Tuesday, 7 August 2007
"No other device so lovingly preserves the boy's dream that every single object in the world is weaponized"
"During [Transformers] climactic battle (which takes place in Los Angeles, Nevada), there's a brief "shot" of the late-arriving Decepticon, Starscream (in his mechanical form as a jet) smashing into and blurring through a couple floors of an office tower. As if in a dream, we watch from a magical viewpoint, mid-air outside the office windows; they spool past like frames of film stock, detailing impossibly the interior stuff — desks, fluttering papers, bodies — being tossed asunder, before Starscream blasts out the building, leaving a defined exit wound. The sequence lasts less than two seconds, maybe less than one.
"And yet it is by far the most detailed reconstruction of the iconic violence from the events of September 11, 2001. Indeed, among visualizations, this is the one that has been pointedly disallowed, the image not recreated in the increasing wealth of historical recreations: we have been allowed to see the tower only from the outside, from pre-contact to the leaping bodies. To render that interior image from a perspective too close to reality would be, as we are all given to understand, somehow pornographic; one way to understand this movie is as a sort of measuring device displaying the necessary distance of fantasy at which the events in question can be screened. Or as a particular registration of the certainty that this one day in history is to be the Rosetta Stone of American cultural imagery for the foreseeable future.
"Meanwhile, this gets at the moment of truth within the Transformers franchise, and the occasional brilliance of this resurrection. No other device so lovingly preserves the boy's dream that every single object in the world is weaponized: cars, planes, bodies, existing beyond the capacities of conventional armies. Car-bomb, 9/11, suicide bomber: the fantasy of weaponization is merely the reality of asymmetric warfare, and the story of how it was finally brought to the United States. The movie really should be titled Transformers, or a Brief History of 21st Century Combat. Square-jawed officer Josh Duhamel's one task in the film is to deliver the news to just-a-boy hero Shia LaBoeuf: 'we're all soldiers now.' This, coming only a few moments after Starscream's arrival, is surely the most dispiriting moment in peculiarly dispiriting — which is to say, peculiarly affecting — film."
Jane Dark's Sugarhigh!