Last night I dragged Laura and her 15 yr. old brother to go see Transformers ROTF. Lots of cool effects, lots of explosions, lots of the endless spinning camera, lots of juvenile humor, and lots of complicated plot with little time devoted to it. There were also nice nods to the original cartoon series. A few moments of characterization, and a scene ripped right out of Star Wars (dialogue and all).
Most of this was expected when I bought my ticket. What surprised me most about the film was the sheer amount of money it brought in opening weekend: $200 million. This surprises me because this movie (demographically) is aimed squarely at teenage guys. Laura’s brother Ty thought it was the BEST movie he had ever seen. And I still have enough connection with my teenage self that I found parts of it really enjoyable.
But 20 million people in one weekend is a much wider scope than teenage boys. It led us to speculation about the immaturity of our culture as a whole.
Immaturity is not necessarily an evil thing, and this movie is a great case study for that. The messages were never wrong (as opposed to something like James Bond). It supported courage, selflessness, commitment, loyalty. It just never understood or communicated them very well.
It is a natural part of any growth process. The real problem occurring if there is no (or downhill) growth which sadly pretty well describes America’s cultural history.
There are a couple of questions that arise; the first being is there any hope of our culture maturing? Or asked another way, has there been any other culture or civilization that has walked in mass maturity; or is immaturity the natural state of mass man after the Fall?
The other major question is: how does an individual keep their maturity in an immature culture (without becoming isolated or an elitist)?
In the meantime here are some pictures of my transformers: