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The Nitpicker’s Guide to Transformers 3 (trailer version)

December 15, 2010

I just watched the latest Transformers 3 trailer.  I noticed a small narrative flaw and decided to blog about it.

I must admit that the trailer managed to get me excited even though I still think that Transformers 2 is analogous to mushy turd. I have high hopes that the Michael Bay from the 90’s was on the director’s chair for this movie.  His movies from the last century, Bad Boys and The Rock, were pretty awesome.  Every Michael Bay movie since has been…hmmm…  meh.

The trailer shows Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin discovering a downed spacecraft of supposed Cybertronian origins on the far side of the moon.  It implies that the Apollo 11 mission was a massive cover-up.  Watch the trailer first and follow along.

  • At 23 seconds – We hear Neil Armstrong confirm that they have landed on the lunar surface.
  • At 43 seconds – A mission control radio operator switches to what we can assume to be an encrypted channel for communications.
  • At 50 seconds – The venerable Walter Cronkite appears on TV and says “we now have had confirmation, loss of signal from Apollo 11… Apollo 11 is on the far side of the moon”.
  • At 56 seconds – A suited man in mission control tells the Armstrong over the radio, “Neil, you are dark on the rock.  Mission is a go.”
  • Succeeding seconds – Neil and Buzz explores the spacecraft.  An offline Transformer awakens after they leave.  Trailer credits and title rolls.

My nitpick

  • The mission control sequence shows the Apollo 11 lunar module losing radio contact with Earth at one point.  This loss of contact is signaled by Walter Cronkite’s statement.
  • We know for a fact that one side of the Moon always faces the earth.  The side that is always facing away is called the dark or far side of the Moon.  Spacecrafts on the far side of the Moon are not able to directly communicate with Earth as the Moon is in the way.
  • We also know for a fact that Tranquility Base, Apollo 11’s landing site, is not on the far side of the moon.
  • Putting the last two known facts together , we can say that Apollo 11 will always be in direct radio contact with mission control.  So what the heck was Cronkite talking about?
  • As it turns out, the Cronkite segment was broadcast while Apollo 11 was orbiting (not landed) the moon.  This makes sense as Apollo 11 will constantly be going in and out of the moon’s far side.
  • The trailer uses the Cronkite segment in a different context to lend weight to a fictitious scenario.  A scenario wherein Apollo 11 will have moments of indirect radio contact for them to do their “real” mission.  It’s a neat narrative trick.
  • Also, we don’t really expect the public to buy the “loss of radio contact” bit.  Any teenager in school during the 60’s will surely notice that the facts don’t line up.

I’m pretty sure there are more inaccurate things in the trailer that “Lunar Mission” buffs will notice.  I won’t be surprised if someone makes a blog entry out of those.

At the end of the day, it’s all good.  Heck, it’s a movie.  Also, we don’t expect Michael Bay to be scientifically precise right?

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3 Comments
  1. I agree with you re: Bay’s 90’s movies. Though the first Transformers movie seemed pretty cool to me.
    I agree with the mistakes in the narrative flow of the trailer, hopefully they’re just in the trailer. Seems like a pretty cool and smart premise though, that the moon astronauts were on a covert operation to investigate a downed alien craft. Got me interested in the movie.

  2. GabbyD permalink

    my problem with this is that… IF the US discovered technology on the moon, there would be more frequent moon landings.

  3. chongkee permalink

    everybody knows that the moon landings were staged

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