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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


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#1 Artaban

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 10:30 AM

I haven't seen it yet, and was curious to hear what people think, especially after the claims of racism.  I also read one review that said their were f-bombs all over and a few sex scenes, while another claimed the only "sex scene" was a decepticon dog humping Megan Fox.  Can any one set the record straight?  



#2 Arma virumque

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 12:13 PM

I didn't find it racist.  I know what people are pointing to when they make that claim, but I don't think I would have given a second thought to those characters if I hadn't been primed by the controversy.

I'm normally sensitive to excessive profanity, and I don't remember being offended by this movie.  So either there weren't a lot of f-bombs, or I have become more jaded than I realize.  Which I would find sad, but I can't completely rule out....

[MINOR SPOILER ALERT]

As for the "sex scenes," I would say "No."  Not in the most literal sense of the word.   There are a few carefully posed (but clothed) "Pinup moments," as my wife described them.  And there's a hot-looking woman who tries hard to take the male lead character to bed, and halfway succeeds.  But there's no nudity that I can recall, and at most some quick flashes of underwear.  So in the language of the ratings board, I guess I would say "Yes" to "sexual themes and situations" (but not many) and "no" to nudity or any simulation of actual sex (unless you count the Decepticon robot-dog...).

Hope that helps...



#3 Advent

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 02:05 PM

Artaban said:

I haven't seen it yet, and was curious to hear what people think, especially after the claims of racism.  I also read one review that said their were f-bombs all over and a few sex scenes, while another claimed the only "sex scene" was a decepticon dog humping Megan Fox.  Can any one set the record straight?  

It is quite clear that Skids and Mudflap are meant to be racial caricatures (and there are others in the movie). You get 3 guesses as to which racial group (you'll know in approximately .01 seconds within being introduced to them - GOLD TEETH, really?), but, if you miss the first guess I'm legally and morally obligated to slap you.

Imagine Jazz from the first move except aprroximately 2,000 times worse. At least in the first movie it was kind of endearing. Kind of. At least the first movie was good, though. It's not offensive enough to where I wouldn't see the movie again but it did kind of ruin a lot of movie for me (kind of like Jar Jar Binks did). I don't know if I'd called the movie racist, though. It's not really. Just in HORRIBLY bad taste.

This was a a lot more "adult" film than I expected, tbh.



#4 ktom

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 02:19 PM

Advent said:

It is quite clear that Skids and Mudflap are meant to be racial caricatures (and there are others in the movie). You get 3 guesses as to which racial group (you'll know in approximately .01 seconds within being introduced to them - GOLD TEETH, really?), but, if you miss the first guess I'm legally and morally obligated to slap you.

I find the full "backstory" kind of interesting here. The idea is that these are alien robots who learned Earth culture from the internet and other such sources. They adopted speech and mannerisms that they learned there. To that end, it can be argued (and has been) that these are not racial caricatures so much as caricatures of racial caricatures (i.e., it's more a stereotype of a "wannabe" than a stereotype of a "gangsta"). Whatever. Even more interesting (or actually, sad) is that the filmmakers and voice actors claim to have not even been aware of the effect during production.



#5 Arma virumque

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 04:09 PM

ktom said:

 

Even more interesting (or actually, sad) is that the filmmakers and voice actors claim to have not even been aware of the effect during production.

 

 

Perhaps I'm overly charitable, but I can see how that could happen.

Here's how I could imagine it:

1) Scriptwriter, in an attempt to make the comic relief "hip" for a younger audience, writes the lines with what he considers an "urban" (i.e., not necessarily "black") flavor.

2) Casting director, recognizing the urban influence in the script, casts two actors who can speak the lines believably.  Predictably, based on urban demographics, at least one is black.  (I've heard that the other one is white, but I don't really know.)

3) Animators, in an attempt to play up the comic relief aspect, exaggerate the facial expressions of the robots.  (Remember that these animators didn't even have to do lip-syncing, so they may not have actually listened to the dialog at all after they blocked out the words and the time frames required.)

4) As a consequence, without anybody intending it specifically, suddenly you've got an eye-rolling, head-wagging caricature of black roles from many years ago (in only a few scenes, I might add).

5) Editors and director, who are blinded by knowing what they intended to create, are unable to see what they have created with complete objectivity.  I see the same thing time and again when I'm asked to give feedback on something that somebody else has written.

 

I don't have any actual knowledge of the production (I'm not a big enough fan to care that much), so I might be mistaken on a factual basis.  But on a theoretical basis, I find it entirely plausible that something of this nature could happen by accident.

 

Obviously this is an issue that is much more sensitive to some people than others, and I don't mean to argue with anyone who took offense at the movie.  But for myself, as a general rule, I prefer to assume that people are mistake-prone rather than malicious.



#6 Artaban

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 04:59 PM

It's funny, my summer job is doing security at a Six Flags amusement park, and there are some pretty distinct behaviors I've noticed, that are largely dependent on (but not exclusive to) the ethnicities/"races".   I'd read an argument that there is no genetic difference significant enough to justify classifying homo sapiens racially as we do. 

It's mostly how cultures choose to express themselves or distinguish themselves from others.  Can we call such chosen things stereotypes?  I don't know.  I'd say 90% of the people I have to ask to conceal their underwear (sagging) are black males.  Most blacks don't sag, but of the people who do...

On the other end of the spectrum, my list of "you might be white trash if you..." begins with those who have more tattoos than teeth (and this characteristic extends equally to the white females--to my shame and disgust).  The juveniles who most often have to wait until midnight or 1 am to get picked up (park closes at 10 pm) are black, while I have more 3-10 year olds left unattended all day long (in a park with 15,000 strangers) who are white.   

Teen and tween males of all races tend to wear their hats askew (gang signs here).  There's plenty of craziness and stupidity to go around. 

Michael Bay's biggest problem has always been editing out unnecessary crap (the whole hacker subplot in the 1st movie).  I take it he continues the trend?



#7 Stag Lord

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 01:55 AM

I think its a little creepy how they are marketing megan Fox in a movie aimed at kids. Though i guess its really aimed at teens more than say 8-10 year olds...but still.

Disclaimer: not a Transformers fan, never saw the cartoon, probably will never watch the movies.



#8 LordofBrewtown

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 06:48 AM

Stag Lord said:

I think its a little creepy how they are marketing megan Fox in a movie aimed at kids. Though i guess its really aimed at teens more than say 8-10 year olds...but still.

Disclaimer: not a Transformers fan, never saw the cartoon, probably will never watch the movies.

I never watched the cartoons - but just saw the first movie on cable this past weekend.  Was pleasantly surprised, was extremely entertaining & worth a watch.  I'm not sure what to make of the second movie.  This is the first I've heard of the contraversy surrounding it/certain characters.  I didn't have any plans to see it in the theatre regardless; but, I am looking forward to seeing it on cable



#9 Arma virumque

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 09:13 AM

LordofBrewtown said:

 

Stag Lord said:

 

I think its a little creepy how they are marketing megan Fox in a movie aimed at kids. Though i guess its really aimed at teens more than say 8-10 year olds...but still.

Disclaimer: not a Transformers fan, never saw the cartoon, probably will never watch the movies.

 

 

I never watched the cartoons - but just saw the first movie on cable this past weekend.  Was pleasantly surprised, was extremely entertaining & worth a watch.  I'm not sure what to make of the second movie.  This is the first I've heard of the contraversy surrounding it/certain characters.  I didn't have any plans to see it in the theatre regardless; but, I am looking forward to seeing it on cable

 

 

Second movie's like the first -- if you have low expectations going in, you can set yourself up for the possibility of a pleasant surprise.



#10 LiquidIce

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 01:55 PM

Everything that was most criticised in Star Wars: Episode I (racial caricaturing, over-reliance on CGI; cliched story/dialogue) .. all that stuff is taken to even more extremes in this film. Once the little decepticon starts humping leg, the impression that the film is Too Stupid To Take Seriously is overwhelming & all thats left is to watch the pretty CGI & wait for more jokes.

The original Spielberg concept - about a boy and his car - was the emotional heart of the first film. But that's basically gone in this one. This one is pure Bay. It had flashes of some interesting ideas here & there but they really needed a professional scriptwriter to develop it.



#11 Deathjester26

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 08:03 PM

I liked it better than the first.  I think the action was better.

I could have done without the multiple humping jokes, transformer fart jokes (really?), and overall molesting of every female in the film by the camera.  ~Is Michael Bay a 13 yr. old boy?

As for the racial stuff, I had no real problems with it until the two robots made a crack about not being able to read.  At that point, even I was slightly offended.  They can be urban and funny without being racist.  Once you throw in the "too stupid to read" I begin to worry a bit.



#12 tallduncan

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 11:56 AM

I saw the first movie. It had too much low-quality teen comedy movie in my giant-robots-fighting movie.

I plan to watch RotF on cable, if ever.

Now, to re-watch my copy of Transformers: the Movie and rock out to Lion's Transformers theme.



#13 Old Ben

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 12:05 PM

Interesting fact about the auto bots talking in an urban style. I watched the movie today and in the german translation there was really no clue that the named auto bots were talking in an urban style, in the tranlation they seemed to be more childish than everything else. Even the reference that they can´t read was harmless in that context, i believed it was just a part of the story - though it didn´t make much sense why they couldn´t read their own language, but there were also other flaws in the story .

Sexual hints were also part of the movie, but to me they were more humorous attempts and no nudity etc. So i don´t think that anyone should feel offended by the suggestions they made.  

As an overall rating i would place the movie somewhere in the soft entertainment movie segment, not that much to think about just an average  story woven in an action movie with some nice effects.



#14 RJM

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 12:18 PM

Old Ben said:

As an overall rating i would place the movie somewhere in the soft entertainment movie segment, not that much to think about just an average  story woven in an action movie with some nice effects.

Yeah, this just about sums it up for me.  Went and saw it with the Mrs. this past weekend without any real expectations, just for an afternoon to kill together.  She enjoyed it the same as the first one, which she had liked well for just a 'fun' movie to watch.

I just keep in mind that Transformers is after all an entire franchise spun from an action figure line, which was in itself originally just cobbled together from obscure japanese toys to begin with.  So its all in fun at the end of the day for me.

The action/fights were actually pretty awesome in this one, and easier to follow as well.  The 'racial/social' stereotype robots weren't directly offensive to myself, but I could see how others might easily feel strongly about them.  I did feel they were completely over the top and distracting thought.  I think I can get what they might have been going for, but would say they missed the mark.

In the end, I wouldn't pay the $9 a ticket that major market theaters cost to see it, but we were in GA in a small town, and for $4.50 each I was pleasantly surprised (at times) and mostly entertained.






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