Thursday, July 05, 2007

Anthony and Louis

Two must-reads in The New Yorker this week by my two favorite staff writers: Anthony Lane's review of Transformers, and Louis Menand's review of The Myth of the Rational Voter.

Setting Lane loose on Michael Bay is almost unfair -- well, no, it is unfair, but so entertaining that who cares about fairness? A taste:
The film that ensues is acrylically bright, and the only way to match its median sound level would be to blow up a trombone factory...

Long ago, when the impact of “Star Wars” was beefed up by a line of merchandise, some of us noticed that the five-inch Lukes and Leias possessed a depth and mobility that was denied to their onscreen counterparts, and, decades later, we have reached the reductio ad absurdum of that rivalry: rather than spin the toys off from the movie, why not build the movie from the toys?...

In previous movies, Michael Bay dabbled wearily in Homo sapiens. At last he has summoned the courage to admit that he has an exclusive crush on machines, and I congratulate him on creating, in “Transformers,” his first truly honest work of art.
Menand, meanwhile, is brilliant (as usual) in summing up and then arguing against the thesis of the book under review. I would excerpt it, but that wouldn't do it justice. Go and read it.


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