Thursday, June 30, 2005

More than meets the eye

One of the joys of Netflix is that, since it's a flat monthly fee, you can add just about any damn thing you like to your rental queue and not feel like you're wasting money. Last night, for instance, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I watched Transformers: The Movie, which each of us were pretty sure we hadn't seen in about 20 years. I would be hard-pressed to describe the movie as "good" in any conventional way, quite honestly, and I'd completely forgotten about the incessant, often thematically-inappropriate 80s synth-pop background music, and the vocal performances were downright strange. There's really nothing resembling characterization in anything but the broadest strokes, and there's not a plot so much as an overlapping sequence of things that happen, and some of the characters happen to be standing in the places where those things happen, and so on.

But She and I both thought that in spite -- or perhaps because -- of all that, the movie is also some kind of deranged work of cinematic ADHD genius. Because when I was 12 and saw this movie, I loved it. Loved it. Who cares that the characterizations are paper thin? A bunch of Autobots on the run from Decepticons who have been upgraded by an evil robot planet that EATS PLANETS crashed on the Planet of Junk (yes, that was its name) and fought the Junkions (robots made of -- wait for it -- junk)! And when some other Autobots eventually arrive on the Planet of Junk to rescue the first group of Autobots everyone dances to Weird Al's "Dare to be Stupid" before both groups of Autobots and the Junkions fly off to defeat the giant evil planet-eating robot planet.

Plot? We don't need no steenking plot. Transformers: The Movie is wonderful and perfect just the way it is; if someone had tried to make it a proper movie with a three-act structure and character arcs the whole thing would have been ruined. This movie is the equivalent of eating an entire can of chocolate frosting, and I mean that in a good way.

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