The Genius of Michael Bay

Much crit­i­cism has been lev­eled against Trans­form­ers: Revenge of the Fall­en for a vari­ety of rea­sons, many of them well deserved.

One such crit­i­cism regards the char­ac­ter of Jolt and per­haps oth­ers as well. Put sim­ply, the char­ac­ter dis­ap­pears and reap­pears through­out the movie, with no expla­na­tion giv­en at all. While the char­ac­ter plays a, I guess, piv­otal role dur­ing the film’s cli­max, up to that point, he was lit­tle more than an unnamed, silent back­ground char­ac­ter that was incon­sis­tent­ly used through­out the movie. 

Jolt, in Chevrolet Volt form
Jolt, mak­ing a rare appearance

Anoth­er such crit­i­cism involves the group of Decep­ti­cons which dive to the depths of the Lau­rent­ian Abyss in order to res­ur­rect Mega­tron. I’m actu­al­ly unsure which five Decep­ti­cons dove; they were (most­ly?) con­struc­tion-themed bots, but there were so many con­struc­tion themed Decep­ti­cons in the movie that I gave up try­ing to keep track. Keep it sim­ple, stupid!

Where was I? Oh, yeah, so five of them dive down. We know there was five because not only could we count five, but the num­ber was report­ed by a sub­ma­rine crew who picked the bots up on, pre­sum­ably, sonar. There’s a bit of spoil­er here, so if you care, well, stop read­ing. One of the Decep­ti­cons releas­es a small­er bot, the Doc­tor, who exam­ines Mega­tron. The tiny doc says that he needs parts, and to get them, he orders the larg­er Decep­ti­cons in the group to kill the small­est of the five, which they do. For those fol­low­ing along, that leaves four bots. When Mega­tron is res­ur­rect­ed, they all return to the sur­face. Mega­tron’s addi­tion makes five again.

Yet sonar report­ed six bots came up. Now, I sup­pose it could be argued that the Doc­tor came up sep­a­rate­ly, but why? His diminu­tive stature and spi­der-like loco­mo­tion does­n’t lead me to believe he could make a rapid ascent from the depths of the ocean. More like­ly, he returned to the larg­er robot from whence he came.

And I’m left believ­ing that the sonar oper­a­tor on board that sub can­not count. Or that the sonar mal­func­tioned. Or that the screen­writ­ers were idiots.

But is that nec­es­sar­i­ly the case? I remem­ber watch­ing some “Gen­er­a­tion 1” car­toons last year online, and one of the things that stood out to me was just how — I hope no one lynch­es me for this — crap­py some of the ani­ma­tion was. The num­ber of robots present was incon­sis­tent scene to scene, and at least once some­one (Mega­tron, I think) says that a cer­tain num­ber of robots were present for some­thing, but in real­i­ty there was one more or less than what Mega­tron had said.

After div­ing into my new copy of sea­son 1 of the orig­i­nal car­toon series, I have come across one of the episodes I was think­ing of: “Divide and Con­quer,” sixth episode of the series. In it, Mega­tron tells Starscream that he and his team “out­num­ber Opti­mus Prime three to one.” Starscream had a team con­sist­ing of two oth­er jets (Thun­der­crack­er and Sky­warp) plus Sound­wave. Grant­ed, Sound­wave is there before the bat­tle and after the bat­tle, so maybe he was just sup­posed to stand aside and let Starscream and the oth­er jets han­dle it. I dun­no. I guess this scene could be an either/or com­plaint of poor math of char­ac­ter con­ti­nu­ity failure.

That sounds famil­iar, no?

The genius of Ala­nis Moriset­te’s “Iron­ic” was that it had noth­ing to do with irony. Well, that would have been genius, if that’s how Ala­nis had intend­ed it, which is doubtful.

Such is the case with Trans­form­ers: Revenge of the Fall­en. The sub­tle nods to the orig­i­nal Trans­form­ers series are genius, if that’s how Michael Bay intend­ed them.

Which I doubt. What do you think?

3 thoughts on “The Genius of Michael Bay”

  1. I won­der if Jolt (which sure makes ME think of the Chevy Volt) is a late addi­tion? GM was slow to respond to over­tures from the pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny? Just from the name and the pic you post, I have to believe that is paid prod­uct place­ment. Or Oba­ma ordered Bay to put the car in? (there’s a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry for you!)

    Sounds like some­one fig­ured out that the movie is going to make hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars and it does not have to be good for that to hap­pen. So why bother.

    Lots of neg­a­tive com­ments about the movie here:

    http://www.toplessrobot.com/2009/06/bonus_robs_transformers_2_faqs.php?page=1

    Some bad lan­guage on that site.

    I found that site because it was linked to by The New Republic:

    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/07/08/transformers-revenge-of-the-viewing-public.aspx

    From what I’ve read in the last few min­utes, it sounds like the first Trans­form­ers movie ranks with Casablan­ca in com­par­i­son (well, not Casablanca).

  2. Actu­al­ly, it was announced that he’d be includ­ed a full year ago. I do recall read­ing some­thing that Gen­er­al Motors was very hap­py when it was announced that Jolt would be a Volt as it was a new­er car (if not entire­ly new last/this year) that they want­ed to pro­mote. On that sub­ject, though, the prod­uct place­ments in the sec­ond movie weren’t near­ly as in-your-face as the first.

    I have read that Top­less Robot review already. He rais­es a lot of valid com­plaints. He men­tions Arcee being referred to as “Arcee twins” when she is in fact a trio, but in fact, the dia­log was “Arcee, twins,” refer­ring to both Arcee and the twins Mud­flap and Skids. The action on screen would seem to con­firm that inter­pre­ta­tion, even if the twins were utter­ly use­less in that scene… and all oth­ers they are in. Like Megan Fox.

  3. At least Michael Bay is a hon­est man: he told in an inter­view that he made Megan Fox where she now is. Ofcourse Megan did not agree. yeah right.

    As for the Jolt: I have to say I did­n’t pay atten­tion since Beetle­bum was not a VW Bee­tle any­more but a Amer­i­can Mus­cle car ;-)

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Rick Beckman