05 December 2008

Mechy McMecherson

"Antique" was the first story of mine featured on 365tomorrows. I haven't changed anything except for adding one adjective. (Hint: the word has a double-C in it.) It is the last reprint you'll see here at 512 Words or Fewer.

Who doesn't love giant robots? Well, except me while watching the Michael Bay bastardization version of Transformers.


I have many problems with that movie, but chief among them is something I've said about much better shows: it is insufficiently rigorous. I remember reading a Wired article about the visual effects, in which the filmmakers go on and on about how they wanted their robots to be more "transform in a believable way," and to that end required the art designers to use actual car parts in the humanoid forms and change Optimus Prime's distinctive shape. I still prefer the old-school anime robot designs, with blocky limbs and smooth edges, but at the time, I was willing to give them the benefit of a doubt.

And then I actually saw the movie, in which (SPOILER ALERT) not only does Bumblebee transmute his physical structure from a 1976 Camaro to the 2009 model, but the magical Allspark gives life to inanimate technological objects--which, by the way, also allows them to sprout guns and rockets whose manufacture would require materials not present in the original object, such as chemical propellants and explosives.

Now, I suppose you could argue that transforming from car to robot is a merely mechanical action, while the aforementioned subatomic transmutation of fucking matter requires more energy (or Energon, as the case may be) and happens only rarely. But in that case, why wouldn't the folks who captured Megatron and the Borg Allspark cube be working like crazy to figure out how to turn lead to gold, instead of just reverse-engineering cell phones with bad reception?

Let's not even talk about John Turturro getting peed on. Just... no.

I mean, if you want to see unapologetic giant robot phallic imagery, go rent Robot Jox. I'm not going to say it's a good movie, but it was co-written by actual science fiction writer Joe Haldeman and correctly depicted the silent vacuum of space (as did 2001: A Space Odyssey and Firefly).



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