Mr. Bay’s subject — overwhelming violent conquest — is as blatant and consistent as his cluttered mise-en-scène. His images, particularly during the frequent action sequences, can be difficult to visually track, but they are also consistently disjointed. (And proudly self-referential: the only director he overtly cites is himself, with a shot of the poster for his movie “Bad Boys II.”) The French filmmaker Jacques Rivette once described an auteur as someone who speaks in the first person. Mr. Bay prefers to shout.
While we may have thought the male gaze was wilting or troublesome, Megan Fox proves that (for her and a select few others, at least) the male gaze is just some flimsy and pitiful little ray to rub her flesh up against so as to keep warm her nearly-exposed rump. She is hard to believe, with the soft kitty-cat stripper ways of a Gina Gershon melded with the hard machineness of a Linda Fiorentino.
3. Roger Ebert
If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.
I don’t have much nice to say about Transformers 2, but I’m happy to see my Park Slope neighbor John Turturro get another big paycheck — and he’s very funny given the Drake-and-Josh level of the jokes. There’s a terrific bit with a blonde coed who transforms into a killer-‘bot — but her send-off goes by so fast that the audience doesn’t even have a chance to say, “Yeah! Kill dat bitch!”
John Yoo would not be able to draft a memo excusing the torment this movie inflicts on its audience, yet tens of millions of us will line up to shovel money at it this weekend. God bless America.
Let me say for the record that there is not one ounce of exaggeration in the following statement: I could not follow the first 10 minutes of the movie. True story! Is it because I never watched the cartoon as a child or brushed up on my Transformers mythology before going to see the sequel? Was I distracted by how similar those ten minutes were to that weird long intro of Rock Band or that insidious Army Recruitment ad movie theaters keep playing?
Compared to this sequel, the first “Transformers,” which was released two years ago, ranks right up there with Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.” The new one is impressive for what it is, glittering pieces of computer-generated machinery that gyrate, undulate, somersault and explode. But even for those who enjoy glittering pieces of machinery — and I’m one of them, up to a point — Michael Bay’s 150-minute celebration of attention deficit disorder is like a July 4th fireworks display that doesn’t end until July 8th and makes you swear off Roman candles for life.
“Michael Bay understands that summer movies are about two things: male anxiety, and pure id. That’s why he casts Shia LaBoeuf, that supreme avatar of pure male inadequacy, in the lead role. LaBoeuf projects a pathetic, wall-eyed dorkhood, when he’s not babbling like a tumor removed from Woody Allen’s prostate that somehow achieved sentience.”
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