Category Archives: Armageddon
Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. Hat tip to Chris Riley for alerting me to this film via Facebook! — Sharon for WM
SCIENCE FICTION mirrors science reality, with the key difference that sci-fi can make its metaphysical claims openly, without fear of losing tenure. So it is that Hasbro’s Transformers franchise has been transferred to film by executive producer Steven Spielberg and director Michael Bay as an alternate telling of the angelic war in the heavenlies.
I really didn’t want to like the movie, probably because it seemed like a childish concept. Giant shape-shifting robots as the premise for a major mass-market release? Really?
But it works. The script, while obviously aimed at teens, is intelligent, the direction is taut, the effects are startlingly good, and the performances are compelling. Shia LaBeouf is a fine young actor who has that Harrison Ford/Bruce Willis quality of carrying an action film appearing to hang from a thread.
So with all of that state of the art slam-bang action exploding from the screen, it’s easy to miss the meme.
For years, science fiction films have fed the public alternate prophecies of the end times presented as engaging tales of aliens from outer space who want to save us or destroy us. In Transformers, the eternal war between the forces loyal to God and the rebels who followed Lucifer is depicted as a battle between the remnants of of a society of giant morphing robots.
The leader of the enemy faction, Megatron, looks like a mechanical version of Peter Jackson’s balrog, the demonic beast sent down into the pit by Gandalf. His followers are similarly menacing, all dark colors and sharp edges. The good autobots, led by Optimus Prime, are a likable collection of gleaming, brightly colored ‘bots, displaying all the characteristics we value in
angels action heroes: bravery, self-sacrifice, and funny one-liners.
The conflict is an epic struggle for the very survival of humanity. As always, victory is achieved by the hands of man — with some help from the good
This theme is so common in science fiction over the last 25 years that the conspiracy-minded, like me, has to wonder whether the world is being psychologically prepared to greet Jesus Christ and his heavenly army with advanced weaponry supplied by our helpful gray-skinned space brothers. By the time of our Lord’s triumphant return “with the clouds”, so that “every eye will see him”, a couple generations of media-savvy Earthlings at least will have the imagery of movies like Independence Day firmly planted in our collective consciousness. We’ll be as likely to shoot as shout “Hallelujah!”
All in all, Transformers is an enjoyable film that manages to deliver tension and breath-taking action sequences with a minimum of gore. John Turturro and Jon Voigt lead an excellent supporting cast, and there are enough laughs sprinkled throughout the movie to keep it from the oppressive feeling of films like War of the Worlds (yet another Steven Spielberg alien film with obvious supernatural overtones — remember seeing the Martian pods “fall like lightning from heaven”?).
And lest you think I’m going overboard in seeing theology in an action film based on kids’ toys, consider the sequel, Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen, which is in theaters now. The very phrase “the fallen” has clear biblical connotations, and it’s no coincidence that the fallen
angel Transformer is buried in the Middle East. Beneath the Great Pyramid.