The Aesthetic and Cultural Weight of the New Transformers: Dark of the Moon Trailer

Any cultural event of sufficient magnitude requires time to properly process and digest. So is it with the trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which came out yesterday, but is of sufficient aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural weight that it was necessary to take some time to gather the response so weighty an entity deserves.

Dark of the Moon is the third in the series whose first installment was the thoughtful, poignant story of a boy and his car (who destroys Las Vegas) and whose second was a two and a half hour commercial for cocaine, and Dark of the Moon is the culmination of all the first two pictures’ supernarrative promised: a conspiracy theory about the Moon landing (OH HELL YES IT INVOLVES DECEPTICONS) and, brilliantly, magnificently, divinely…Frances McDormand as the Evil White Guy In A Suit.

The FX are what they are. The picture looks at least marginally more visually coherent than the first two. The idea of Michael Bay marrying his baroque visions of destruction to a script with actual purpose is novel (though I imagine the script is still going to be pretty stupid), but nothing—nothing, I say—can come within a mile of the genius casting of Frances McDormand as the Evil White Guy In a Suit. Between her and John Turturro, we’re coming dangerously close to having Transformers 4 directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Jon Polito as the voice of Unicron.

But yeah, if you didn’t dig the first two (and aren’t possessed of my transcendent schadenfreude) you’ll probably want to give this one a miss.

Danny Bowes is a playwright, filmmaker and blogger. He is also a contributor to and


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