Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Transformers dues

Things! Okay then so I left all my Marx at home because I am a god damned genius. So no Marx comic book goodness today for me. Damn. That’s cool though I’ll do it tomarrow on my day off and really get into it correctly and such. The 45 minut lunch break just isn’t enough to get anything done and blah blah blah. So Time to do something else.
Transformers 2. No I haven’t seen it but it is something that has been making me think a lot lately. Michael Bay has actually had a temper tantrum over some of the negative reviews regarding the movie and claimed he was going to break away from action movies. Riiiight. He took it back a few hours latter and basicly called the internet stupid. Good for him. But I listen to people. I do. And while people like me cringe at the thought of transformers, more mainstream people seem to love it. It has been hanging out at the top of the movie charts for awhile now, it’s raked in all sorts of money, and there are pleanty of people who saw it and loved it. Calling these people stupid would be a gross injustice, because these are the bread and butter of america and they all liked Transformers 2.
Here is the kicker though. They know it isn’t the greatest movie of all time, and they know that the plot is essentially non excistent, and they knew that going in. These are people who did not want some big complicated exposition before their coveted action. No instead they wanted their action right then right now and they got it in a specatcular way. So I can criticise it for being a bad movie but really why would I? It didn’t disguise itself as an art film, or as a thought provoking piece of cinema. It is a summer blockbuster action extravaganza. To compare it to Syncadoche NY, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, or Fitzgeraldo is a mistake of the higest order. The movie set out to do one thing and one thing only, wow people with over the top action. It did so with scalple like precision and I see no reason why I should shit all over it for being a terrible movie, when it isn’t. I just decided to distill down part of the essence that makes a movie up ie the spectacle, and refine it to the point where it is made of sheer awesome magic power.
That list I did earlier: Synchadoche NY, Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, and Fitzgeraldo were all mentioned for a special reason. These movies much like Transformers 2 are very spectale based pieces of entertainment. All three of them rely heavily on visual wonderment…oh the Fall fits in there too. Replace the Piano Tuner of Earthquakes with The Fall that works much much better. In these three movies the plot is a relatively thin membrane which excists more or less to drive the visual spectacle forward. It can be argued (Correctly at that) that these movies tell the story through their unique visual style. This is true much of the richness of these movies relys on distinct visual cues provided by the movie. However, at the end of the day Fitzgeraldo isn’t remember for its subtle underming of the traditional post colonial modle. No it is remembered because a two ton steam ship gets carried over a mountain. Synchadoche isn’t famouse for the incredibly crushing story of an utterly failed artist who thought it best to piss away his brilliance. No it is remembered for the scale model of New York that they built in a warehouse. Seriously that movie is against everything I stand for and it has given me nightmares. Lastly the Fall, the plot to that movie is very simply man convinces little girl to steal him morphine pills so that he can off himself. He tells her a story which is represented in the most utterly lavish visual spectacle you are going to see this side of Cremaster, but broken record. The plot is there to excuse the visual, not the visual aiding the plot. This is fine. Not knocking these movies down a peg. In fact I believe this is what movies are supposed to be. They use a visual medium so why not take full advantage of the resources that the medium offers yeah? There is nothing inherently wrong with visual spectacle, it is just that Transformers is about aesthetic zed destruction whereas the three movies I named all fall under different forms of aethtics. To pan one while lauding the other is ever so slightly hypocritical. Sure sure I think movies should do more than Transformers 2 did, but to write the movie off as compleate and utter crap is giving it the short end of the stick.
Still not convinced? Then ask yourself what is cremaster to you.

No comments: