Friday, October 7, 2011

Missing Megan Fox

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I really like Megan Fox, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think, me being a guy and all. Sure, she's drop-dead gorgeous -- I'd have to be blind as a bat not to have noticed and trust me, I've noticed. But what I like about her so much is her role in the first two Transformer films. No, I'm not talking about the cutoff jean shorts she wears in both, though I noticed them as well. I mean her character.

Megan (if she's reading this, I hope she doesn't mind the familiarity) plays Mikaela Banes, a pretty young woman with a past. Her father has a prison record for grand theft auto and she, a juvenile record for having been his presumed accomplice. She has another liability, however, and that's her beauty and sex appeal. Like far too many women, she has a history of being regarded as a trophy.

In the first film, her boyfriend is a muscular, good-looking, football player who treats her like a possession once too often. She knows there's something wrong with the guys she's chosen to date, she doesn't like the pattern, and she has sufficient inner strength to do something about it. As she's walking home, along comes the film's hero, Sam Witwicky. Sam is everything the other guys could never be: overtly insecure, honest, and down deep, utterly courageous.

In the first installment of the trilogy, Mikaela is not only a match for Sam, in some ways she is even more heroic. For instance, when they're attacked by a mini-decepticon, she grabs a power saw and goes to work, rescuing him. During the final battle against Megatron, she is determined to save Bumble Bee by hooking him up to a tow truck and then drives it backwards down a wreckage-strewn street while he shoots at the bad guys. I love that scene.

In Revenge of the Fallen, her character is a little more traditional and her biggest challenge seems to involve convincing Sam to tell her that he loves her. Sam, how crazy do you have to be to have someone like her around and dither about saying, "I love you?" Get a clue, buddy. Anyway, that bothered me, the fact that she wasn't permitted to be the totally gutsy chick she was in Transformers. Her character wasn't just beautiful, she was admirable.

Now we come to Dark of the Moon and there's no Megan Fox. Instead, we've got a blond babe whom Sam has decided is the love of his life. She flirts with other guys and then minimizes her behavior, she's essentially focused on the accumulation of expensive toys, and perhaps, worst of all, she has absolutely no idea what makes Sam tick. You tell me what's wrong with this picture.

If we wanted to get psychological, we'd have to ask why Sam hooked up with her in the first place. According to the story line, he and Mikaela had a fight, broke up, and rather than do what any man with a lick of sense would do, i.e. turn himself inside out to get Mikaela back, he lets her go. Sam clearly has far too much pride for his own good. It's what kept him from declaring his feelings in Revenge of the Fallen and it comes back to haunt him in Dark of the Moon. We could be Freudian and say the new girl is more like his mother, but we really don't have enough character development to go that route. We do know, however, that Mikaela and his mother are two very different kinds of women and that could explain a lot.

For whatever reasons the producers decided Megan's character wasn't meant to be a part of the last film, I miss her. I liked Mikaela's resourcefulness and willingness to take a risk. Her response to Sam's question, "Fifty years from now, when you're looking back on your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get into that car?" is one with which I, as an older medical student, can well identify. I also liked the fact that she wasn't squeaky clean. She had a past she was ashamed of but she refused to let that prevent her from something better. Her wounds made her human and more interesting. Best of all, I think, she didn't allow herself to be paralyzed by fear. She could be counted on in the clinches and was capable enough to be a participant in the action rather than a hand-wringing damsel-in-distress. Definitely the right kind of gal and why I'm missing Megan Fox.

(Image of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen via

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