Transformers is a pile of garbage.
Every film in that series, from the first one with its terrible character development (what happened to Jazz?) to Age of Extinction with its ludicrous scenarios (Jeff Bridges is an Autobot! Optimus Prime is riding a metal T-Rex!), is nothing but pure trash.
It doesn’t bother me that these movies are awful. Some movies are bad—I get that. What bothers me is how much money they’ve made. What annoys me is that, grand total, the Transformers film series received $3.779 billion at the box office. What disturbs me is that, comparatively, Birdman, which won a solid 30 awards (among them Best Picture and Best Cinematography), only earned around $100 million. Nothing to shy at, but compared to the Transformers franchise, these earnings are minute, miniscule and disappointing.
Transformers is a movie where explosions emerge from nothing and computer generated robots punch one another, a movie that has more product placement than Times Square, a movie series that is cranked out time and again because Michael Bay knows that people will buy this crap, and what annoys me isn’t the fact that this film exists.
What frightens me is that this is what our culture wants.
This is what is successful; the numbers don’t lie. It’s not just what our culture wants, it’s what the world wants to see. That ridiculous number is a worldwide estimation. Which is to say, this is what the movie grossed in every nation.
This article is not a critique of the Transformers franchise (partly because I’m not allowed a big enough word count). Rather, this article is a cry for beauty. A cry for truth. A calling back to the things in this world that are good, true, and beautiful.
The reason that Michael Bay is allowed to keep making these movies is because his movies make money, and there’s a Transformers for every medium. Fifty Shades of Grey for books, Nickelback’s entire discography for music, etc. They make money. There’s no denying it. Because these pieces make money, they will not go away.
What truth do these things convey? Honestly, what is the point of these things? Perhaps to be able to tell the mediocre from the excellent, but then my question is: why are they so successful?
I put it to you: the portrait of the artist is not as a young man, but as a witness under oath, and the Christian artist even more so. Everything in our lives is to reflect the good, the true, and the beautiful. The world is so very quick to ignore the beauty in the world. Quoting comedian Demetri Martin, “I feel like the news should just be called ‘What’s Wrong’.” What, then, is the point of a work that does not reflect truth back to us but that exists for the sole purpose of making money and entertainment?
The world has plenty of beauty. Every 60 seconds, 287 people are born into this world; and every minute, a person falls in love, and a father hugs his child. These things are true, but in the same 60 seconds, 108 people died, a man was shot in the Middle East, and someone in India starved to death. These things are true.
This is the portrait of the artist: a sign pointing to the truth.