So, Transformers 3 is the number 1 movie in the world right now. If you are one of the hordes of millions who follows my FaceBook, you know I contributed to that ranking over the 4th of July weekend, in spite of “concerns” about Transformers 3. First, there was the Megan Fox controversy. Dark haired, blue-eyed, tall, confident, slightly tomboyish hottie (it’s like we’re the same!) fired by Director and Producer with a “16 year old boy” sense of sexuality. Replaced with a blonde lingerie model. >:|
There had also been subtle grumblings that Milwaukee’s featuring was less than optimized. >:|
I decided to hold my breath and see it anyway. At 153 minutes, at least it is some value for money . . . . And thar she blows! It was full of explosions and adventures and you’ve gotta love Deep Wang. I guess there was some consternation in Chicago about flattening Second City—I’d actually take that as a compliment. Hollywood is always flattening New York and LA, it’s like you’re in the Club now.
On that, I had thought the finale of T3 was going to be a “battle for the Earth.” However, it seems that only Chicago got kersploded, along with the Lincoln Memorial. So that was a bit of a plot transformation, although that might have been my imagination . . . .
What was not my imagination was that yes, Sam’s girlfriend is now a “blonde.” I swear that’s a dye job, which doubles the snubbing of the brunette lobby as far as I’m concerned. Plus, she’s ridiculous—without being crude, her lines mostly consist of screaming “Sam,” she spends about half of her time on screen doing various stripper moves, and her outfits are definitely a throwback to her lingerie model days. Who dresses that way to go to work? Megan Fox’s character was a mechanic—there was a reason she was walking around in denim and a t-shirt. This woman is supposed to be an office professional and she’s prancing about in stuff that looks like she’s wearing a towel. Seriously? And the bootie drop during the Battle for Chicago? Really? Megan, you are my hero for saying no to that script.
Feminist rant aside, the real damage here is not to Chicago or the role of women in blockbuster cartoon movies. You may have noticed a rather remarkable all white building featured towards the beginning as the car museum/lair of evil. It was Girlfriend’s place of work. Supposedly she and Sam are living together in a back alley warehouse loft apartment that looks like something out of New York and looks like nothing I’ve seen in nine years in DC. She—and her Australian accent—left a job at the British Embassy that took her to the waiting room of the Oval Office for a job as a rich guy’s assistant.
If you are familiar at all with DC, you are probably asking yourself, where is that building? Looks like it could/ should be on the Mall, or near the new Air Force Memorial. Is that the new Marine Corps Museum down in Quantico? Baltimore Harbor? Annapolis perhaps?
Nope, it’s Milwaukee. Wisconsin. That’s right, Girlfriend commutes 1800 miles twice a day from her Lower Manhattan loft apartment in DC to Milwaukee.
So, the Calatrava. Designed by the Crown Prince of Living Starchitects, Santiago Calatrava, engineered and built by hometown Milwaukee companies, an aesthetic and cultural risk, a huge financial investment, in a traditional, understated and even conservative at times community, a fiscally-strapped town with a don’t spend it all in one place mentality—that paid off. Ten years and counting, the Calatrava is gaining a certain amount of notoriety as a top 21st century “looking at” building, a signature piece of architecture on the shores of Lake Michigan. Separated from the traditional downtown of Beaux Arts, Arts & Crafts and Medieval Renaissance Revival buildings, the Calatrava is a departure from the past and a glance into the future.
All well and good, except now everyone from artistic Swedes to Kalahari Bushmen are going to think that the Calatrava is in DC. Great.
To paraphrase a famous American, “Hollywood has made a Monument to Itself.”
So, once more with feeling. If you thought that modern, gullwing building in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, was really cool, and you want to check it out, it is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Western shore of Lake Michigan. Festivals at the Lakefront all summer. State Fair in West Allis in August—gotta stop by the cream puff pavilion.