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Monday, June 29, 2009

Get Ready for More Robo-Racism!

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM


The Times breaks down Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's jaw-dropping box office success:

Horrid reviews couldn’t dent Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which demonstrated once again the power of sequels by selling an estimated $201.2 million in tickets at North American theaters over its first five days.

The huge No. 1 entrance to the marketplace was on par with last summer’s Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, which sold $203.8 million in tickets over the same period and now ranks as one of the biggest blockbusters in movie history with over $1 billion in global sales. Overseas Transformers sold $186 million in tickets in its first five days....

Few expect this Transformers to match the staying power of The Dark Knight because the new picture, directed by Michael Bay, with Steven Spielberg as executive producer, has received some of the worst reviews of the decade. Roger Ebert’s critique used the terms “horrible,” “unbearable,” “meager” and “music of hell” to describe it. (And that was just in the opening paragraph.)

Drawing particular scrutiny are two new robots, Skids and Mudflap, who talk in jive and are portrayed as illiterate; one has a gold tooth. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, two of the three credited screenwriters on the movie (the other is Ehren Kruger), have blamed Mr. Bay for the stereotyping. The director has brushed off the criticism in interviews.

Hear that, movie critics? No one gives two shits what you have to say about anythi—wait, wait! Hold up! Seriously? People are calling these guys racist? No fucking way!


I wish there was a clip or something of Skids and Mudflap on YouTube—you really don't get the full effect until you see them fist-bumping. Admittedly, these guys are just two more WTF things in an already-WTF movie, but christ, I can't think of a single black stereotype that Bay doesn't have his two minstrel-bots embody during the film—by the time the film's final battle arrives, one half-expects Skids and Mudflap to transform themselves into their car forms and drive to Popeyes. But c'mon—what're you getting all concerned and depressed for? Paramount's delighted with Transformers! Just look at their gloating press release!

"Michael Bay has once again proven he's an outstanding filmmaker with a unique ability to connect with audiences," said Paramount Pictures Corporation Chairman and CEO Brad Grey. "The entire Paramount family is proud to be behind him and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with him in the future."

"Proud to be behind him"? "Continuing our collaboration with him in the future"? $200 million five-day gross? Start getting excited for Transformers 3: The Skids and Mudflap Variety Hour, America! Because Michael Bay has a unique ability to connect with audiences, you see.

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