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In this article, I want to show how a kind of Ballardian autogeddon manifests in Michael Bay's science fiction blockbuster film Transformers , an extrapolation of the s Hasbro toy line and subsequent cartoon series. Clearly Bay's film is a different animal, devoid of the graphic sex and violence of Ballard's novel as well as David Cronenberg's film adaptation.
Transformers does sport its fair share of innuendo and even an explicit reference to masturbation, but it's made for a teenage audience, rated PG, unlike the NC- 1 7 rating Cronenberg's film received and the X-rating we can readily apply to Ballard's book, despite the clinical, machinic language the narrator uses to describe sex acts. Moreover, unlike the Crash narratives, Transformers explicitly implicates the audience, fetishizing the actual vehicle as metaphoric and metamorphic vehicle while providing scopophilic agency for viewers.
This agency emerges from what Laura Mulvey has called "a manipulation of visual pleasure [ Ultimately, then, the film calls attention to itself as a highly stylized production of spectacular culture and the patriarchal technocapitalist motor that energizes it.
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The Covers of J.G. Ballard’s Crash: An Update
Ballard hastens to add that Crash is "a cautionary tale," a deadpan exploration of extreme atrocity in the mode of Swift's "A Modest Proposal. As the director freely admits, Cronenberg assumes the role of Vaughan for his audience: "'Things you normally look away from actually reveal a kind of beauty - a different aesthetic - and I'm going to convey that to you in as seductive a way as possible.
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AH: In Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition , you list perversions, mutilations, and unfortunate Intersections between flesh and metal. One gets the sense that these could be medical journals written for psychopaths.
Did you borrow this clinical tone from your experience as a medical student? JB: Oh, I think so.
Eye Magazine | Feature | Crash covers
The couple of years I spent as a medical student influenced, and goes on influencing, my fiction. I don't think I could have written either of those books without my medical experience. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page.
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