Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye?
I'll be honest: I'm a fan of Michael Bay. His movies are ridiculous, loud, seizure-inducing, misogynistic cash-stuffed trash, but you get what you pay for. When I shell out $50 for tickets and popcorn, I expect to see giant robots smash the bejesus out of anything and everything they can get their mitts on. And twice now, Michael Bay has not let me down (although I will freely admit that I had no idea what the hell Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen was about. Who were the Fallen? Why did they want revenge? Does it even matter?) I'd heard the buzz about the third movie: that it was better than the second, possibly the best in the series. Which is a bar set so low a dachshund could jump over it, but still. Perhaps the new movie wouldn't be just two and a hours of eye-fucking.
And the boy is, of course, a HUGE Transformers fan. He's got a bin full of them, has seen the first two movies a few times, watches the new cartoon version every Saturday morning, and for weeks he's been hounding me: "Dad, is the new Transformers movie out yet? Can we see it? Can we?"
I've learned that one of the most powerful words in the Dad Lexicon is "maybe". Kids don't understand that Shit Happens: the word "yes" to them is a verbal contract, and we've learned that lesson the hard way, when we've had to cancel various outings or trips due to work or money constraints, or haven't been able to get them certain things in the store because the store doesn't carry them, or when we've arrived at the movie theater only to find out that the movie sold out ten minutes ago. The "maybe" he got in regards to seeing the new Transformers flick was born of trepidation: I watched some of the second one a few weeks back, and as I was bombarded with images of Megan Fox's ass and the shuckin' and jivin' of the two Amos 'N Andy-Formers and the cursing and the bodies flying everywhere, it occurred to me that maybe Michael Bay's Transformers were a different variation of the classic Robots-In-Disguise: a movie for teenagers packaged as a kid's toy. And then I read this review, and just like that, in my head that "maybe" was downgraded to a "no".
On a completely separate level, Walter Chaw's take on how cynical the Bay Machine has become...eh, it's just a movie, and as a thinking adult I'm not terribly offended by the latent crassness and stupidity Bay's exhibited in most of his films. There's nothing in what he says about Transformers: Dark of The Moon that hasn't been said about most every other big-screen monster movie since the original King Kong. They all play to our basest instincts. (Perhaps we'll get an injection of class if Christopher Nolan inherits the franchise.) On Twitter, I went so far as to write a brief but wholly accurate review of the movie, even though I haven't seen it: "Transformers 3. It...is."
But is it a movie I want my kid seeing? He's 7, smart but malleable. While I don't think he'd watch it and turn into a foul-mouthed psycho bent on destroying Chicago, I'd much rather hold off until he's old enough to process what he's seeing, and to really understand that "it's only a movie" applies to everything on the screen, not just Optimus and Megatron. In the mean time, he may have to settle for an alternative Transformers flick: