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6 Movies With Political Agendas You Didn't Notice

#3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen -- The Government Is Dumb (And America Is the World)

The Scene:

About halfway through the second Transformers movie, Optimus Prime's buddies at the U.S. military are having an argument with professional dick and National Security Adviser Galloway about whether the Autobots are doing more harm than good: Galloway argues that the Decepticons are only attacking the planet because the Autobots are here, and asks Optimus if he will leave Earth peacefully if the president denies him further asylum. Optimus agrees, but tells him to ask the president, "What if we leave ... and you're wrong?"


"Your face will be SO red."

But, ominous one-liners aside, the answer is "Yes, we'll absolutely leave the planet if your presidents tells us to." Ultimately, Galloway is proven wrong, since it turns out the Decepticons are actually looking for some bullshit buried in Egypt -- meaning that if the Autobots had left Earth like the NSA wanted, the whole planet would be doomed. Thanks a lot, Obama!

The Intended Point:

All through the movie, any member of the government who isn't in the military is portrayed as a bumbling, idiotic bureaucrat who only exists to hinder the job of the real heroes. Michael Bay is telling us what he really thinks of the executive branch, and he's being about as subtle as a pair of giant steel gonads.


In cinema, this is called a "motif."

At one point, Galloway even implies that the president is considering turning over Shia LeBeouf to the robot aliens who want to cut open his brain as a "diplomatic solution."

How It Messes Up the Plot:

It's an alien invasion. That's something that kind of has effects worldwide, and apparently nobody told Optimus that the president of the United States isn't also the King of the World. If the U.S. "denies them further asylum," what's stopping the Autobots from moving over to Canada? Or Pakistan? Or Russia? Ireland? Anywhere else? What difference would it make to a race of robots fighting an intergalactic war?


"We've had a lot of offers from some place called 'North Korea.'"

This might make sense if the Autobots conceded that Galloway had a point and maybe they really were putting the Earth in danger with their presence, but Optimus makes it pretty clear that he thinks that's bullshit: He knows the Decepticons are after something else (which isn't even in the U.S.). And yet he still agrees to obey the president, because if America doesn't want their help, then the other billions of people on the planet can just go fuck themselves.

#2. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) -- Even Aliens Love Jesus

The Scene:

In the non-Keanu version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien named Klaatu comes to warn the human race that our addiction to violence is gonna get us murdered by space robots. At the end of the movie, Klaatu is shot to death by soldiers and his body is collected by his terrifying robot buddy Gort, who takes it inside their highly advanced alien spaceship.


And yet not one anal probe in sight.

In the ship, Gort uses a special machine to bring Klaatu back to life -- his human friend Ellen is shocked to see Klaatu alive again, but he immediately tells her that his resurrection is only temporary, since only "the Almighty Spirit" has power over life and death. Klaatu then delivers one last speech about how we seriously need to get our shit together or (and he can't stress this enough) we'll all be murdered by robots, and then flies off into space.


"Remember: An army of robots is always watching you. Good luck with peace!"

The Intended Point:

Intergalactic peace is great and all, but you know what's even better? Jesus. These powerful aliens may come from a completely different culture that doesn't understand our ways and see us as a primitive and warring species, but even they follow traditional Christian values. Never mind the fact that we're pretty sure the mere existence of aliens is incompatible with the Bible.

How It Messes Up the Plot:

If the whole "Almighty Spirit" bit seems a little pointless and out of place in this movie, that's because it originally wasn't there -- the writers were forced to add it. When the studio submitted the movie to the Production Code Administration, Klaatu's reanimation was permanent, making his final message even more potent. However, the Code objected to this scene because "only God can do that." The writers still needed Klaatu alive to deliver the last speech, so they were forced to rewrite the ending in a way that conformed to 1950s American politics.


"The whole universe must live in peace! Except for commies, they can suck it."

What the Code people completely missed is that the movie already had Christian themes in it, but in a more subliminal way that didn't clash with the science fiction plot. According to the writers themselves, Klaatu is an allegory for Jesus -- he descends from on high, delivers a message, is betrayed and killed, comes back to confirm he's the real deal and then leaves. He even takes the name "Mr. Carpenter" at one point.


Meanwhile, Gort is clearly an allegory for Jesus' robot.

#1. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace -- Superman Fixes the World (By Ruling It)

The Scene:

The plot of Superman IV involves Superman becoming worried about the prospect of a nuclear war and deciding to do something about it -- he crashes a U.N. meeting and informs the nations of the world that he's disarming every nuclear power and throwing all their missiles into the sun. All the representatives stand up and cheer.


"Yay! Please don't kill us with your eye lasers, oh alien God-King."

Lex Luthor tried to ruin everything by creating a retarded nuclear clone of Superman, but soon enough they were both defeated and the world forever lived in peace (presumably).

The Intended Point:

Nukes are dangerous and we should throw them into the sun, because if nothing else that'd just be really cool. Also, fuck the sun.


"Aw, look at you humans, trying to figure out fusion. That's so adorable."

How It Messes Up the Plot:

Superman IV is universally recognized as one of the worst superhero movies ever, but there was a time when fans were actually stoked about it. This was mainly because the producers had pulled off the impossible: They'd managed to convince Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve to reprise their classic roles despite all three having practically quit the Superman franchise at that point. Reeve in particular had sworn never to put on the red underpants again after Superman III.


"Damn, Gene, you've really been working out."

With the original cast back in place, it was just a matter of coming up with a good plot to suit the occasion. However, the producers had promised that Reeve could have input over the storyline, and since he was becoming more politically active in those years, he decided that Superman should do the same thing ... even if it made no sense.

For example, we seriously doubt that the nations of the world would have been so thrilled about a nearly omnipotent alien invading their countries and forcibly removing their nuclear armaments, especially in the middle of the Cold War. This only makes sense if Superman were trying to unite everyone against a common enemy, like in Watchmen.


"Just a flying man amassing a ball of nukes in Earth's orbit. Nothing to worry about."

By making decisions for the nations of the world without consulting them (he merely tells them what he's gonna do, then does it), Superman has set a precedent where he is allowed to do whatever he wants on the geopolitical scene, pretty much establishing himself as a de facto emperor of everything. So much for "not interfering with human history."

J.F. Sargent blogs, tweets and is the managing editor of PCulpa.com.

For more on politics, check out The 8 Most Successful Politicians (Who Weren't Human) and 5 Blatantly Corrupt Politicians America Reelected Anyways.

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