Wednesday, September 16, 2009

But really, is there anything that DOESN'T make me think of Transformers?

What is satisfying about a mystery is that it is a puzzle we turn over in our heads, trying to solve. If we can't figure it out, when the detective finally reveals what happened, there is a feeling of, "Oh my gosh! It all makes sense now!" I'd like to say that I could have done this with "The Sixth Sense," given enough time, because I was noticing some things that seemed pretty weird.* Like, if I had to stop watching the movie before the "reveal," and the next time I watched it, I had to watch it from the beginning, that might have been enough time for me to figure it out.
T-Rex's idea here is not, properly speaking, a mystery story. It's another one of his "ahead of its time" experimental fiction ideas, and I think I like it a lot better than the last one. The trope of the "unreliable narrator" has been used many times, but the trope of the "disinterested narrator," as far as I know, does not exist. It would probably work best if the story became less about solving the mystery, and more about a corrupt detective making stuff up because he's not interested in legitimately solving the case. "L. A. Confidential" is a bit like that (a story about uncovering a police corruption mystery), but T-Rex's added element is that the narrator is not at all interested in telling the story as it unfolds, and is instead focusing on interior decoration. The readers are left to unravel the police corruption themselves, with no help from the narrator.

This makes me think of Michael Bay's "Transformers" and its ill-begotten sequal. The original cartoon was about robots from space having battles with each other, and there were a couple of humans who played supporting roles, but it was mostly the robots. Michael Bay's "Transformers" is not so much about robots from space as it is about a shy, unpopular teenager's romance with a smoking hot chick, in the midst of some robot battles that are not nearly as important as product placement and Megan Fox's breasts. And "Transformers 2" is about Michael Bay's obsession with military hardware, in which everyone else plays only a supporting role. Tanks! Aircraft carriers! Jets! Battleships!  These are on the screen far more than the robots or the humans. I'm glad I got as drunk as I did for that movie. I just regret that I did not get a second date with the girl I saw it with. Katie, if you're reading this, you should totally come over to my house so we can watch The Pirate Movie.


* - I generally attribute weird things to bad writing, which is one of the reasons I don't like reading mysteries very much. Too often, what is meant to be a clue, I attribute to bad writing.

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