'Transformers': One Way It's Kind of Brilliant

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures Few would argue Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise is for intellectuals or cinephiles. They are critically reviled, written off as overstuffed and incoherent mish-moshes of extravagant explosions, loud noises, product placements, scantily clad women and terrible dialogue. (Anyone remember John Tutturo uttering the line "I am directly below enemy scrotum" in Revenge of The Fallen ?) But there’s one aspect of the series that doesn’t get enough credit — and it is actually kind of brilliant. It’s the franchises reliance on a popular bastion of fiction known as secret histories, a concept that it’s used to justify the perpetuation of this franchise from a storytelling standpoint, no matter how thinly scripted the final products actually are. For the unfamiliar, a secret history is a version of historical events that differ from what is commonly accepted as what happened. Simply put, what if Stanley Kubrick really did fake the moon landing in 1969 or Lyndon Johnson was behind the JFK assassination? Unlike the genre of alternate history (a la The Man in the High Castle ), secret histories do not run counter to our own timeline of events. Rather, they play out just as the history books […]

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