So there’s a new Transformers movie coming out today.
There are two ways to react to these things: IRATE FANRAGE or blissful ignorance.
Up until now, I’ve viewed this franchise through the eyes of an old school fan. I grew up with Generation 1, saved allowances to buy the toys, recoiled in horror as my generation of Transformers were killed on screen in animated form. Those are precious nerd memories to me. They’ve helped inform the kinds of wacky crap that I collect and the things I look forward to in my entertainment.
I wasn’t wholly opposed to seeing a live action version when the first one was announced. I had survived the Dreamwave comics version and the relatively short-lived 80s cartoon comic revival that surrounded it. And there have been a handful of Michael Bay movies that I enjoyed. As my brother often points out, he made Martin Lawrence look like a bad ass in those Bad Boys movies. But when I finally saw the thing, I was less than impressed.
The jerky camera work, the claxonic sound design, the fact that I couldn’t tell Autobots from Decepticons because of the “Tinker Toy from Hell” design aesthetic — it all came off as a big stinking mess. This wasn’t even an echo of the Transformers that I grew up with.
However, there were giant robots on screen. We don’t get a lot of that here. I mean, since Transformers came out in 2007, we’ve had that weird boxing robot movie with Hugh Jackman and Pacific Rim. And I barely count that boxing robot movie. Not a whole lot of giant robot love here.
I fucking love giant robots. And if we get to see more of them on screen, perhaps more people will come to love giant robots. So shouldn’t I love Michael Bay for bringing giant robots to the screen? Even if I can’t tell who’s fighting who?
And then, it hit me. There’s one sure fire way to reconcile my love for giant robots and absolute disgust for this version of Transformers.
FORGET THAT IT’S A TRANSFORMERS MOVIE
If I didn’t know what a Transformer was, if I didn’t have the original G1 character designs blazed into my childhood fan memory, if I didn’t know that the Matrix of Leadership would light our darkest hour, I would watch this trailer and think, HOLY FUCK, GIANT ROBOT WITH A SWORD RIDING A ROBOT DINOSAUR! GIANT FLYING ROBOT DINOSAUR! ROBOT WHOSE FACE TURNS INTO A CANNON?
SIR. YES. SIR. MAY. I. HAVE. ANOTHER.
Watching this thing with blissful ignorance turned up to eleven makes it a movie about giant robots and giant robot dinosaurs. And that sounds like some shit that I want to see. And fuck, there’s even a sword! Giant robot with sword means yes. Just yes.
Granted, it’s likely going to be a very long time until I’m able to see this movie. And when I do, I’m likely only to see it at the Arlington Cinema and Draft House where they serve beer and food. But it’s pretty difficult for me to ignore a movie with giant robots with swords in it. So what that I have to delude myself into seeing this stupid thing?
Jamie Noguchi is a Maryland-based artist and creator of Yellow Peril, an Asian American office romance comedy webcomic. He is also a co-founder of Super Art Fight, the greatest live art competition in the known universe.