The biggest movie of the summer just seems to be rife with news. Some viewers and reviewers have been accusing Michael Bay’s new Transformers movie of being racist. Silly yeah? Well perhaps not so much.
A pair of Autobot twins in Revenge of the Fallen, Skids and Mudflap, have been labeled as racist stereotypes. The reasoning behind this is their characterization. Both speak like an urban stereotype, have big ears, buck teeth, and apparently don’t know how to read. Further damning evidence points at the gold plated teeth Skids has.
The blame for the characterizations of these characters has been passed around. Starting at the screenplay writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who also wrote Star Trek and Watchmen together, who blame Michael Bay saying “I think a lot of what we did was following Michael’s lead. Those characters, more than any other, he had the strongest instinct for. Our job was to keep up with him.”
Bay passes the blame to the voice actors, Tom Kenny(voice of Spongebob Squarepants) and Reno Wilson, saying “When you work with voice actors, especially with the twins, they did a lot of improv for their parts. We liked their improv and, from there, we would animate to their stuff. When you’re doing character animation and you’re building the character, it’s not like an actor where you shoot the scene and you’ve got it and you move on.”
Wilson, best known for his role in the Cosby show apparently, argues that the mannerisms are from watching and downloading human culture from the internet. Yeah, that doesn’t help much.
Further accusations fall on a several stereotypical items through out the movie. A bucktooth black man who works at a Jewish deli, a noodle eating Chinese man, a french mime, and a Parisian restaurant that sells Snails.
As for my views I can’t quite say. I have yet to see the movie, and what I’m reporting on is second hand. I can’t help but think that these accusations of racism might just be the views of some people being subconsciously racist. Then again, I never really saw Jar Jar Binks as a racist caricature, so who am I to speak?