Transformers 2 is the story of a severely disturbed young man who retreats into a vivid fantasy life to avoid the trauma of living with two severely mentally handicapped parents. Director Michael Bay presents Sam Witwicky as a great study of a character who has too much responsibility and wishes to escape it all. Clearly Sam is the rock that tethers his deranged parents to reality, and when he gets ready to leave for college, their whole world comes crumbling down. Bay cleverly represents this by having Sam’s childhood home get destroyed by his imaginary robot pals. Bay cuts between scenes of confusing, and poorly thought out fantasy, and heartbreaking family drama, to further play up how much the burden of his mentally retarded parents has affected his life. In one scene of pure cinematic genius Bay reveals how deep Sam has retreated into his rich interior world, by having an enormously attractive woman embrace, and kiss him after his house is destroyed. The brilliant camera work in this scene is what really conveys this retreat, by having the camera repeatedly circle around Sam and his fantasy ideal of a woman, bay begins to create a sickeningly dizzy display of emotion. Many spectators at my screening were beginning to get sick of all the camera rotation around this scene, and I smiled at how Bay got such a visceral, and real reaction from the audience with only his camera work. He is clearly an auteur to be revered.
Like any young man Sam envisions himself as the center of his fantasy world. In Sam’s fantasies he is the Christ like protagonist of some absurd struggle between warring robots. This reflects Sam’s real world responsibility as caretaker of his very very stupid parents. Intercut with heartbreaking scenes of his mother humiliating herself when Sam goes to college, are scenes of Sam rejecting his role as savior of the robots. Clearly this is all a metaphor for Sam rejecting stewardship of his childlike parents. Only when Sam’s fantasy world threatens to implode on itself in a sheer clusterfuck of amazing ridiculousity does he realize that cannot reject his duty of caring for his severely challenged parents.
Bay throws in several hints that Sam may be suffering some mental hangups himself with the portrayal of two grossly offensive illiterate stereotype robots, that seem to poke fun at how White people view Black culture, just by being so inherently thoughtless and offensive. Unfortunately the spectators at my screening seemed to think that these gross stereotypes were funny when they clearly, clearly were annoying and racist. Perhaps Bay can fix this in the just announced 5 hour long director’s cut.
Overall Transformers 2 is an excellent look at the life of a pathetic young man, and his burdensome mentally handicapped parents.