Transformers, directed by Michael Bay, is perhaps the most spectacular movie this summer. Sadly, it is also the stupidest Hollywood blockbuster since Pearl Harbor, also directed by Bay.
Bay, at his best, is a screen warrior who plays by the rules. His passion for ear-crunching action is unrivalled among his peers, and he has a canny ability to present mayhem without too much blood (blockbusters, after all, have to be family entertainment).
Transformers, based on the shape-changing toys of the 1980s and the animated series that followed, is the director's most expressive work to date. The film is crammed with expensive visual effects - the explosions are a spectacular treat.
Also, little blood is involved as both the good and bad guys are chunks of 'sentient' metal that can transform themselves into cars or aeroplanes when necessary. Welcome to Bay's world - the nonsensical world of metal and fire.
So where are the humans? They play second fiddle to the robots - they are like Lego figures, which look colourful in the background but have no emotions. The lead character, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), is an idiotic high school student whose life revolves around his car and love interest (Megan Fox).
He becomes the unlikely saviour of mankind when his grandpa's broken glasses contain a map to the AllSpark, the life source of both the good alien robots, the Autobots, and the bad ones, the Decepticons.
For a reason that is anybody's guess, the robots decide to settle their old scores on Earth. This leads to some bloodless, clumsy battles between the Autobots and the Decepticons on a busy street, where they throw their metallic bodies at each other like sumo wrestlers. Is this how hi-tech robots fight?
Bay's frenetic camerawork also makes it impossible to follow the action and make sense of what's going on. Rather than entertaining the viewers, the action scenes are an all-out assault on their senses.
Transformers fans who fear they might be let down by the movie should go home and play with their action figures. They can't do worse than Bay.
Transformers is now showing.