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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Broken Voicebox

I have finished watching Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Big props to those of you like me who never know what the bloggers are talking about in their posts, because they see it in the theaters, and you wait till it comes out on Netflix. This post is for you.

But anyway, I found it weird that this movie is so bad, but so popular. It's clear that the critics and fans were watching two different films. I knew about all the conflicting opinions going in. But I finally figured out what the appeal of this movie is, and the root of the dissent.

Transformers 2 is wrestling.

Well, it is. Think about it. If you breakdown the movie into events by screen time, what you get is a bunch of robots fighting. A lot of humans shooting guns and dropping bombs. A lot of shit blowing up. Second, the film plays out as the bad guy comes in, the good guy comes in, then they fight, one of them ends up lying on the mat. Usually, the camera focuses on one fight, then the next. The bad guys seem to gain an upperhand, then the good guys come right back. And as each party gets weaker, the stakes get higher. But no one's really in trouble until the script says one goes down.

For example, in Bumbleebee vs. Ravage, we see Bumblebee jump into the fray, as if from the ropes. First, it seems as if Ravage is kicking Bumblebee's ass, then it seems like Bumblebee's winning. Back and forth, back and forth, until Bumbleebee finally tears something out and Ravage is down for the count. Repeat with any number of Autobots vs. Decepticons.

As another example, Devastator vs. everything. First the giant forms in a classy introdution, complete with dramatic cinematography and music. It looks like the Big Show vs. some little guy. Then it looks like one of the JiveBots is about to be eaten, and he's done for. No, wait he's not out. He manages to hang on and tears Devastator's face off. Then his brother-man gets in on the action and they tag team him, running up and down his form, punching and kicking. Then they knock themselves out and for some reason, don't come back. Then it becomes sort of Ladder match where the human and Devastator race for the top of a pyramid. It looks like the human has no chance, but then he pulls out a folding chair from under the mat while the ref isn't looking and rail-gun's his ass.

And of course, you have any number of match modifiers. Weapons, two-on-ones, multiple opponents, leaving the "ring", battle royales, becoming 're-invigorated' after a heroic sacrifice or stunning revelation, face heel turns, musical introductions, an ensemble cast, surprise interference. The whole movie is just a bunch of robots fighting. In fact, if it wasn't for the origin story, Transformers 1 was wrestling too. If you go back and watch the movie, and think about a WWE Wrestling match, you'll probably see what I mean.

The plot, such as it is, is a travesty. No one takes a single breath, it's snap-snap-snap, never stop moving, never reflect on what's happening. The pace is always rising action. There is never a plateau, and there needs to be plateaus. It's like torture. You can't keep squeezing the rack at a constant pace, or the victim will get used to it. You have to continually release and increase the pressure so the nerves don't become numb. Or in this case, blindsided. I mean, seriously. You have enough advanced technology to make giant transforming robots, and you can't fix a fucking voice box? Just use a text2speech program. Us primitive Earth-people have plenty of them.

And I want your face.
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