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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


The animated character Bumblebee is pictured in the movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
Though clearly pitched at youthful viewers—sports cars that turn into robots, cool!—"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Paramount) is director Michael Bay's 3-D third installment of a franchise based on a line of Hasbro toys. It includes plot and dialogue elements that make it exclusively suitable, if not especially satisfying, for those who are, chronologically at least, well past adolescence.

Moreover, while gore is virtually absent from the screen during this sci-fi adventure's seemingly endless two-and-a-half-hour running time—even as computer-generated, cannon-fodder extras are bloodlessly vaporized by the dozen—gunplay and explosions feel omnipresent.

Caught up once again in the ongoing mechanical mayhem that sees a race of good shape-shifting alien robots combating an evil army of their own kind is ordinary human—and now college graduate—Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf).

Though the boisterous interplanetary conflict provides distraction from Sam's mostly unsuccessful job hunt—hey, kid, times are tough all over—it also endangers his live-in British girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).

Entertaining outings from John Malkovich as a wacky tycoon and John Turturro as a conspiracy theorist help offset a tedious back story involving an alternate history that would be vaguely offensive if it weren't so silly. According to same, the real reason for the U.S.-Soviet race to the Moon in the 1960s was the Camelot-era crash landing there of one of the Transformers' spacecraft.

Hearing the news of this unusual event from Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, JFK barks—what else?—"Get me Bobby!"

While the outcome of what follows is easily guessed, more suspense hangs on the question of whether our hero will ever put an engagement ring on poor Carly's finger. This despite his growing conviction—fueled by her "Perils of Pauline"-style sufferings at the hands of the baddies—that "she's the one," as well as his late-reel blurting out of the L-word. Ah, modern romance.

The film contains pervasive stylized violence, cohabitation, brief partial nudity, some sexual banter, a couple of uses of profanity and about a dozen instances each of crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Cyril and Methodius: Because their father was an officer in a part of Greece inhabited by many Slavs, these two Greek brothers ultimately became missionaries, teachers and patrons of the Slavic peoples. 
<p>After a brilliant course of studies, Cyril (called Constantine until he became a monk shortly before his death) refused the governorship of a district such as his brother had accepted among the Slavic-speaking population. Cyril withdrew to a monastery where his brother Methodius had become a monk after some years in a governmental post. </p><p>A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) asked the Eastern Emperor Michael for political independence from German rule and ecclesiastical autonomy (having their own clergy and liturgy). Cyril and Methodius undertook the missionary task. </p><p>Cyril’s first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet (for example, modern Russian) from Greek capital letters. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul’s letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then. </p><p>That and their free use of the vernacular in preaching led to opposition from the German clergy. The bishop refused to consecrate Slavic bishops and priests, and Cyril was forced to appeal to Rome. On the visit to Rome, he and Methodius had the joy of seeing their new liturgy approved by Pope Adrian II. Cyril, long an invalid, died in Rome 50 days after taking the monastic habit. </p><p>Methodius continued mission work for 16 more years. He was papal legate for all the Slavic peoples, consecrated a bishop and then given an ancient see (now in the Czech Republic). When much of their former territory was removed from their jurisdiction, the Bavarian bishops retaliated with a violent storm of accusation against Methodius. As a result, Emperor Louis the German exiled Methodius for three years. Pope John VIII secured his release. </p><p>Because the Frankish clergy, still smarting, continued their accusations, Methodius had to go to Rome to defend himself against charges of heresy and uphold his use of the Slavonic liturgy. He was again vindicated. </p><p>Legend has it that in a feverish period of activity, Methodius translated the whole Bible into Slavonic in eight months. He died on Tuesday of Holy Week, surrounded by his disciples, in his cathedral church. </p><p>Opposition continued after his death, and the work of the brothers in Moravia was brought to an end and their disciples scattered. But the expulsions had the beneficial effect of spreading the spiritual, liturgical and cultural work of the brothers to Bulgaria, Bohemia and southern Poland. Patrons of Moravia, and specially venerated by Catholic Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Orthodox Serbians and Bulgarians, Cyril and Methodius are eminently fitted to guard the long-desired unity of East and West. In 1980, Pope John Paul II named them additional co-patrons of Europe (with Benedict).</p> American Catholic Blog This is the beauty of self-giving love: Men and women, driven by love, freely choose to give up their autonomy, to limit their freedom, by committing themselves to the good of the spouse. Love is so powerful that it impels them to want to surrender their will to their beloved in this profound way.

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