A punchy B-picture, high on testosterone and a Hollywood megabudget, featuring pleasantly absurd giant robots that turn into cars. The boy-hero’s teenage crush is an improbable babe (Megan Fox) sprung from the pages of a glossy magazine, and because this is a Michael Bay movie, the fights are ridiculously overblown.

Now, I have nothing against popcorn flicks aimed at the thirteen-year-old in all of us, but I can’t stand propaganda. Transformers wallows in the questionable rhetoric of heroism and sacrifice, and the shots of fighter jets taking off at dawn and military helicopters swooping over downtown L.A. just need the superimposed tagline “Army of One” to be turned into recruiting ads. When Shia LaBeouf gets his orders and is told “You are a soldier now,” the fun is all but ruined for this pacifist. With John Turturro as anti-alien G-Man.

Transformers. Michael Bay, 2007. **