Fellow victims, I caved and rented Transformers (2007). I'm aware of my crime. This is equivalent to buying one of the new VW bugs, or digging that "new song" by Elvis, which is actually an unused, dance-remastered vocal track. I have been sold my own nostalgia back to me, and I bought (in to) it. One moment I was Principled Actor Jeff, and then-- ENH-ENH-ENH-ENH-ENCH --the Deceptacon, Eightiesdork.
The worst part is that I knew, going in, that it was directed by Michael Bay. Now look: Sure, I liked Michael Bay. When I was eighteen. I can admit that. I was young, and I needed the stimulation. I DON'T NEED IT ANYMORE. Somehow, it was easier for me to accept the idea that I was the camera, back then, and capable of that sort of camera kung fu he's made his name with. Now, I prefer the long shot, and the relatively grounded camera that shows me precisely what is going on, so I can appreciate moments more than general motion.
I didn't even go in to the movie with high expectations. There was a reason I was renting it, and didn't catch it in the theaters. In point of fact, the only reason I rented it at all was that I caught The Battle of Shaker Heights on TV the other day, which convinced me that this Shia LaBeouf lad might just have something to him. (Though my jury remains resolutely not-in on his worthiness to wield the Indiana Jones mantle in 2008.) Indeed, Shia made the movie for me, which would be an accomplishment of sorts, considering he was up against two-storey robots (and the gorgeous, not-remotely-in-high-school Megan Fox) most of the time.
"Would be," I say, because said two-storey robots were rendered hopelessly uninteresting by the same aesthetic that directs Bay's camera. They were astoundingly complex and animated, and utterly uninteresting. I see the need to update the dozen motion points found on the first Transformer designs, to spin them into something more conceivably versatile and bad-ass, but I would submit for Hollywood's consideration the idea that part of the fun of a Transformer is being able to appreciate exactly how it changes shape. Also, imagine if those endless man-hours spent designing and rendering the 'bots had been spent, even fractionally, on, oh, I don't know, the script?
Bay makes kids' movies, essentially. Gratuitously violent, often verbally lewd, but kids' movies, all the same, for their attention span and priority on visual stimulation over elements such as story and character.
I begin to question why these things are important to me. They shouldn't be, right? I mean, by all standards, selfish and selfless, I and the world stand to gain nothing from the successful or unsuccessful update of my childhood enthusiasms. Yet somehow it really matters. All this childish stuff from my youth is something I cherish, and I want to see it--if it must be resurrected--done to my current standards.
At least now I can relax. They couldn't possibly rehash any other favorite cartoons into movies.