This blog is dedicated to Ken Savage.
Bayformers was on last night.
Including the commercial breaks it was on for eight and a half hours. It’s better than the sequel (the only film that has EVER put me to sleep), enjoyable even, but there is something not quite right about it, something is missing.
Let me think, let me think… Orson Welles. Orson Welles isn’t in it.
He IS however in Transformers: The Movie, the greatest animated film ever made*.
If you were to hop into a DeLorean, travel back to 1991 and crack open my skull (which you won’t because I’d remember it, I think) this film would fall out. As far as I’m concerned no other film has so beautifully captured what it’s like to be six years old.
I’m convinced, absolutely convinced that Director Nelson Shin handed his son the toys, filmed him for two hours and animated the results. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I mean it as a huge compliment. My favourite part of Toy Story 3 was the opening scene, a deliriously ludicrous and illogical action sequence that brought to life the deliriously ludicrous and illogical action sequences that only a child can conjure. It’s a great scene, but Transformers: The Movie got there twenty four years earlier.
There are robot dinosaurs, robot insects, robots who have small robots inside them, robots that turn into guns, robots that turn into bigger guns!, pink robots (for the girls, yuck!), robots that turn into sharks, a robot that turns into a planet and even robots who stand on top of each other and make one big robot. And crucially, they never stop fighting.
And when it comes to the fighting there’s no balletic Yeun Wo-Ping choreography to the proceedings. They just stand there and shoot each other, occasionally hurling themselves at each other and falling
down the stairs into the kitchen off a cliff. Most of the robots die, some come back to life (just because). One doesn’t and dear Lord it’s a big scene. The robot in question is hooked up to a heart monitor(!?) as the other robots look on. The monitor beeps and beeps, then stops. The Robots didn’t cry but the little kid watching did (and I don’t mean Daniel).
The dialogue is delicious. “I’ve got better things to do tonight than die!” roars Springer. The guy’s a helicopter, what the hell was he planning to do? It doesn’t matter, this is how giant transforming robots talk! (Wikipedia tells us that he later became romantically attached to the female autobot Arcee. That is just beautiful).
And the soundtrack, God help me, the soundtrack. This is what the guitar was invented for. Remember in Bill and Ted when they travel to the future and their music has united the world? That’s this soundtrack. I worry that I’m too new around here to proclaim so aggressively how much I love the music in this film. When I hear ‘Dare’ by Stan Bush I leap out of whatever seat I’m in and just sprint in whatever direction I’m facing, I can’t help it. It is everything that was pure about the eighties.
Bayformers doesn’t have any of this. It has a Chihuahua in a cast and John Turturro getting urinated on. Bayformers 2 has casual rascism that would make Nick Griffin blush and a middle aged woman “intoxicated” after eating a cake.
Six year old Michael is very upset.
*For the purpose of this blog.
Fun Fact: Spike’s real name is… wait for it… Sam Witwicky. So hopefully in about fifteen years time Michael Bay’s continuity will have caught up and we’ll get a live action version of this masterpiece.