On Transformer Tuesday, Reviews Still Matter

transformers-revenge-of-the-fallen-blu-ray-art-workWhile picking up my “you know better, but it’s the explosions!” copy of Transformers: Revenge of Bombacity The Fallen (T:ROTF)at the local Best Buy today, the checkout guy was shocked, SHOCKED, when I told him how dumb I thought Michael Bay’s latest foray into robots and asplosions was. Hypocrisy? Sure, but there’s an underlying point here: if everyone loves the movie, does reviewing it even matter?

After our review of T:ROTF on the 6/26 radio show, we received a lot of incredulous responses to the fact that we not only didn’t grope and leghump T:ROTF, we sent it home and called its parents. Everyone we spoke to seemed to have loved it. We didn’t. In fact, most reviewers who enjoyed the first one didn’t either. The usual “who listens to reviewers anyway?” consensus began percolating.

But instead of quickly debunking reviewers as out of touch, consider this: thoughtful criticism (good or bad) introduces necessary shades of contrarianism which contribute toward a holistic view. Criticism’s ability to provide underlying perspective on unrecognized or disregarded themes and techniques is the point– a contrary opinion isn’t demanding a reader to agree, but it does suggest there may be more than one facet of a film worth looking into. So here’s the kicker: where film is undeniably a medium with the innate ability to shape perception and embed itself into cultural relevancy and lexicon, its examination deserves more than a simple adrenaline rush/laugh meter litmus test.

Roger Ebert put an exclamation point on it the idea: “It’s not a critic’s job to reflect box office taste. The job is to describe my reaction to a film, to account for it, and evoke it for others. The job of the reader is not to find his opinion applauded or seconded, but to evaluate another opinion against his own.”

So hey Best Buy checkout guy. Put those shocked looks away. My head-hanging hypocrisy dictates I’ll enjoy T:ROTF on a purely visceral level as played out in spurts and clips. But please… (please!) keep in mind that as a whole, T:ROTF remains an intentional insult to your intelligence with its choice of loud over logic, geographical defiance, and insistence on overpowering your brain’s ability to process information. And when you see that shot of two wrecking balls clanging together in a thinly veiled allusion to robo-testicles, realize it’s the cinematic equivalent to hanging a set of plastic testicles from a truck– both of which require a wagging finger of shame and a quick cerebral palate douching.

4 comments On On Transformer Tuesday, Reviews Still Matter

  • So, I just watched this again and I may have judged it harshly. Not too harshly, though. It’s still way too long and still full of some silly crap, but for the most part it’s all Bay and for fans of bombastic Bay movies, that’s not too shabby. I’m glad I added this to my Blu Ray collection.

    I did fast forward some stuff so my kids could watch it, too. They liked it, so I wonder: Michael Bay, why not take out the swearing and sexuality and make this PG? Just wonderin’.

  • You didn’t judge it harshly. It’s retarded. But enjoyably so– and, like you’re pointing out, more so on subsequent viewings with your expectations tempered.

    Michael Bay creates adolescent male worlds. And that’s not meant as a criticism. It’s a fun fact. Michael Bay’s alternate reality is a land populated by manly military men and the centerfolds who want to sack them, wise asses and virtually inconsequential violence– just like my days playing in the sandbox, but without all the libido stoking hotties. And that’s A-OK, but T:ROTF is one of the most intentional insults to intelligence ever created. You can love or hate that, so I’m now choosing to recognize it’s still dumb but, like you said also find [perverse] joy in having this on my shelf.

  • I appreciate your point and it does make one think if we even listen to the critics. I don’t know that a review has ever kept me from going to see a movie but it does help with the expectations going into the film. I have yet to see this (I assume turdtastic) film but with all the news on how horrible Fox is I’m not chomping at the bit to see this silly little film. Robot testicles…come on Bay!

  • Megan Fox’s lips deserve a best performance award in this movie. They are HUGE.

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