Transformers 2, File Under: “No Sh*t Sherlock”

Here is my most basic conundrum regarding T2: Rise of the Fallen. Much has been made about the racism in this installment of Transformers, and yet next to nothing has been said about the sexism in this film. Why?

I put off writing this post to mull over this quandary, and sadly the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is that sexism in Hollywood, Michael Bay films, and action movies in general is expected. Hot chicks wearing skimpy clothes are just as ubiquitous as gratuitous explosions and felled henchmen, so why make a big deal about it every. time. It just gets tiring, right? Wrong. Maybe for the weak of heart and lily of liver, but not for this one.

Here are my qualms:
1). LadyBots- More Like FeebleBots. There were “female” transformers in this one– this should have been a triumph, but their depiction left much to be desired. Why and how could we tell they were lady-folk? Well, they were motorcycles (and were thus smaller and properly, femininely, diminutive to Optimus’s masculine behemoth), were pink and purple (“girl colors”), the hologram riders were female (identical and generic), and their voices were female. The biggest problem? Their size made them completely ineffective against the giant Decepticons, and during what could have been their shining moment of glory (leading Shia & Megan to safety) instead descended into their blazing doom (instant death after having delivered only one line). Where are the hulking pink and purple ladybots who can run with the big boys? Probably too busy getting their tires rotated.

2). Hot Chicks Only. Megan Fox and Isabel Lucas– I think their scripts probably read “It doesn’t matter if you try, because people will only be looking at your T&A.” And they took to these seductive, shallow roles with zest.  But come on, give them something more to do than run around in high heels and skimpy clothes.  (I was gratified to see that Megan Fox took off her heels and ran barefoot. Finally, a smidgen of reality.  Pathetic that that’s what I take joy in.) This is beginning to be my usual refrain…

3.) Stereotypes’R’Us.  As if this weren’t enough, the gendered and racist stereotypes sent me over the edge.  (Compounded by its length, choppy narrative, and overall shittiness).

I’ve spoken to a number of individuals who enjoyed this film more than the first because it’s “truer to the original” — and over at Little Junkies they’re divided, but funny as always (love the caption “Shia takes a break from carrying the movie; Michael plans another explosion.”).

What say you?  Did you see this one?  Does it matter?


6 responses to “Transformers 2, File Under: “No Sh*t Sherlock”

  1. Agree with every word. There was probably a cumulative 7 minutes of Megan Fox running in slow motion towards the camera in that movie. Gratuitous, pointless, and stupid. Of course I’m sure that helps sell DVDs.

    About sexism in Hollywood – yeah, we expect it. That’s why it’s “ok.”

    I would take that one step farther – I think there’s a lot of sexism in the movie-going public as well. Look at the movies that do well, the ones that attract mega millions at the box office. I just looked at the list of the top 20 grossing films from 2007 – of those 20, 18 have male leads, one is half and half (knocked up), the one with a female lead, enchanted – came in as the last on the list 20th out of 20. Is it ok for me to ask the question whether or not it’s more ok for a female to go to a dude’s movie than it is for a dude to go to a chick-flick? Kind of seems that way.

  2. fjord: i think it’s more than ok to ask that– i think that’s exactly the problem: constructed masculinity. “real men,” even if they’d prefer to go to the Ugly Truth (read: any chick flick) this weekend, will instead go to GI Joe (read: any dude movie as you say) because that’s what guys do. a group of guys wouldn’t be caught dead at a chick flick and will only go “under duress” or if a female is present in the group (mother/sister/or girlfriend preferred).
    Also, the “dude movies” are the standard– women will attend them, no problem, because masculinity and maleness is/are still valued, culturally, over femaleness and femininity. And until we reach a happy medium where Masc. + Fem. are treated, valued, and embodied equally I don’t think we’ll see any changes.
    just more pendulum swinging.

  3. The sexism was the most loathesome part of this, and all other action movies. I really was pissed to see the intelligent Aussie from the first one was ditched this time around…Sam should’ve dumped Mackayla for her, and skipped college altogether.

    Let us collectively weep over the fact that the last good female action role was Ellen Ripley in the Alien series, and that part was written for a man! Lara Croft is a joke in cut-offs, and while Zoe Saldana (my new hero) does rule as Uhura she doesn’t get much action.

    • buckingthewave

      I must respectfully disagree and suggest that Beatrix Kiddo was amazing and truly ass-kicking. (And Vernita Green and Elle Driver and O-ren Ishii were all mighty ass-kickin as well.)

      And what about characters like Aeon Flux, Jane Smith, Trinity, Irina Spalko….there have to be more that I’m overlooking….tired brain: think! Granted, substantial, ass-kicking parts for women are few and far between in Hollywood (here’s where I will join in the collective weepage)— but let us celebrate what we can! Yes?

  4. I was taken to this movie on a date. I was very excited to see it, having recently watched the first Transformers. However, it was disgusting to hear the ‘oohs’ and comments made during the totally pointless running scene of Fox and the ‘sexy’ scenes of the girls. I felt that Fox was not nearly as BA as she was in the first film and totally a sex object. I will admit that she is beautiful, but is it really necessary to use her as a prop and not an actress? LAME!

    • I will admit that she is beautiful, but is it really necessary to use her as a prop and not an actress?

      brilliantly put.

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