Optimus Prime is going through a bad patch. First he had to break up with Shia and kick him out of the house (according to TMZ, while screaming, “Go! Go live with your new boyfriend Lars von Trier! See how that turns out!”). Then he had to hide out in an abandoned movie theater in Texas and become a metaphor for the Death of Cinema.

Poor Optimus wouldn’t have had to hide if the government weren’t suddenly on a covert search-and-destroy mission against the Autobots. Ingrates. Save their asses three times in a row and what thanks do you get? “Sorry, robots, you need to die,” that’s what. Humans are the worst. Also, do you know how hard it is for a robot in disguise to drive itself into any movie theater and not raise suspicions? No, you don’t, because this movie isn’t going to tell you.

Anyway, the Autobots are the collective enemy of everybody for no good reason since nobody can seem to tell the difference between them and the Decepticons. Mark Wahlberg, though, he gets it, and he’s here to help Optimus rebuild himself, get the hell out of Texas and fight back against those who would seek to obliterate robot benevolence.

Wahlberg is good at helping because he’s a robotics engineer living in a country music video with his daughter, whose name may actually be Short-Shorts and whose function is to make you miss the show Taradise (like I didn’t do that everyday already). But I wasn’t paying enough attention to the words people said or names or anything else that came from a mouth onscreen. That’s because with the exception of Stanley Tucci (as a weird Steve Jobs-like thing) shouting, “ALGORITHMS! MATH!” complications like explanatory talky-talk never matter in any film by Michael Bay. Pretty much all the dialogue here sounds like this: “AKKKKKKflumpq[oihtnjinokqrmBUDLIGHTjnvocickjld90g49`p*^*&^&^%jknklmmkzzxzzzzzzzzzYORPYORPYORP.”

What does matter in a film by Michael Bay is the stuff he’s the king of doing. And say what you want about what he does and damn him to movie hell for all time if you like, but his anti-style is unmistakably his own. So once again we're presented with a movie about loud grinding noises and loud exploding noises and loud car noises and loud screaming noises about nothing.

But if plot is what you care about (and if it does then I would argue that perhaps you should just stay home with your cats and watch The King’s Speech again) then all you really have to know is that the Decepticons and the government and big business are in bed together to help ruin the Autobots and everybody has to go to China to have the big showdown battle sequence because $$$$$$$$. That’s eight dollar signs. Eight is a lucky number in China.

At 165 minutes (just 13 shy of everybody mistaking it for The Godfather), this visit with the movies’ most reliably bankable robot friends makes you wait a long time for the really great transforming animation and fighting. It makes you wait an even butt-numbinger duration for the best part, when Optimus and the other Autobots leap onto the back of a squadron of metal dinosaurs for serious battle action. But then it happens and then it’s over finally. Take that, Andre Bazin.


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