very least, why bother taking off your Terminator pants?
Not that she was even the most problematic robot. No, the most problematic robots were the two black robots who couldn’t read, one of whom had a gold tooth. A lot has already been said about these guys. Some people have suggested that this might be racist. Really? MIGHT BE? “But how could it be racist if the black actors who did the voices for the robots weren’t bothered by it?” I don’t know, ask their new swimming pool.
I did like how Michael Bay worked Shia LaBeouf’s hand injury into the script. “You hurt your hand in the magical teleportation we just turned into a thing that robots can do.” Roll on the sand and say ouch. Clever girl.
And yet people were enjoying this movie! During some of the climactic battle scenes they were cheering. CHEERING! The little boy to my left who was there with his mom was going nuts when Optimus Prime would beat one of the other robots–as if I’m supposed to keep track of who these robots are? Please–and that was totally fine. He was 10. But most of the people joining in his enthusiasm were adults. The audience deflated when Optimus Prime died because they were apparently really invested emotionally in the well being of a CGI robot made out of a truck who talked like an automated customer service operator, but they were practically on their feet when he came back to life, as if there was ever any tension in that dull dramatic
arc straight line. Shia LaBeouf was like “it’s going to work,” and Megan Fox was like, “but what if it doesn’t work” and Shia LaBeouf was like “it’s going to work.” And guess what, it worked. People went crazy when Optimus Prime pulled the spines out of other robots, and punched through their chests, crushing their robo-hearts in his robo-fists. Sure. Except if we are really to believe that these are all sentient beings, then Optimus Prime is basically a sociopath.
But the absolute worst was when, after what honestly felt like a nine-hour-long climax in Egypt, when the good guys finally beat the bad guys and TURN OFF THE MACHINE THAT WAS GOING TO DESTROY THE SUN (phew!) and this very long movie’s “important” conflict is finally resolved, two of the bad robots look at their dead boss robot and say “this isn’t over.” OH REALLY? It’s not that I wasn’t fully expecting a third Transformers movie, but you could have waited 30 seconds before completely negating everything that I just watched as an inconsequential blip in the narrative. “Let’s call a mulligan on this one, robots.”
I wish I was a Transformer so that I could turn into a gun and put myself in my own mouth. (That is what she said!)
*Transformers 2 would have made more sense if it came out the same year as Transformers 1 because the idea of George W. Bush running a secret military program of Transformers makes sense. Now, though, the idea of Barack Obama having high-level Defense Department meetings about Optimus Prime just makes me mad.