Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Confusions Inspired by Transformers

When one is finally compelled to see a blockbuster over the objections that originally kept one away from it, the results can be a real treat. After all, most blockbusters are entertaining. That is why they make so much money. People who seek more out of their movies (i.e. a message, a meaning, or a study about some aspect of truth) can often forget that one whole raison d’etre of movies is to entertain.

Unfortunately, the masses are not always a source of good judgment. Transformers is a case where a movie, instead of entertaining, raises a bunch of questions:

How can anyone keep track of which robots are good and which are bad? Outside of a couple of colorful robots, like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, most in fights were hard to distinguish.

For that matter, how can you tell one transformer from any other? In the scene where Prime introduces all the good guys, they have all already converted to robot form, and this may be species-ist, but they all look alike that way. Which Gobot is which vehicle?

The greatest mystery though, is the target audience for this film. The obvious would be to go for the built in audience. That is to say kids (it is a kid franchise) and adults who were kids when the franchise started out (the parents of those other kids.) Instead, Michael Bay and co. decided to make this a teen movie. Not just any teen movie, but one with content that makes it impossible for kids to see it. So, in an effort to make a kids product cool enough for apathetic teens, you alienate the generation who grew up with Transformers, and make a product the natural audience is too young to see.

The reason it worked is the whole Hollywood rule. Any movie a 19-year-old boy will want to see will work, because boys of all ages want to see what 19-year-old boys want to see and girls will go with boys to their movies where boys won’t go to the girls’.

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