Saturday, February 27, 2010

Transformers vs Rosy Rhee

Sometimes I thank goodness for my precious snobbery, which tonight allowed me to stand up and walk away from the abhorrent, vomitous mess that is the Transformers movie.  Actually, check that.  Maybe it wasn't snobbery, but the value I place on the precious minutes of my life.  About 30 of them was all I could stand to lose on a film that was so unforgivably dull.  Dull, though it could not afford more than 2 seconds to any single cut.  Dull, though 5 minutes could not pass without a massive explosion, shootout, high speed chase or some combination of the three.

I'm not going to bother reviewing this movie with its offensive portrayal of minorities, infantile humor, Burger King product placements and glorification of large-chested women with orange skin.  No, I'd like instead to make an unlikely comparison.

A few months ago Alex and I watched Same Same, but Different, a documentary by our friend, Rosylyn Rhee, about her relationship with her father, a man so hellbent on his daughter going to Harvard and studying law that he essentially disowned her for two years when she refused to step in line by becoming an artist instead. 

Operating on a budget that may have covered two tickets to a Transformers matinee (throw in popcorn and a box of Jujubes), Rosy created something intimate, touching, heartbreaking and humorous.  Adjectives don't do her film justice, but, again, I'm not here to review.  These are precious qualities, and a film so rich in them deserves our attention.  Transformers, which gets all the attenion, possesses none of them in any noticeable quantity.

Granted Rosy wasn't trying to make a popcorn blockbuster out of her story, and Transformers director Michael Bay wasn't trying to make a penetrating documentary out of a line of Hasbro toys. I just find it a shame that legitimate artists struggle to gain a toehold in an industry so out of touch with itself that it believes only teenage boys enjoy going to the movies, and that no teenager could ever care about the artistry behind good acting, a good script and good direction.  Meanwhile, a hack like Bay has been given a blank check.  I'm not saying that he doesn't put a lot of effort and energy into his films, or that he doesn't surround himself with talented people; I'm just saying he sucks, and royally so.

Look, I appreciate the creativity behind visual effects.  I do.  I like a great action film, too.  When I go to a movie, more than anything I want to be entertained.  Transformers is not entertainment, just like a Burger King hamburger isn't really food; it may look good, the people on TV are telling us it's good, it seems like it should be good, but it's really just a big unhealthy piece of shit.

Here's to the $150 million it took to finance Transformers going instead to dozens of Same Same, but Differents.

Official McBone Rating, Transformers: 0.0 McBones

Official McBone Rating, Same Same, but Different: 5.0 McBones 



Kid Shay said...

Yes. YES.

todd paolillo said...

I think Nathaniel missed the larger metaphor between both movies about the transformative power of different cultures and generations integrating into a singular body politic and the devastation this can create; whether it be via collegiate expectations or a 30 foot tall rapping Porsche with the ability to pee “coolant” on people.

McBone said...

Am I not giving Michael Bay enough credit? Maybe I am looking forward to Transformers III, after all!