Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh god! How do I get the suck out of my head?!

Believe it or not my wife has been out of town this week attending a funeral. And, as the old saying goes, when the cat is away the mice will do all sorts of things that the cat doesn't like that much. In my case that usually means cooking insanely spicy food that no human in their right mind would consume ever and watching potentially bad science fiction movies. Really, I could probably remove the "potentially" part of that statement since- let's face it- the majority of sci-fi movies are awful.

This time around the movie that I chose to watch is Transformers, a live-action film based on the comic books and animated series about warring artificially intelligent robots from space that can transform into common everyday objects. Objects like a big rig, a rescue truck, and a boom box.* One of these is not like the others. I chose this movie because, frankly, I grew up on the cartoon and wanted to see how my childhood heroes would translate to the big screen. You know, outside of the original animated Transformers movie.

So what was the verdict? Well, see, in order for me to help you understand that I need to tell you a story. My Former Hypothetical Roommate (FHR) once remarked that there are few things more enjoyable than watching a bad sci-fi movie with me. The reason, basically, is I feel somehow compelled to rant about the scientific inaccuracies and technobabble invoked in the film. And even better, I am absurdly inconsistent about what I choose to rant about. So, I may let the reactionless drives go with a free pass, but get annoyed that the movie forgot to be concerned about the effects of a sonic boom at low level. Yeah, I'm weird like that. My FHR claims to this day that one of the funniest experiences he ever had with me was watching the remake of Planet of the Apes. To hear him tell it, there were so many bizarre screwups in the first few minutes that I was reduced to a twitching incoherent mess.

But I digress...

How was Transformers? Absolutely horrible. The protaganist was more or less the lost fifth stooge, the love interest was as deep as a petri dish and served only as sex on two legs and the plot was so contorted as to be indecipherable. And the physics. Oh, god, the physics! You know, I was able to suspend disbelief on the giant transforming robots, even though the notion is- at best- a stretch. Yet, as I watched their antics I found myself wondering about the tensile strength of the materials they were interacting with. I mean, seriously, a semi-truck sized robot doing a flip on an overpass? I'm pretty sure that structure is not built to absorb those kinds of lateral stresses. I mean, honestly, did the civil engineer responsible for it sit down and ask, "Hmmmm... what would happen if a giant alien robot used this structure for a gymnastics demonstration? Better add some more rebar"? And don't even get me started on the distinction between "cryogenic" and just "really fucking cold" which, as it turns out, is kinda an important distinction.

And yet, in the end, I'm forced to admit that the movie was a total success. It sucked on virtually every level, and I'd give it a 4 on the badger scale, but it brought the cartoon to the big screen quite well. You see, the cartoon version of "Transformers" itself was poorly written, had shallow characters, and nonsensical plots. The action sequences frequently involved too little animation, which was often of poor quality, and it was almost impossible to figure out what the hell was going on. And the movie captured this perfectly. Seriously, if the cartoon was the sort of thing that you had to be an eight year old boy to love, then the movie followed right in its footsteps. If you don't believe me, see for yourself, and imagine this requiring about two hours:

And ironically we discover that the one thin that no transformer can convert into is a meaningful damned storyline.

Ah, well. Maybe next time.

* Now that I think about it, when I watched the original cartoon as a kid, I think I knew this by the less PC term "ghetto blaster."

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Blogger Marf said...

How about how the transformers can change mass and volume without generating heat?

Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:38:00 AM  

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