Photo Credit: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
The best thing about Transformers, the Hasbro toys, is how silent they are, unlike Michael Bay's bombastic movie, which just came out on DVD after scooping up a maddening $835 million worldwide. That makes it America's biggest movie export in 2009. The shame!
I love the simplicity of the original toys. Look, it's a robot; look, a few minutes of manual dexterity later, it's a car. And, then, in the time it takes to fold the laundry, it's back in robot form. The rest is imagination.
When my son, now 13, used to play with Transformers they were part of that continuum that ran from Duplos to Legos to Bionicles -- and, if you were really ambitious for your kid, continued in the MIT robotics lab.
The DVD, on the other hand, denies the audience the power of imagination by trying to make everything literal. And, unlike the toys, it's loud enough to drown out Niagara Falls. The 'Bots have an unnerving tendency to turn everything from the hero's house to the pyramids into rubble.
But the saddest thing about the 150-minute movie sequel -- coming into your living room with three hours of extras (eek!) -- is that it has transformed what was once a G-rated toy into a PG-13 pic unsuitable for just those kids who made the plastic playthings a hit in the first place.
The movie is wildly sexualized, with heroine Mikaela (Megan Fox) first ogled from the rear in hot pants. One bizarre Transformer even masquerades as a comely co-ed and jumps the bones of college freshman Sam (Shia LeBeouf), trying to penetrate the hero with a long wavy metal probe that I'll generously describe as a tail. Awkward!
And that's not all! Sam's mom gobbles hash brownies. The language crackles with obscenity. And there's more visible women's underwear than in Target's lingerie department.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen redefines "horror" movie, since it will send mothers screaming from the couch in search of the benign toys that inspired it!