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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 replies on “The Genius of Michael Bay”

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).

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.

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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