Happy Belated Fourth of July to you and yours!
First off, I want to thank those who serve in the US Military for allowing us to celebrate another Independence Day. It is because of the sacrifice, courage and commitment of our Armed Forces that we are as a nation, Independent. Think about it. Our Armed Forces, the US Military, safeguards the great American experiment. We wouldn't have any independence to celebrate if not for their efforts. I got in to it with a friend of mine whose opinion I respect about the front page of the New York Times on the fourth this year. The top half was a picture of a sturgeon jumping out of the water (an incredible picture by the way), and the caption attempted to warn people of the dangers of boating during sturgeon mating season or something. I was annoyed that the New York Times couldn't at least attempt a half-assed tribute to the overall significance of Independence Day, and my friend sort of made fun of me for expecting that. I guess I expect too much out of the Ole Grey Lady to throw us independents a bone on Independence day, but this really annoyed me. Papers like the New York Times wouldn't exist without the sacrifices of soldiers like Marcus Luttrell and Danny Dietz, yet the great moral equivocator that is the NYT thought it would be more patriotic to warn people about jumping FARKING STURGEON then give a little tip O' the cap to America and those who make our independence possible. My friend said something along the lines of "what, do you want a flag across the whole page or something like USAToday?" and for lack of a better response I answered "well, yeah." What I never said, and wished I had was "I would hope that on the day that we celebrate the 200 -plus years of our countries INDEPENDENCE, that on this day the media would take the time to REPORT the things that people do to keep us INDEPENDENT."
That would of course require the New York Times to report something patriotic, which apparently is no longer allowed at that newspaper. I wonder if this has anything to do with their shrinking paid-subscription base. Probably not, but I'd be lying if I didn't hope so.
This brings me to TRANSFORMERS, the recent Michael Bay explosion adventure, that was executive produced by Steven Speilberg. I've been excited about this movie for about a year when they had a trailer teaser that showed the Mars Beagle Rover being accosted by a Transformer. Right then I knew that if they made this movie truly as horrifying as the idea behind the TRANSFORMERS made-for-kids cartoon about a technologically super-advanced alien race trying to destroy the earth, and Spielberg was in, this would be big.
I was not disappointed. We can give Bay a mulligan for Pearl Harbor now, because this movie was two and a half hours of what I want to see when I pay $9 for a movie about a technologically super-advanced alien race trying to destroy the earth. The special effects in this movie were like nothing I've seen in anything before, including Star Wars or the Matrix, for example. The robot characters gave the CGI effects room to really push the envelope in movie making, and there were several moments in the film where you really had to wonder- "did they actually build a walking thirty foot tall robot for this scene or what?". What I wasn't expecting was the simplistic nature of the message from the plot of the TRANSFORMERS story, that of the good guys defending the right of everyone to be INDEPENDENT and free from those bad guys who wish to destroy us and take our independence away, coming through in such a profound and meaningful way. I mean, this is a cartoon movie, right?
Well, since I was expecting Hollywood to ruin what I thought would be another Speilberg sleeper by making the moral of the story about global warming and how we all need to drive hybrids now or something; for them to make the moral about FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE without any moral-equivalency was probably my favorite part of the whole movie.
Well, that and the awesome frikkin' robot fights. I mean, come ON! They were AMAZING.
Here I was, annoyed with the New York Times for ignoring the Fourth of July, and a cartoon movie comes along and Hollywood picks up the slack. I was truly caught off-guard. So if you're looking for this summers "I have to see this one at the theater no matter what" movie, TRANSFORMERS will qualify handily.
Oh, and screw the New York Times. "More than meets the eye" indeed.