Week 9 of EW’s 2011 Summer Movie Body Count continues with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which features no bloodshed and yet somehow also some of the most gruesome deaths yet this summer. Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the movie that proves once and for all that the PG-13 rating is the single worst thing to ever happen to the American cinema. Imagine pulling aside your average John and Jane Q. Moviegoer back in the very early 1980s and describing the film’s plot to them: “Well, the vast majority of the population of Chicago is massacred. Dozens of fleeing citizens are simply disintegrated right in front of your eyes. Several characters get sliced or bodily torn apart. And at the climax of the movie, the film’s sociopathic protagonist rips off one villain’s face and shoots the other villain in the back of his head, execution-style.”
John Q. Moviegoer would say, “Well, it’s not to my taste, but I guess if you like R-rated Rambo-style movies, it would be good.” Jane, his girlfriend would say, “I love R-rated Rambo-style movies! I bet there’s a lot of blood in this movie! Also, I love Pink Floyd! Mind you, there’s no way I would bring my niece or nephew to the movie.”
Well, John and Jane, guess what: Joke’s on you! Transformers: Dark of the Moon is rated PG-13, which means the Rape of Chicago is completely bloodless. Also, it’s totally okay for the Transformers to tear each other apart while red-colored oil sprays all around the screen, but god help them if they engage in any full-frontal nudity. (All the female Transformers were hunted to extinction years ago, out of fear that they might accidentally have an orgasm.) Because of the rules of our Summer Movie Body Count, we can only count actual onscreen deaths. But keep in mind: Basically, about 2 million people died in this movie.
The count kicks off with the nonsensical prologue set on Cybertron, where we witnessed two Big Transformers getting exploded, plus one Normal-Sized Transformer who fell off a space bridge into space. As for why you would build an open bridge in space…well, the Transformers are just not the brightest species in the galaxy.
On Earth, the tremendously annoying Decepticon called Laserbeak went on a homicidal killing spree, killing a Russian guy in Chernobyl, a scientist in America, and finally setting up Ken Jeong for a fake suicide. A car chase followed, because why not, and at least one Decepticon got decapitated. (Decepticon decapitation happens so often in this film that I will henceforth refer to it as Decepticapitation.) Immediately following the car chase, two Autobots faced off in a Mexican stand-off against two Decepticon punks, and the two Decepticons got killed. I would tell you who the Autobots were, but since every freaking Transformer in these movies just looks like a random pile of digital slop, I’m not even sure this scene actually happened. Maybe I dreamed it. Maybe life is just a dream, BWAAAHHHH.
This is the point of the film where the plot twisted out of boredom, so Sentinel Prime turned out to be a bad guy. He shot Ironhide in the back, so all you Ironhide fans out there should cry yourself to sleep tonight and then get a job. Sentinel killed six soldiers. (Following this scene, Megatron shot Abe Lincoln’s statue in the face, which doesn’t count as a death, but it does count as stealth satire.)
And now the Chicago genocide began. We saw no less than 17 fleeing citizens disintegrated by attacking Decepticons into blood fog. Then, in a big setpiece action scene, 14 more people were disintegrated. At that point, the freaking Autobots finally decided to show up, and they freaking pulled off a Decepticon’s limbs. Now, if this movie was rated R and actually awesome, they would have beaten the Decepticon to death with his own arms and legs. Stupid PG-13 rating.
There were a few more human deaths in the film. One flying soldier was shot out of the sky. One poor fellow fell to his death when the big Decepticon worm was destroying a building. Evil Patrick Dempsey got electrocuted, what a doucheboat. But at this point, Transformers: Dark of the Moon essentially became a relentless abstract array of digital robots punching each other. I saw it in 3-D, so my eyes were bleeding, which means all that follows is guesswork:
–Bumblebee shot off Laserbeak’s head
–Optimus Prime killed the big snake-digger thing.
—Wheeljack was executed by Soundwave.
–Bumblebee killed four Decepticons, and the last one he killed by punching up through his chest into his head.
—Sam killed a Decepticon of his very own, thus finally contributing to the series in some meaningful way.
—Wheelie and Brains, the two annoying little Autobots, successfully managed to contribute to the plot by (heroically) killing themselves, which is a greater thing than Jar Jar Binks every accomplished.
–Five Decepticons and Shockwave were killed somehow, and I only know this because someone actually said, “Look, it’s Shockwave and Five Other Decepticons! Let’s kill them!”
—Optimus Prime killed nine motherfreaking Decepticons in one eye-popping shot, which proves that Michael Bay is a talented director when it comes to showing characters you don’t care about killing characters who have never appeared before on screen.
–Then Optimus Prime cleaved Megatron‘s face off. This was, to be fair, prologued by a totally badass line. Megatron said: “What are you without me?” And Prime said: “Let’s find out.” Awesome.
–And finally, Optimus Prime shot Sentinel Prime in the back of the head, twice.
All told, the onscreen kill count for Transformers: Dark of the Moon is 78, which is still less people than Arnold Schwarzenegger killed all by himself in Commando, but Commando is a totally badass R-rated action movie and Transformers: Dark of the Moon is safe for kindergarten class.
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