Saturday, November 1, 2014

Some missed observations on the transformers article.

For the sake of completeness, there were a couple of religiously poignant statements that I didn't include in the previous post about religious themes in Transformers: Age of Extinction, because they didn't appear to be large, intentional themes, but isolated statements that are more up to interpretation because of which character said them. Of course, depending on your political persuasion, you might disagree.

1. In one scene, Optimus is fighting a human-made decepticon possessed by Megatron's mind (Megatron's head having been severed in the previous movie), and Optimus shouts "you have no soul", while shoving a sword through Megatron's chest. The Megatron puppet grabs the sword, drives it deeper, somehow melting it, and smilingly says, "that is why I have no fear."

2. Kelsey Grammer's character is a top CIA official who is secretly directing military personnel to attack Autobots (the 'good' transformers) in his part of an illicit deal to melt their metal to be used in the construction of the human-made decepticon models. Later on, there are two scenes in particular that stand out.
a. When Stanley Tucci's character has second thoughts about the plan they had concocted, Grammer bullies him physically and says that they had both had dreams of changing the world, but "somewhere along the line you made billions of dollars, and I'm still waiting on my dream to come true. Where's my dream? Where's my piece of the pie?" (paraphrased)
b. In the endgame, Grammer confronts Cade Yeager and waxes eloquent about how everything he did was "for god and country," while holding Cade at gunpoint. It's an open question whether it was said in spite or if you are supposed to interpret him as a fanatical 'good-ol-boy.' Optimus kills him immediately afterward.
Final random points:

The science lady tells Stanley Tucci that she "carbon dated" metal (impossible by definition) and found it to be 65 million years old (also impossible by definition).
First off, carbon isn't metal, so anything completely metallic (as the dinosaur skeletons were implied to be, by virtue of the transmutative bio-weapon that is shown twice in the movie and explained to be the source of the material for the transformers) would never have radioactive carbon-14 in it so as to measure it. Secondly, because of the short half-life of radioactive carbon, even if every atom on planet earth was radioactive carbon, in 1 million years it would all have decayed away. So ages higher than that are impossible to be determined, not least because sensor equipment can only detect the C-14 at concentrations corresponding to 80,000 years of age at current uptake levels.
In other dialogue, Grammer's character echoes the racist sentiments I quoted Lockdown as promoting in the first article, about an "us vs them" mentality, humans vs aliens.

Another quote by the advanced bounty hunter alien:
"Every galaxy I have traveled, all you species are the same. You all think you're the center of the universe. You have no idea."
Which fits into the larger narrative of humanity not being special, and if humanity isn't special, that's supposed to be a challenge to the idea that we're the only sentient life in the universe, and thus taken as proof that the Bible's account of history, our special creation directly by God, and all that follows from that (Christ as the last Adam, and ultimately the message of salvation) is to be doubted.

So there. Interpretation left largely open.

~ Rak Chazak

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