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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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Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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