Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has now blasted its way into theaters and IMAX and after just one day, the movie has managed to break box office records ($60 mil!), incite controversy (minstrel Autobots Mudflap and Skids), and, of course, spark (unconfirmed) rumors of an inevitable sequel.
Oh yeah, and the film has been taking a “record-breaking” beating in the review columns. Not that Michael Bay care$.
WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS HEAVY SPOILERS ABOUT TRANSFORMERS 2.
If you’ve seen our Transformers 2 discussion forum (or looked just about anywhere else on the known Internet), then you’ve surely seen the outcry from both fans and critics about “The Twins” Mudflap and Skids, two new characters that were introduced in Revenge of The Fallen.
The problem? The Twins have been almost universally pegged as the most offensive racial stereotype on film since Jar-Jar Binks. The two Robots talk in southern crunk drawls, use profanity almost every other word, talk slang like “bust a cap in somebody’s ass,” and proudly admit to being illiterate. Oh, and one of them even has a gold tooth.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Michael Bay sort of kind of denied the accusation of racial insensitivity:
“We’re just putting more personality in…I don’t know if it’s stereotypes – they are robots, by the way. These are the voice actors. This is kind of the direction they were taking the characters and we went with it.”
So… basically he’s saying that, as the DIRECTOR he wasn’t keeping close eye on the development of the characters in his movie? On how they might be perceived, who they might offend or what kind of controversy they might stir? Yikes.
Bay later added (brilliantly) in his defense:
“I purely did it for kids, Young kids love these robots, because it makes it more accessible to them.”
There is TOO much loaded into that statement for this blogger to touch. Just good to know that (in Michael Bay’s humble opinion) Mudflap and Skids are the avenue to reaching today’s youth. Double yikes.
Transformers 2 writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman are wisely putting up an umbrella (ella, ella) to shield themselves from this s-storm. Apparently, this “ghetto fab” version of Mudflap and Skids was a shock to them (the writers) as well. As they told Film School Rejects:
Orci: Number one, we sympathize. Yes, the gold tooth was not in the script, that’s true.
Kurtzman: It’s really hard for us to sit here and try to justify it.I think that would be very foolish, and if someone wants to be offended by it, it’s their right. We were very surprised when we saw it, too, and it’s a choice that was made. If anything, it just shows you that we don’t control every aspect of the movie.
Kurtzman and Orci are pretty good guys in my experience, so I for one gladly give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, this has studio idiocy written all over it; when you think about it, Paramount had to clear this depiction of The Twins at some point, so no matter what Bay or the voice-actors were up to, the studio should’ve known better.