Tuesday, July 3, 2007
We are the Sprocket Holes vol.1
directed by Michael Bay
Transformers is a scathing indictment of Western Civilization's priorities. The film suggests that our materialism-based values and near-fetishistic dependence on industrialized militaristic authority will be our downfall, that we will find ourselves at a point where our weapons, cars, and even toys will themselves fight to death for our affection and our fate, oblivious to the casualties that will be an inevitable result in their grandiose crossfire.
Transformers displays a left-leaning slant when presenting the audience with it's view of the U.S. Military Complex and American Police Forces, by making the Decepticons (the antagonists of the piece) either military vehicles (Blackout is a large helicopter, Starscream a fighter jet, etc) or, as in the case of the character of Barricade, a cop car. In the world of this film, Authority is not to be trusted. Authority seeks to devour and overthrow, lulling them into a false sense of security before letting them choke to death on the illusions to which they have conjointly abetted, though the humans are joined in the dillusion more out of an apparent, almost naive dependence on "security" than in the iron-fisted malevolence displayed by Decepticon leader Megatron (voice courtesy of Matrix villain Hugo Weaving) and his demonic squadron.
Transformers says that we are foolish to trust the Police and the Military, suggesting that all we can believe in are the objects of our wide-eyed hedonism; namely fancy cars. The protagonists are the Autobots, who morph into slick, modern automobiles (Jazz, voiced by Family Matters star Darius McCray, transforms into a Pontiac Solstice, for instance) that when coupled with an breathtaking angenieux like co-star Megan Fox, become the masturbatory incarnate of adolescent male fantasia. simply put; all we can ever really depend on in this life is our own imagination, that reality is a soul-crushing lie....a deception, if you will, and the only real truth lies in feverishly blending the nostalgia of a 6 year olds action-figure afternoons with the tumultuous satisfaction of a moody teenager's wet-dreams.
Transformers dares to assault the status quo, however secretly. it appears to be a harmless summer blockbuster; 1/2 car commercial 1/2 toy commercial, but much like the title characters, there truly is more than meets the eye. Under the plastic veneer there is a deeper theme; destruction is only exceptable as a way to preserve harmony. entropy is the only real order we as a society will ever have. without conflict, we cannot have resolution.
So despite some leftist leanings, by the end of the film all Transformers really has done is reinforce the status quo it assumes itself to be against. The film in the end is in favor of war and materialism. Transformers in fact salutes such things as triumphs of the human race. That the best is not in us, but represented by what we own and our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for people who hate us or ideas in which we don't believe. That in actuality...WE are the Robots in Disguise.
More Than Meets the Eye indeed.