The Boston Tea Party. (What - no Massachusetts-sized scone?)
It was the Fourth of July, which I recently learned is some kind of holiday? I dunno. Something about a “united” something-or-other; I guess it’s about, like, this one country where they killed a bunch of British people by making tea in the actual sea (I’ve tried this myself and let me tell you, there is no amount of cream or honey that will overcome the fishy flavor) and gave out blankets to native tribes… or am I confusing that with the day we celebrate our ancestors surviving a hard winter by eating Stove Top stuffing and hiding eggs under kids’ pillows for money?
Whatever. In any case, my boyfriend Corey, our friend Lisa, and good ol’ Logan of Amoeba Music fame, decided to mark the occasion by seeing “Transformers” at the Cinerama Dome (right across the street from Amoeba).
For those of you lucky enough to not live in Los Angeles, you are so unlucky that you don’t get to watch movies at this theatre. I am totally spoiled, and happily pay the outrageous fee for the experience. Reserved seating, witty/snide employees, no commercials before the previews, and none of those (insert whatever cuss word you think has the biggest punch here) SLIDES that propose stupid questions like:
“Which action film did Bruce Willis star in as a New York cop named John McClane?”
a.) Agnes of God
b.) The Little Mermaid
c.) The Little Mermaid, Part 2
d.) Die Hard
Really – if someone is dumb enough to find this trivia challenging, they probably can’t read to begin with, so they’re wasting everyone’s time!
I mean, (and I’m digressing into one of those ‘when I was a kid’ moments right now – best to just skip ahead) I remember entering a darkened movie theatre and just… reveling in the hush; the stillness of it. It was like entering a church. And then there was the excitement of hearing that first “crackle” that let you know your film was about to begin. That was terrific!
Nowadays you’re constantly faced with commercials and fake radio stations that play whatever Top 40 crap the major corporations are trying to convince you is worth the insulting price they’re charging for their tired product.
“Clap your hands if you prefer Diet Coke to regular Coke!”
I already spent half my paycheck on a medium popcorn! Leave me alone!!!
(Author takes a moment to catch breath and remember what the point of this blog was… …is.)
Oh yeah… “Transformers”.
I had a real good time. I thought it was entertaining. I also thought it was… a minstrel show. That is, every person of color was outrageous and comical and met the “entertaining” stereotypes of today, whereas every person in the film that saved the day or fell in love was not only beautiful, but beautiful and white.
"G-G-G-Golly! That choo-choo just transformed into a r-r-r-robot!"
(One of many scenes from "Transformers")
But I didn’t turn to this film for cultural enlightenment, so I’m not particularly outraged. Movies like these are, after all, less about the political agenda of the studios and more a reflection of target markets – so we only have ourselves to blame for what we see.
The final half hour is bewildering, and I think most people will leave the theatres feeling as though the Decepticons weren’t the only things to be obliterated – the flimsy plot was, too. Again, not that I expected Dostoyevsky (from what I hear, he was a GoBots man) but the moviemakers perhaps gambled that we, the Audience, would be so hypnotized by the action that we wouldn’t notice gaping plot-holes. Well, we all noticed, but in the end, didn’t care.
This climax, a super-violent war between cars and aircrafts in which old landmarks are demolished and crowds of people rush around in terror and confusion, takes place in downtown LA, so admittedly, it took a while before I realized it was supposed to be significant, rather than just a panorama of a normal day in the Garment District. Those of you who don't live here won't have this problem and should be sufficiently thrilled.
The film smartly turned to some deft dialogue, mostly featured in the first third of the film, centered on the lead actor’s family. It was like they hired Woody Allen as a script consultant for that segment. But don’t worry, mallrats, the overwhelming bulk of dialogue was your standard fare of Hollywood clichés and shallow, moral posturing.
"I know we're on the edge of complete annihilation but could I, like, see your boob?"
Corey, who went in with high expectations, left furious; I, who hoped only to feel him up at some point during the film, left surprisingly satisfied by the spectacle.
As far as action goes, this film doesn’t come close to matching the original, animated “Transformers, the Movie”, which is very simply one of the most hyper, battle-heavy films ever made. The fact that my generation survived it while sucking on Pop Rocks and discovering Jolt Cola is testament to… uh…
…Something, I suppose.
The Original. (Check out Optimus Prime's package! Whoa!)
I remember, when the first film came out, the schoolyard was buzzing with rumors that it contained the word “Shit!” Never had my class been so excited about grammar.
If you’re gonna see the new “Transformers”, see it on the biggest screen you can find, with the most friends you can gather, and with the lowest expectations you can muster. You’re bound to at least chuckle while you roll your eyes.
And if you’re like Lisa, Logan and I, you will drive home slightly paranoid that the car you’re driving may, at any moment, reconfigure itself into a giant, sarcastic robot.