In the flashback scene of the Apollo launch, the American Flag and NASA logo can be seen on the Vehicle Assembly Building. The flag was not painted till 1976 in celebration of the United States Bicentennial celebrations. The NASA logo was added in 1998 in celebration of their 40th anniversary, replacing the bicentennial emblem.
When Simmons is searching the Chernobyl site for alien technology, he comes across a box with an "Intercosmos" logo printed on it, which he then says "dates back to Sputnik." Intercosmos was a Russian organization that included cosmonauts from other countries on Soviet space flights. However, Intercosmos existed between 1978 and 1988; Sputnik was launched in 1957, twenty-one years earlier.
In the opening scene set in 1961, when government officials race to the White House in two black Lincoln Continentals, one Lincoln is period correct, but the other is clearly a 1965 or later model as noted by the squared-off front grille.
In the opening scenes, a flashback to 1961 is shown in which an office appears with several spacecraft and rocket models in the background. One is the Saturn V rocket, which was yet to be designed and made in 1961, in the early days of American manned spaceflight.
In the start of the movie when Sam is holding Brains, the small robot, looking for a box to put him in, a shot of Carly shows Sam in the background holding his arm out with nothing in it. In the next shot the robot reappears and Sam puts it in the box he has found.
When Carly is first brought to Chicago, she has straight hair, light shirt, and white jacket. When Sam rescues her, her outfit has changed and her hair is now wavy. Her clothes continuously change throughout the movie during long scenes when she would have no way to switch outfits.
When Sam and Dylan are fighting on top of some rubble, the clock on the building behind them changes time from scene to scene. In the first shot it's 10:40h, in the next 1:00h and in the last shot 11:05h.
During the highway chase scene, the running Decepticons flip a silver Saturn Outlook, a silver Nissan Altima and then a black Chevy Trailblazer in that order. During the next shot, from a different angle, the footage is reused and the same cars flip over again in the same order.
On the bridge, when Sam and Carly kiss, her right hand is positioned on Sam's face and is dirty, particularly the thumb. The next scene her right hand is behind his head and is clean. It alternates throughout the entire scene.
At the end of the battle on the bridge, Ratchet and Bumblebee are shown to be identical in height as Ratchet commends Bumblebee for his bravery, but seconds before as Ratchet, Bumblebee and Sideswipe approach from a wider angle, Ratchet is clearly 5-6 foot taller then Bumblebee and Sideswipe.
When Sam and his allies survive a slide down a dwindling building that is almost split in half, they appear near the bottom of the separating top half. Once Shockwave's driller is sent to destroy the building in an attempt to eliminate the survivors, the building falls against a nearby apartment complex. The survivors are seen moving across to this new structure. However, to move to the next building, they are again seen at the highest part of the building, regardless of the slide that placed them near the bottom.
In the aerial shot of Optimus Prime flying into the battle in Chicago, we see Ratchet, Bumblebee and Sideswipe advance firing. From behind Prime we can see Brawl is quite a distance from the fire truck which Sideswipe is taking cover behind. However, as Prime lands, Brawl is the first Decepticon slaughtered by him as he knocks him over.
When Sentinel reveals his deal with Megatron and kills Ironhide, his rusting gun changes sides back and forth. When he shoots Ironhide for the first time it's on his right hand, the second time it's on his left. When he starts shooting randomly to the NEST team and the headquarters, it is on his right hand, and while he transforms into his alternate mode he is shooting with his left hand.
When Carly is talking to Sam by the car before Dylan's party, there is a shot, when Sideswipe and Dino pull up behind the Mercedes. In the next shot, Dino is on the other side of the street, then, in the next shot, neither Sideswipe nor Dino are in the street.
When the Decepticon scans the Waste Management truck in Washington, DC, it is apparent that he is not in his protoform like all the other troops. He is already in his bipedal Earth form before he has successfully scanned an Earth vehicle.
During Sam's flashback of receiving his medal from the President, Sam's hair is parted on the RIGHT Side of his head yet when he meets Carly, a very short time later, his hair is parted on the LEFT Side of his head.
While the opening scenes of the listening post are captioned as occurring in 1961, the urgent teletype message that is sent reporting the lunar impact that they have detected that day is datestamped July 10, 1962. ("7-10-62") In addition, an entire third line of text is seen being printed in closeup ("CONTACT AT 2250 GMT") prior to the END line, but is missing from the paper when it's torn off the printer in the very next shot. While the END line is still visible, the entire CONTACT line above it has disappeared.
When the skyscraper falls over and onto the building next door Carly falls onto the other building. In earlier shots you can see the other building is of modern concrete and glass construction but when she falls across she stands against a bricks and mortar wall with older design tenement windows.
When Sam and Carly are talking in the conference room, Sam stops setting out the folders to look up something on the computer. In the rest of the scene, the folders to Sam's right change from not being passed out, to placed in front of chairs, and back again.
When Ironhide and Sideswipe confront the Dreads all four drop their guns on the ground, yet minutes later when Iornhide is hit by a spear it immediately shows his guns back on his back. Then when Ironhide catches Sideswipe's gun, his rifles are no longer on his back.
In the Chicago battle, when Sam and Carly are hiding behind the school bus he says, "He's after me, not you... run," and she stands up to start running, her shoes are no longer black (heels or flats) they're white.
When Sam is interviewed by Bruce Brazos there is a glass sphere on the desk, showing the reflection of the cameraman in the bottom left hand corner of the shot. The cameraman is visible throughout this scene.
For most of the scenes set in Washington DC, the main characters are seen in a city of skyscrapers well over 30 floors high. However, in the real Washington DC, only two structures are taller than the US Capitol Builing, and there are no skyscrapers in the city. The large slanted building in the background is actually the Smurfit-Stone Building in Chicago. (There are no building in DC higher than the Capital building by elevation. The Capital is the highest by law, no building or structure can be higher than it. A building can be taller by floors but not by elevation.)
After the sign 'Chernobyl' is seen Polissya hotel which is in abandoned Pripyat city (as the big wheel), not in Chernobyl town. The damaged reactor is approximately 3 km away from the city and the other side.
Shia LaBeouf's character is seen living in an apartment in Washington D.C. In various scenes where he is outside in the back alley, you can tell there are skyscrapers. However, there are no skyscrapers near Washington D.C.
During the freeway attack outside Washington, D.C., one of the signs that is destroyed reads "West Interstate 88, Aurora". That portion of Interstate 88 runs from the western suburbs of Chicago to the Iowa border, and is nowhere near D.C.
During the freeway attack outside Washington, D.C., one of the overhead freeway signs that is destroyed reads "Business Route 20, State Street". That sign corresponds to an Interstate's 39 & 90 exit at Rockford Illinois. U.S. Route 20 runs across the northern United States, nowhere near Washington, D.C..
In the slow-motion wing-suit scene in Chicago when the men are seen jumping out of the aircraft, the backdrop image shows a reversed/flipped image of Chicago, with notable landmarks such as the Aon Center being located north of the Hancock building, rather than south.
At the beginning of the Chernobyl scene, one of the Russians clearly states that Chernobyl will not be inhabitable for 20,000 years. Chernobyl, Prypriat, and surrounding areas will in fact be uninhabitable for about 200 to 300 years. This area is contaminated primarily with Strontium 90 and Caesium 137, both of which have half lives of about 30 years. Most scientists agree that it will take about 10 half life iterations for radiation to return to the background levels before the accident, which would be a time frame of around 300 years. Some people still live in Chernobyl and short term tours are offered in Prypriat. In most places within the city, the level of radiation does not exceed an equivalent dose of one microsievert per hour.
When the Autobots visit the moon, the original Apollo 11 moon lander is shown with the ascent stage (the upper part) still attached. The ascent stage was used to return the crew into lunar orbit, so only the descent stage (lower part) should be still there.
Sam is heard to say that the lunar farside is the same as the lunar dark side. As the moon is tidally locked (ie. rotates in sync) with the earth, it shows the same face to earth at all times. As the moon revolves around the earth, the lunar farside revolves into sun light and back into shadow, this is said to be the phases of the moon. The only time that all of the lunar farside can said to be the lunar dark side is during the full moon. At all other times part or all (during the new moon) of the lunar farside gets some degree of sun light.
The film depicts Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon as the moment when he hops from the ladder. During the actual Apollo 11 moon landing, Neil Armstrong jumped onto the bottom of the ladder and then slowly placed his left foot (the film depicts his right) onto the lunar surface.
When Simmons encrypts the phone call, no decryption system is set up on the other end of the phone call. Due to the way encryption works, the other end of the call must be able to decrypt the message, otherwise all they would hear is gibberish.
In the Apollo 11 scene, the Flight Director says "EGIL, get that signal back." There was NO EGIL flight controller position back then. It was all under EECOM. If he wanted communications back he would have yelled at INCO (Integrated Communications Officer).
As the Ark is on the far side of the moon, Earth shouldn't be visible from there, but while the astronauts approach it to investigate a "cresent Earth", it is clearly visible on the top-right hand side of the frame.
When Soundwave prepares to execute Bumblebee, his gun charges up and reveals an orange interior but when he begins firing after the ships drop the projectile is a dark blue indicating that his weapon is a sonic cannon and not a plasma cannon. There is no rule that states he cannot switch between the two types of cannons.
After Sam and Carly exit Bumblebee in the streets of Chicago, as they run towards the bus stop there is a quick shot of a green hummer h2. This is Ratchet's alternate mode, despite Ratchet having already transformed. Despite this, there's no reason there can't be another truck like that nearby.
When Sam is speaking to the UAV drone he says that the Decepticons are transporting Cybertron to Earth. But Carly was the only one at that point to have known about this from Dylan, so how did Sam know this, when he was on top of the cruiser fighting Laserbeak when Carly was in the cockpit with Bumblebee? That question is easily answered. How long does it take to say "Sentinel's bringing Cybertron here!"
The character Dutch, despite his name suggesting otherwise, appears to be German, as he has a few lines in this language. However, in the stand-off scene in the Russian bar Simmons shouts at Dutch in a different language, that appears to be part German and part gibberish.
Also, the nickname "Dutch" has long been used for people of German background, mainly being a mispronunciation of what Germans call themselves - Deutsch.
When the Ark lands on the moon in the beginning, the impact causes fire. Fire needs oxygen. There is no oxygen on the moon, therefore there can't be fire. Most spacecraft (of earth design) require an oxidizer component to the fuel mixture, it is not out of the question for an Autobot designed spacecraft to also need an oxidizer. Therefore it is possible that an oxidizer tank could have ruptured when crashing and thus allowed fire on the moon, but just till the oxidizer was used up.
When the Autobots are forced to leave Earth, there are said to be nine of them. However, at this point in the movie there are eleven: Optimus, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Dino, Que, the three Wreckers, Wheelie and Brains. However, Wheelie and Brains had been hiding on Earth in Sam's apartment and were not part of NEST's "inventory".
When Megatron destroys the Lincoln statue and sits down on it the wheel on his left feet appears to be seen going through the steps. However, on the actual memorial, Lincoln's feet are sitting on top of an elevated platform above the base. Megatron's feet are straddling that elevated platform making it appear like his CGI model is going through the base, when it really is not.
The loss of signal depicted in the movie caused by the Apollo 11 lunar spacecraft being on the "dark side of the moon" is incorrect. The moon rotates and orbits the earth at the same rate so the same side of the moon always faces the earth and the dark side is never visible. The loss of signal depicted, with Walter Cronkite commenting, is actually from when the command module orbiting the moon would pass behind the moon from the earth making radio communication impossible. The landing site for Apollo 11 is located just to the right of center when looking at the moon and just north of the lunar equator, which means that it is nowhere near the far side. However, this is intended to be a NASA Black Op, and since it's shown in the movie that NASA can still communicate with the astronauts after the "signal loss" is announced, it's clear that the loss is intended to give them time to investigate without all of the U.S. listening in, and the general public (of the time) would be none the wiser.
When Sam has to go to the interview, his car doesn't start, so his parents give him a ride to the interview in their car. When after the interview, Sam and Carly leave the building, Sam's old car is parked outside. In that scene, the building seen is Carly's place of employment. It is entirely possible that after Sam's interview (at a different location) that he went home and got his car to meet with Carly at her place of employment.
Optimus Prime's mouthshield goes from flat to vented during some shots whilst fighting. The flat mouthshield is the most current version, whilst the vented mouthshield was used in the previous two films. Nothing says that his mouthshield needs to stay exactly the same as the previous two films.
When Sentinel Prime is shown in low power mode while in the Ark and prior to that in the opening sequence - he is shown to have red colouring and windscreen parts on his chest, parts that would be required for his alternate mode of a Rosenbauer Panther fire truck. Sentinel Prime never made it to Earth and would not have been able to scan a truck to give him this alternate mode therefore he should have appeared as a cybertronian protoform. It is entirely likely that he received the coloring as he was left for so long and that he was, in fact, given a vehicle to disguise as during his trip back to earth as he laid in low power.
It was stated by Que that the boom-sticks would arm in 30 seconds.While the one Sam used to kill Starscream no doubt took 30 seconds the ones the military used on Barricade and a protoform took even less time, about 3 seconds. This could very well be that Que left them easy to adjust the timer although Sam would never have known it given that he wasn't an official part of NEST.
When Optimus Prime merges the spark in Sentinel's chest, he immediately starts to speak after he is told he is safe. In the first film, the Transformers learned Earth language through the world wide web. Sentinel could not have been aware of this as he was in sleep mode since he crashed onto the moon, and, given he didn't know where he was, it was impossible to know how to speak English. However, an undetermined amount of time had passed between the moment Sentinel was retrieved and the moment he appears in the NEST base, and as Ratchet states, he was in low-power mode, so it's not entirely unreasonable to think that the Autobots might have uploaded language data to him while he was sleeping before reactivating him.
Towards the end of the movie, when the Autobots return to assist Sam and his fellows in taking back Chicago, one of the robots mentions that the Autobots were in the first booster rocket to separate. During the launch of the Autobot spacecraft, however, the booster rockets never separated before being blown up. As the ship was hit primarily in the main part and not in the boosters, it's entirely plausible that, even if they didn't "separate" at the time, their hiding place remained viable and splashed down as expected.
When Sam is being interviewed by Bruce Brazos, the man says Accuretta contracts for DARPA, NASA, and JPL. JPL is part of NASA, not its own entity. This is a common misconception as they are listed as two separate entities although one does work almost exclusively for the the other.
During the plot Megatron explains that his original intent of arriving to Earth was to meet up with Sentinel Prime rather then to claim the Allspark, however this is hard to believe considering Megatron crashed landed several hundred years before Sentinel's arrival in the 1960s. It's not unreasonable to assume that the massive damage to Sentinel's ship slowed him a lot and allowed Megatron to overtake him.
When the Autobots leave the earth to avoid war with Decepticons. Dylan Gould calls Sam Witwicky but when he places the phone near his ear, no call is actually made as you can clearly see the phone dialer is still visible in his phone screen.
When the Apollo spacecraft with LEM enters the moon's orbit, the scene was clearly "borrowed" from the movie Apollo 13. The Apollo spacecraft clearly has the panel missing, antenna array damage, and debris trailing behind it.
During the Russian bar scene, Dutch "pumps" the fore-grip of the breech-loading shotgun to chamber a new shell and eject the spent one. There's even the sound of the shell being ejected and hitting the floor, despite this being impossible for the type of gun he is using.
When showing Nixon giving his address, the image shown on the monitor was very similar to the view the audience gets. However, there is a lamp shade on the monitor that was nowhere visible in the room.
When the wreckers appear in Chicago you can clearly see them ripping a decepticon pilot apart. But once Optimus begins to explain to Sam and Epps how they survived you can see the wreckers are no longer behind them. Then after the other autobots appear all 3 wreckers are clearly visible again
After Starscream stops banging his head on the ground trying to get the boom stick out he clearly looks up at the camera and you can see for a brief second that his eye (which is supposed to have the hook in it) is clearly fine and intact.
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
Transporting a large planet into Earth's orbit would have devastating effects to the Earth's gravitational field and orbit around the sun. The Decepticons' plan to enslave humanity would fail as all or most of the Earth's population would be dead.
When Que is about to be executed by the Decepticons, you can briefly glimpse the "head on a stick" prop of Dino in the background. Originally, the scene called for Dino to be killed, but it was rewritten at the insistence of Ferrari (the car type Dino transforms into), however they forgot to digitally erase this prop out of the shot.