The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.

Hollywood is dying. The signs are clear. All you have to do is to have had the misfortune to watch Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. I did. I wish I could get those hours of life back - for I sure did waste them.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is a very distinguished movie. It distinguishes itself by being, in fact, the worst film I have ever seen. Since enduring it, I have tried very hard to recall anything as bad. Even Japanese Godzilla type nonsense is not as bad, for at least the special effects are amusing, in their ineptness. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, is just inept on every level that it is possible for a story to be inept. The plot is drivel. The characterization doesn't even begin. The acting is so "cardboard cutout" that I began to wonder why, in fact, cardboard cutouts were not, in fact, employed instead of Shia La Boeuf and Megan Fox, both of whom showed little evidence of acting ability. However, it is difficult to know where to lay the blame: was it the director for not directing them...or the editor/director team, for choosing to show them at their worst?

My favourite parts (for all the wrong reasons) were when Shia "I won't trouble you by actually acting" La Boeuf, went into a strange twitching fit every time he had messages from his splinter of the Allspark (I know...sounds like nonsense, doesn't it? Because, of course, it is...) The twitching was so overdone, each time, so monstrously overacted that it was abundantly clear that neither actor nor director had the remotest idea of how real people behave. I shall remember that twitching for a long time to come.

Michael Bay is famed for not directing - he just blows things up. He is a man who doesn't make movies, he makes money. However, that is why Hollywood loves him: Hollywood exists not to make movies, but to make money. If Hollywood could make more money not making movies, but just pretending that they do - they would stop making movies immediately. Oh, dear, they have already thought of that: Michael Bay's work is the evidence.

This "film"...well, actually, "series of explosions", distinguished itself in another way: it put me to sleep TWICE, despite the noise and the chaos. Perhaps it was the repetitiveness of it all that did it. I actually fell to sleep TWICE in the final 30 minutes explosive finale. It was the sheer dullness of those dull, seen them before, robots, fighting each other, in dull, seen them before, ways. It was the most boring half an hour I have ever suffered in a cinema.

Sadly, this "film" is not the great failure it deserves to be. Indeed it did 583 million dollars at the box office (in the US, I believe) in the first 5 days. Thus, the world's film audiences are damned to receive a deluge of such nonsense, in the future. That which makes most money, is that which will be most copied.

The big question is: why does a film as dire and dull as Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, do so well at the box office?

My only conclusion is that the human race, itself, is in decline. People have lost any vestige of taste or discernment that they once had - and now, they really do not know what a good film is. They don't recognize deficiencies of plot, characterization, acting, or directing. If it blows up, is brightly coloured and moves fast, they think it is great. The global film audience is basically at the level of a toddler, when it comes to film comprehension: they are excited by something visually stunning, even if it is mind-numbing as well. They don't notice their minds being numbed...because that is the permanent state of them.

I see little hope for an upsurge in public taste. Every passing year seems to see an incremental decline in what people are and in what they seek. A comparison of the public tastes of people in my childhood and those, now, reveals a perturbing decline. Of course, it may be Hollywood itself that is to blame by acculturating people to nonsense.

I cannot see any present mechanism that could reverse such a trend. The only thing that would work would be if Hollywood suddenly started losing money on Transformers X, or whatever it will be. Once empty "Michael Bay" type films start to lose money, then Hollywood will try something else. Oddly, people get what they deserve, in a way. If great films, with great acting and great writing and interesting premises, were the biggest films at the box office, that is exactly what Hollywood would be striving to make. So, you have the power to change the situation: seek out the best films that you can - and avoid the trash, and urge others to avoid the trash, too. In time, there may be a change...and great films may once more become dominant.
(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:17 PM 


Blogger Christine said...

I saw that movie a few days ago. I agree that it wasn't that great. I did get some laughs out of it, but I often didn't understand the plot. I didn't see the first one though. I don't mind if I don't see it again.
I am glad for getting to spend some time with a friend though. We had dinner first and then saw the film.
I do agree that it's sad that movies that make the most money get made. They keep making garbage just because people are willing to pay to see special effects.
Maybe people like being entertained so much that they are willing to be fed stupidity just so they can have something to do with themselves. It would be better to do something else rather than be entertained like that. They could spend the time doing a hobby or talking with a friend or reading a book.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Christine, you have pointed towards what is, perhaps, the underlying explanation: people, nowadays, prefer UNDEMANDING ways to entertain themselves. Reading a book is simply too much effort, when one can, instead, sit down and watch a lot of big explosions and brightly coloured nonsense.

Maybe it is a symptom of a lessened liking for thinking. Homo "sapiens" indeed.

Thanks for your comment.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. But it all comes in phases. Recall the great 50's Ten commandments, and how they died out with time. Huge musicals of 40s and fifties and they died in 70's to be revived by Chicago. This mindless mind blowing saga will come to pass! In the meantime, I will enjoy them like Harry Potter part 6 :)

12:06 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I hope that you are right and that they pass. For their greatest failing is their repetitiveness across the genre: once a person has some experience of them, they get rather boring (the "I've seen it all before" feeling).

Thank you for identifying the phasic nature of film taste, over time.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least the Academy Awards still recognise good movies.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, haven't talked to you for a while. In a bout of isolation, I got the sudden urge to start reading your blog again, so here I am. :)

Here are a few thoughts:

1. Back in the great depression, movies were still important to people, but because they had to pick and choose which movies to see as they could not afford them all. I have read that movies still made money but only the best movies survived. If the current economic circumstances have the same effect on movies, this may be exactly the taste-improving force you did not expect to see.

2. Transformers 2 is a movie for children. Children, on the whole, are never going to have the same taste that you have. Perhaps you are watching a lot of movies made for children. Maybe it would be heartening to watch some movies made for adults.

So be heartened!

- Kathy

5:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Depression...interesting thought. However, we are in a global recession and Transformers 2 is breaking seems we have more money available now than then. Yet, your suggested mechanism is an interesting one and would operate when money was scarce.

Yes. I watch kids' movies because I have kids...however I don't think that even kids' movies should be this bad. In fact, kids movies should be as rich and deep as adult movies, to my mind...though different in other ways.

Thanks for your comment.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous mike r. said...

This movie is like negitive zen to the masses.Its scary.Its part of the over all disease of consumer culture.In 10 yrs this movie will be like a video game. Just mindless noise. Not a good sign.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said... is already mindless noise. What a shocking waste of resources.

11:02 AM  

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