I mean we knew going in that Transformers:
Oh yeah, we also knew that it was going to be sexist. But that was a given, because only dudes like action films. And if we weren't quite sure, the previews made damn sure we knew - because obviously that is how you paint a motorcycle gas tank...duh! Don't you see the guys from Orange County Choppers doing that all the time? Oh sure, we finally had some female Autobots, but they were just pocket rockets. And of course they had to have female holograms so we knew they were girls, because again, duh, all robots are boys unless otherwise specified - and they also got blown up before they could have more than one line, since Mikey just didn't like them. But, the overly sexual girl Decepticon, that is a total rip-off of Species? She got lots of screen time.
But, lets get back to that all robots are boys thing for a minute shall we?
So there I was in the theater, fully aware that this was going to be the movie equivalent of a toasted marshmallow - oh so delicious, but of no real value, singed with some explosions - making snide comments to a friend who also enjoys robots and action movies and early 80's cultural references from a bit of a critical distance due to a social science undergrad degree - when we begin to gear up for THE BIG FIGHT. You know it's THE fight because it takes place somewhere that will let the CGI crew blow up historical monuments and all of the robots and humans are in the same general vicinity. More importantly, while everyone is hurrying to get their butts kicked or kick butt, the biggest robot of all shows up.
In my world of Transformers - the early 80's version of cartoons and toys - this robot was the coolest kind. It wasn't just one robot that transformed from a car/plane/machine but combined with other Transformers to make one giant one (obviously the toy I coveted). In this case, it was a bunch of construction equipment intent on sucking up the comic relief characters, but only succeeded in sucking up the "natives."
Oh, but just to prove the point that this isn't MY Transformers, as this giant robot climbs out of his construction pit from the bottom of the screen, Michael Bay decided to add a little something special to make sure we know that all robots are dudes and this is a dude movie.
I turned to my friend and said, "That robot has wrecking ball testicles."
Yes. Robot testicles. Wrecking ball robot testicles.
To prove the point, these Decepticon wrecking ball testicles become the target of the Air Force's giant secret weapon (whew, good thing you got that phallus in there!).
But really, Michael Bay? Have you ever heard about the perils of being heavy handed? Because, there are action movies that are about dudes, for dudes and are duderiffic that distance themselves from any lady viewers, but we can just roll our eyes and watch them, and then there are action movies that feel like a production company gave millions of dollars to a 12 year old boy in the height of hormonal spasm. Of course, they didn't. Instead they gave an adult millions of dollars and make me want to give you a swift kick to the testicles.
Particularly since this whole movie is about testicles. We have the Air Force blowing up Decepticon scrotum (ahem) - which is technically inaccurate since they are hanging freely. A human character tazers himself in the testicles. The same character lets us know that the uber-tan girl-character lands face down on his balls. Oh, and while not explicitly testicles, both dogs and dog sized robots hump things.
We get it! You are a dude, you like dude things, and being around dudes (but of course not in that way) and this is only for dudes.
But here is the thing: while Michael Bay spent millions of dollars to make a movie that every one agrees is awful, it seems that everyone involved with this movie wants to distance themslevs from it. Racism? That was Michael. Sexism? That was Michael. Giant robot testicles? That was Michael, again.
So here is my proposition. Stop letting Michael Bay make these movies!
Obviously Hollywood is attempting to squeeze as many $10.50 tickets and videogames and merchandising from my generation as possible, since according to my high school friends' updates on Facebook, not only can we buy it, but we should all have kids we can buy it for, too. Why else would every cartoon from our childhood be reissued as a line of toys or scripted into a blockbuster movie?
But here is the thing...we will see the movies and buy the crap anyway. You don't have to make all of our IQ's drop 40 points every time we see a movie in order to make obscene amounts of money. Any actress that you surround with robots and explosions will get YouTube hits. You don't have to spray-tan her within an inch of her life, or pretend that four inch heels and white pants are what you wear to save the world from giant alien robots.
Tone it down a bit, take into consideration that there are people without testicles who like this stuff, and even people with testicles that find Michael Bay ridiculous, and you will still make the number one movie in the world opening weekend. I promise.
Besides its not like you can sell a robot with wrecking ball testicles to kids, which makes your merchandising non-movie accurate, and that just disappoints the geek in us:
See? No testicles.