Hollywood releases its summer blockbusters around the 4th of July for a reason. It is a time of increased patriotic sentiment. Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon plays off these feelings very well. It also works to rewrite U.S. and Russian space flight history. The question is – is this a bad thing? The simple answer is – no.
Buzz Aldrin along with many current NASA workers appear in the film and for any space buff the mentions bring back a rush of nostalgia. But NASA needs more than just memories of the past to survive. The agency is at a crossroads and tying its star to things that people enjoy and relate to is a smart move.
To compete with the flash and bang of pop-culture those that try to gain and keep the attention of the nation’s youth have found it necessary to tie STEM fields to hip-hop music and whatever other fads they can. For those that doubt this, take the simple fact that “The Science Channel” has taken to showing a science fiction show (Firefly) to garner ratings.
And before one tries to say that this is the first time that such a dramatic revisionist brush was taken to a historic event – you might want to review some of Hollywood’s other offerings. Accountants did more damage to Capone than Elliot Ness ever did and the “Untouchables” has little historical fact within it. The movie “The Right Stuff” portrayed astronaut Gus Grissom as some monosyllabic knuckle-dragger. In reality Grissom was an engineer intimately involved with the development of the Gemini spacecraft. Don’t even get me started on the historical fallacies within Showtime’s “The Tudors.”
When I attended the showing in a local theatre on July 2, 2011 – it was packed. The crowd was a mixed bag, young and old, white and black. Their response to the film was inspiring. They laughed loudly, cheered on Optimus and his brave band of autobots as well as the young men and women that serve in our armed services and applauded, actually applauded when the end credits began to roll.
Michael Bay will never be accused of making films like ‘The English Patient’ or ‘Sense & Sensibility.’ But then Transformers 3 is not for the type of person who would see those types of films. People that go to see movies like this one support America’s soldiers, sailors and airmen, America’s first responders – and America’s space program. This is not a movie for the Roger Ebert’s of the world. The U.S. has witnessed a rebirth of late – and it is a wonderful thing to behold.
I recommend that you go out and enjoy this film this weekend. But I’m biased and will admit it. I grew up watching the first Transformers cartoons as well as the first shuttle launches.Missions » Apollo »