Friday, July 1, 2011
The Pure Cinema of Michael Bay
The Transformer movies combine, however awkwardly, the powerful allure of fairy tale nostalgia, in the form of toys that come to life (and the struggle to control them), with the pleasures of seeing the human reduced in scale to the miniature. They display, in the most direct way, the promiscuity of technology: its shape-shifting perversity. The deeper satisfactions to be found, if I may venture such a notion, in these often incoherently plotted and farcically juvenile films are to be located in the theme of an alien cosmology and the return of strange gods. What is uncanny about the machines is not so much that they are giant dolls brought to life, but their status as displaced Gnostic angels. There’s more than a touch of Milton’s war in heaven to all the sturm and drang. Along this latter line, it almost goes without saying that Bay's idea of film is Riefenstahl meets DeMille: an unabashed spectacle of collectivist triumphalism.