Aside from being a two-hour-plus-long orgy of giant robots, explosions and giant robots exploding, the new Transformers movie offers something very special to its target audience (American men ages 25-34). It offers COMMITMENT.
Ours is a generation that grew up with nothing to rely on. Our parents are all divorced, we have no hope of pensions, we’re forced to rent until we’re in our fifties. Even the goddamn communists couldn’t be bothered to stick it out to give us something concrete to shake our fists at. Our entire lives have been marked by nothing so much as inconstancy, disappointment and change.
That, and Transformers.
Yes, Hasbro and its various partners noticed us in the mid 1980s and saw something special. They saw a need for permanence, for reliability, for something we could COUNT on. And so a bond was formed between our lost tribe of Gen-X castaways and a concerted and far-reaching campaign aimed at selling us things. The Deal was simple:
We would compel our parents to buy us toys and, in return, the cabal of studios, manufacturers and distributors would never, ever leave us.
When we tired of the first toys, they would generate new waves to accommodate us - dinosaurs that turned into robots, bugs that turned into robots, space shuttles that turned into trains that turned into robots. We spent our youths accidentally snapping the legs off of those robots, losing their guns and hands and learning to see the world through the eyes of a six-story high Mack truck with legs.
Eventually, however, we reached our turbulent adolescent years. We were TOO COOL for Transformers. We turned our back on the Deal. But the Deal never gave up on us. Like some wise Old Testament father-figure, it waited patiently for our rebellious stage to pass. And, of course, a generation of Prodigal Sons returned to find that there were remastered DVD collectors sets of the old TV shows available, special edition versions of Transformers: The Movie (1986), re-released versions of the die-cast metal toys of our youth. We purchased them. As always, the Transformers were there.
And now, as we enter our forth decade of life, we are given a new gift - Michael Bay’s Transformers. Yes, it’s a thrill-ride of epic robotic violence that has energized the men of our generation in one, giant, perfect “FUCK YEAH!” moment of fellowship, but more importantly, it’s the Deal - sole provider of boundless, reliable fidelity - telling us in the voice of Peter Cullen:
It’s time to buy a Camaro.