Empty vessel

Newest Transformers flick lacks heart—and that’s putting it nicely

Am I on the wrong set?

Am I on the wrong set?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Starring Shia LaBeouf and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Directed by Michael Bay. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.
Rated 1.0

I like bad movies—a lot of times they can actually be more fun than good movies. But all I can say about Transformers: Dark of the Moon is that it’s the biggest piece of shit I’ve seen in years (although I haven’t seen the previous two, so maybe I’m lucky). I didn’t expect it to make any narrative sense, but this thing didn’t make visual sense either. It’s white noise for the eyes. In 3-D. Which as usual isn’t worth the money. But that’s not the worst part …

The worst part (for the health of pop culture) is that without a doubt, the Transformers franchise is the most perverse porn ever devised. Thank you, Michael Bay. And Steven Spielberg (in retrospect, producing Super 8 seems like apologia). You’ve managed to make Paris Hilton, furries and Japanese tentacles look tame. What you’ve done is brilliant. In a sad, sick way. Build a web of nostalgia to lure in those thirtysomething suckers and give their lizard brains a good rub as they sigh over childhood toys. As someone who likes money, I can see the why of that. But …

We’ve got Michael Bay at the reins here. I’ll cop, I’ve never really been a Michael Bay hater. His movies are what they are. But after this puppy, I suddenly have one big ol’ case of schadenfreude and this dude’s name is written all over it. Michael Bay has no soul. Or empathy, if you want to avoid being labeled a Christian. Or a hippie. He has no clue as to what a human feels. Or even how to fake it.

The problem is, you can’t create empathy from a vacuum. So when Michael Bay tracks the camera through a bus of smoldering corpses, he can’t sell us that they’re anything but actors and dry ice. Not even characters, just props. So remove empathy and what’s left? Porn. Even the prop that gets the most use, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (seriously, I’m expected to type all that out?) isn’t allowed to breathe on her own. What’s her purpose? To replace Megan Fox as a prop. Nothing more. Bay explains Fox’s absence by having someone say, “She was a bitch. We didn’t like her.” Which is soon followed by the camera panning from a purebred bitch (as in dog, dumbass) to the new female lead. Subtle.

But it’s the introduction of Huntington-Whiteley that moves the Michael Bay psychometer over from misogynist to sociopath in one smooth move. He essentially rapes her with his camera. Or reduces her to just meat on the hoof, which is pretty much the same thing. Yeah, it’s the driving fetish in Hollywood, but Bay takes wrong all the way wrong. It’s the vibe that this kid is not so much what Bay thinks is sexy, but what he thinks real people might find sexy. He kind of doesn’t have a clue. But he does have a lot of money to throw around. And he throws a lot of it around here.

So, what’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon about? Well, it’s roughly about 2 1/2 hours of giant robots beating the oil out of each other. And other shit. Boring shit. And Michael Bay being a freak.

This is what we pay to see. This is everything we deserve.