Robotsploitation 

The Sound and the Fury of Michael Bay

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"IF THE DOORS of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite," William Blake wrote in 1793. "For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

If you, dear reader, are unwilling to glimpse what lies beyond those doors, I beg you, read no further. If you fear infinite truth, I urge you not to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

For experiencing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is to venture into the mouth of madness. Picture, if you will, a live-action rendition of Heironymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights"—but enacted by giant robots. Add thousands of explosions—not only do homes, office buildings, and cars blow up, but so do planes, helicopters, motorcycles, and doghouses. Imagine a world consumed by an "alien blood feud"—yet also one in which eager Chihuahuas comically hump somber bulldogs. Add to this tableau, if you dare, two big-lipped, buck-toothed, ebonics-speaking minstrel-bots—one of whom has a gold tooth, and both of whom are cheerfully illiterate. Even if you combine all of this—and even if you can make it last for nearly three hours—you are still nowhere close to comprehending Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Over 12 hours have passed since I beheld the beauty and horror of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a film that embodies director Michael Bay in his most hideous and awe-inspiring form—and still, my mind stumbles and jerks with cognitive dissonance. For Bay has chosen not to merely make a summer blockbuster, but to evolve the art form into something daringly abstract and avant-garde. Here, Bay obliterates narrative coherency as if it were a mere doghouse, achieving surreal moments the likes of which Buñuel and Dalí could only dream. Bay spits in the face of convention, offering a meta-commentary on cinema as a whole—note, if you will, the scene in which John Turturro berates an elderly, farting robot for not telling a story with a "beginning, middle, [and] end." When Turturro demands "plot!" from this flatulent colossus, he is denied—for Bay knows what wondrous visions thrive in the absence of story. In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we are granted majestic sights: We see a comely co-ed with a whip-like tongue that first grasps, then throws Shia LaBeouf around his dorm room. We see Turturro rip away his pants to reveal a thong. We see Transformer Heaven, and Transformer angels. We see a dangling pair of robot testicles. We see a midget.

In Bay's bold cinematic language, dialogue is never spoken, but always screamed; explosions never explode, but explode multiple times; extraterrestrial vistas feature not only ringed planets, but also dead baby robots.

If you are worthy of the task, you will behold Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and after its bludgeoning assault on all that you hold dear, only one thing is certain: You will be changed. Will this metamorphosis occur during the scene in which Shia repeatedly shrieks like a little girl? The scene in which Shia's parents are attacked by a sinister mime? The scene in which a tiny robot frantically dry-humps Megan Fox's shapely leg? Who dares ask such things! One cannot ascertain when, exactly, the doors of perception are pushed—nay, blown—open. No, we can only experience Bay's vision, and attempt to understand it. For guidance, let us turn to one of the many cryptic koans uttered in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a film like no other: "Sometimes you get to the end of the rainbow, and the leprechaun's booby trapped it."

Exactly.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Rated PG-13 · 150 min.
Official Site: www.TransformersMovie.com
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Producer: Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto and Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Cast: Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf, Rainn Wilson, Hugo Weaving, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Welker, Isabel Lucas and Reno Wilson

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