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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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Joan of Arc: 
		<p>Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.</p>
		<p>Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.</p>
		<p>During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed. </p>
		<p>On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.</p>
		<p>Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."</p>
		<p>Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies. </p>
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