In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to first point out that I have not yet seen Transformers 3, nor do I have any real plans to do so. I would say though that it’s safe to assume Transformers 3 is a piece of garbage that will most likely transform into other pieces of garbage. The filmmakers have already hinted that they’re going to make not just another movie, but another trilogy. It seems like my F+ Award is too little too late.
The reason why I give T3 an F+ Award is not for the movie itself. That wouldn’t exactly be fair if I myself won’t sit through it. The reason why it earns a special F+ award is partially out of principle for Michael Bay’s decision to fire Megan Fox.
Again, I’m all about full disclosure, so let me go ahead and point out that I’m by no stretch of the imagination a fan of Megan Fox. The problem I have though is that she was fired and Michael Bay thought no one would care. In case you have been lucky enough not to have celebrity news constantly thrown in your face–maybe other countries are lucky in this respect–I’ll quickly summarize the reason for her firing. Apparently, around the time of filming Transformers 2, Fox was overheard comparing Michael Bay to Hitler. Bay then had a tizzy fit, launched a tirade against Fox saying that he was the one who made her a star, first casting her (according to IMDB) as “bikini kid” in Bad Boys 2, then in a starring role in Transformers. Did he really do her a favor? Bay and the rest of the studio execs then basically said it would not be a big deal to replace her because her character was ancillary to the plot of the series.
It’s not the firing that bothers me, it’s the way in which he said her character was replaceable. First off, whatever happened to artistic wholeness? There have been many, many times in the past when actors haven’t liked each other, or actors hated the directors, but the artists involved put aside their differences for the sake of their art. For instance, on the set of Star Wars, it’s very well known that Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford constantly argued with each other–but at least George Lucas didn’t fire one or the other during the filming of the trilogy. The trilogy itself is an art form that goes back to Greek dramas; in those at least characters were killed off, not just fazed out. I realize that the Transformers films barely count as art, but I do think Bay should have swallowed his feelings for the sake of at least giving fans consistency over the three films.
Here’s the big thing: Why, in the 21st century, are we even writing scripts and telling stories where the women characters are disposable? It seems to me Bay is saying, by firing her, that the girl can be any character, played by any actress, so long as she’s pretty. He’s made this overly clear by hiring a Victoria Secret model to now play the lead girl in T3.
I feel like since the seventies, sci-fi writers have made big strides in including female roles that are more than just eye-candy or damsels in distress. For instance, on the show Fringe, the character of Olivia has proven time and again to be more headstrong than her male peers. Fringe is written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Here’s something I’ll never understand: How could the writers of Fringe–a show I greatly enjoy–write Transformers 1 and 2? And how could they include in their script a replaceable female lead? I should point out that T3 is not written by them, but this summer’s Cowboys Vs. Aliens is, so I can only hope there are better female characters in that.
I think the funniest part of all of this is that Bay, by firing Megan Fox for calling him Hitler, didn’t exactly help distinguish himself from Hitler in the process. An egotistical, sexist man with way too many followers? A man who seems to love seeing things blown up? Although, if Fox really knew her history, you’d think she’d at least compare Bay instead to Goebbels.
Of course, this is all exaggeration and farce. Bay isn’t like Hitler–the most evil man in history–Bay is more like Hitler the failed artist. So, for all of the reasons I’ve listed and more, I’m giving Transformers 3 my first F+ Award in Artistic Achievement.
For more about the F+ Awards, click here.
I’ve written two reviews of recent sci-fi movies I’ve actually enjoyed: