Transformers – More Misogyny Than Meets the Eye

Transformers: Age of Extinction

 

The other day I covered the stupidity that is Transformers: Age of Extinction. Today I want to touch on the misogyny found in the film. In the first two films, Michael Bay made Megan Fox as much of an object as the Transformers themselves. After a famous public argument, Fox was replaced by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for the third installment.

In Age of Extinction, our Fox-like replacement is Nicola Peltz who plays Cade’s daughter Tessa. In spite of Cade constantly watching her, she not only has a secret boyfriend but has also become a rally racer/navigator. She is constantly in high heels and wedges even though it is evident watching her that she doesn’t know how to walk in them. Her characters is treated like an old-fashioned damsel in distress. She screams, cries, falls, repeat ad nauseum and oh how the nauseum is added.

While my main complaint about Age of Extinction is the aggressive stupidity involved, the blatant misogyny runs a close second. Apparently what Bay learned from the first film was that the camera should linger on the female form. Normally I’m all in favor of this. I am a guy who loves the female form.

The problem here is that Mark Wahlberg is dressed oh let’s say ‘country normal’ while Nicola Peltz is dressed in skintight jeans. Stanley Tucci plays a tech billionaire, Joshua Joyce. He is dressed in a suit and is greeted at his car by three female assistants who are perhaps dressed more suitably for after hours nightclubbing. We encounter a high level Chinese executive, also obviously a ‘hottie’ and, naturally, trained in the martial arts.

We also have a hot blonde scientist played by Sophia Myles. Naturally she is tops in her field – geology? really? She visits a site in the arctic where you can guess what they have uncovered. It is clear that Bay must just have a checklist of ‘cool’ jobs that he works from. Her character is completely undeveloped even though she is present for many scenes. Her specialty seems to have quite a range. I can only guess that her character is planned for future installments.

I think every single woman in the movie is likely to evoke prurient interest and definitely not be taken seriously. It actually provoked some laughter from me when we were on the sixth or seventh woman to be treated this way. Of course none of the female characters talk to each other in the movie and all are subordinate to the male characters in position, speech, and character.

Oh well. I suppose this film was not aimed at women or people of discernment anyway.

Transformers – Please Let This Be Age of Extinction

Well I went to see the latest Transformers movie the other week…

Transformers: Age of Extinction

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) РRated PG-13

A mechanic and his family join the Autobots as they are targeted by a bounty hunter from another world.”

One Line Review: Blatantly moronic and somewhat offensive, should definitely go extinct.

I am so confused. I have rarely seen a more blog-provoking film than Transformers: Age of Extinction. I could write an entire week’s worth of blogs on this one movie BUT, in order to do that, I would have to sit through this awful mess once or twice more to get all the salient points down. I am a glutton for punishment but I have to draw the line somewhere.

It is hard to believe that this is the fourth of these monstrosities in seven years. Harder still is that there are two more already set. I enjoyed the trashiness of the first film in a Mortal Kombat kind of way but it had pretty much exhausted the premise by the end of the first film. I saw the next two films but found them to be even more brain dead than the initial feature.

Age of Extinction marks the start of a new trilogy. Jettisoned is the fetishization of Megan Fox, the not famous Shia LaBeouf, the unbearably bad comedy stylings of the otherwise reliable John Turturro (go watch Miller’s Crossing to see him in a good role), and the entire Witwicky saga.

Mark Wahlberg is Cade Yeager, a robotics tinkerer, mechanic, and inventor whose farm is being foreclosed on. While I like Wahlberg, his character is the least convincing scientist/engineer/mechanic since Denise Richards played Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough. Director Michael Bay and writer Ehren Kruger try to simultaneously portray him as brilliant (he knows every piece of equipment and how to use it, from old cinema pieces to modern weaponry) and yet goofy (his inventions don’t work, he maintains a perfect physique while not remembering to eat).

I’ll refrain from commenting on the various female characters as the rampant misogyny in this film definitely deserves its own post. At any rate, while there are half a dozen or so female characters, none of them really rate.

Stanley Tucci plays tech billionaire Joshua Joyce, an odd mix of comic relief and Basil Exposition. His is the only complex character in the film. This is clearly Kelsey Grammer’s summer. He is the human villain here, appeared in Think Like a Man Too, and also cameos as Beast in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Next month, he appears as one of The Expendables 3.

Early in the film, there is a scene set in an abandoned, dilapidated movie theater. This scene is ridiculously awkward. I think it is Bay or Kruger’s ode to cinema a la Scorsese’s Hugo or The Artist but it just comes across as sad. Apparently, in addition to the vintage movie equipment, the theater contains a football (?) and the remains of a tractor trailer cab. Clunky, ham-fisted? You betcha. Effective? Not in the least.

The biggest laugh was the worst product placement I have seen since Mystic River’s blocked and faced home pantry. We have some vehicular mayhem during which a lot of Bud Light aluminum is prominently jettisoned on to the road. While I did laugh at that, mere moments later Cade (Wahlberg) actually picks one up, properly facing the label to the camera, and drinks it. Why the obviously shook up carbonated beverage didn’t explode in his face is a question for you, dear reader.

For the twelve-year-old boys: Yes, this movie is LOUD and BLOWS STUFF UP real good. The Dinobots featured in the previews don’t show up until near the end of the movie.

For the rest of you: The movie is interminably long – about two hours and forty minutes but is so LOUD that you will not be able to nap through it. You have been warned.

Transformers cup

Oh well at least I got another of those nice plastic cups for the movie room.

 

Some More Movie Displays

First, Art finally finished my movie room mural and it is gorgeous.

Quatermass

 

Quatermass and the Pit is my favorite Hammer horror movie, which seems odd given that it stars neither Peter Cushing nor Christopher Lee. Obviously others feel the same way as the out-of-print U.S. DVD fetches ridiculous prices. It is much cheaper to buy a British DVD compatible player and order the British DVD from Amazon UK.

Transformers

 

Darling granddaughter in front of Transformers display…

Train Your Dragon

 

…and the one she is really interested in, How to Train Your Dragon 2.