“Consider, for example, the first shot of Megan Fox in T2: ROTF. Understanding that Fox is to supply the film’s sex appeal for adolescents of all ages who love cars and chicks (and especially chicks in proximity to cars), Bay introduces his leading lady sprawled across a motorcycle wearing a tank-top, cut-off shorts, and cowboy boots. In case we still don’t get the message that Fox is SEXY, SEXY, SEXY, Bay has her thrust her ass up in the air to signify that either she or the bike is about to get mounted (and given the premise of the series, who’s to say what will fuck whom? Here I think we have to proceed from Freud’s assertion that all dreams of machinery are ultimately about the genitalia—a point elaborated on by his student Victor Tausk, who speculated that boyhood fascination with magical machinery is linked to the somewhat uncanny hydraulic mysteries of the erection. Actually, we need go no further than the logic of the Transformers franchise itself to understand that she’s giving some lucky Bot here a Prince Albert or a Henna tattoo on his shiny metal glans).
One reason most “tasteful” critics find Bay appalling is that his “style” is so exceedingly obvious. The introduction of Fox’s character here unfolds much like a late-night spot for the Sham-Wow, so hysterically overloaded with signifiers of sex appeal as to become laughable (all that’s missing is some form of testimonial, perhaps a cutaway to a guy’s eyeballs popping out a la Tex Avery). The “objectification” of Fox is in itself extremely obvious. But this “objectification” goes beyond simply making her a slab of meat on display (I mean, really, who would care about that anymore?); it also renders her—like every other “character” in T2:ROTF—a functional object, or perhaps more accurately, a cog that simply takes its place in the overall schematic of the story. As befitting a director who makes movies about trucks that turn into robots and robots into trucks—all rendered with a clean, hypervisible attention to each detail of the transformation—Bay’s movies do little to disguise, nuance, or even delay the functionality of each individual “part.” Establish that Megan Fox is the sexy girlfriend. Check. Moving on.