Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Racist?

Friday, June 26, 2009

I haven't seen the movie yet so I can't really weigh in on this but still thought I'd post up on it:

From Boston.Com:

Some of the new ’bots are fairly clever, too: an old codger (Turturro again), a sassy little Brooklynite voiced by Tom Kenny. They’re dopey enough to drive the fanboys nuts - oh, the disrespect - but they do liven up the show. Still, what are we to make of Mudflap and Skids (both Kenny), a pair of shuck-and-jive Autobots who talk in ridiculous gangsta-speak. The insultingly unfunny comic relief of “Transformers,’’ they’re Jar Jar Binks times two and the first known example of robot blackface.
From Yahoo News:

Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern described Binks in 1999 as a "Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit," a reference to a black character from the 1920s and '30s that exploited negative stereotypes for comic effect. Extending that metaphor to the "Transformers" sequel was AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire, who calls Skids and Mudflap "Jar Jar Binks in car form."

And Manohla Dargis, film critic for The New York Times, takes it a step further, writing that the "Transformers" characters were given "conspicuously cartoonish, so-called black voices that indicate that minstrelsy remains as much in fashion in Hollywood as when, well, Jar Jar Binks was set loose by George Lucas." [...]

TV actor Reno Wilson, who is black, voices Mudflap. Tom Kenny, the white actor behind SpongeBob SquarePants, voices Skids. Neither immediately responded to interview requests for this story.

Here's also a post down at UBJ which brings up the another side to the story.

Do with it all what you will.