Known Johnson

August 2, 2007

The ridiculous unreality of Transformers

Filed under: Video — Tom @ 11:38 am

You’d think that if anyone were to dispute Transformers‘ in terms of realism, it would be due to the obvious element – robots that disguise themselves as vehicles. That’s patently ridiculous. Some have even taken issue with the robots being represented in such ludicrously “realistic” ways (rather than being the simple, blocky shapes they were in the 80s cartoon.) But no, not me, a space geek. I was perfectly happy suspending my disbelief to allow a reality in which robots descend upon the earth, take on the shape of popular GM products, and proceed to attack each other and us. No, my biggest issue with the film is when some government lackeys explain to others that we already knew about the “robots in disguise.” They then show a quick, top-secret video of what is obviously one of the Mars rovers rolling off its lander, then rapidly being attacked by what is obviously one of the Decepticons. Over this, one of them says that the Beagle 2 rover was attacked and destroyed by this robotic presence. Why do I have a problem with this, of all damned things? Because Beagle 2 is real. It is a British lander sent to Mars in 2003 that disappeared on entry into the planet’s atmosphere. Let me emphasize that again, so you can catch my issue: It is a British lander. A lander, not a rover. There was no rover involved in the Beagle program. NASA has the only space program sending robotic rovers to other planets, and so far only three have done so: Sojourner, Opportunity and Spirit (USSR sent two to Mars in the early 70s but one malfunctioned during entry and the other landed but stopped working after 14 seconds.) What’s my problem with this? The writers were lazy, super, stupid lazy.

Most writers in most movies would have just made up a rover name but instead our Transformers team opted to use something real, something some people out there would know about. Why?! Why not make up something that can’t be fact-checked? I realize the whole premise of the movie is ridiculous, but if you’re going to be facetious about everything else, why have this one element be based on something real? I won’t say it ruined the movie for me, but it did seriously annoy me when the scene popped up.

Otherwise, awesome movie, if totally stupid.

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