Watching Transformers: The Last Knight is jail for the offense of buying a ticket.
Nearly an experimental film, Michael Bay’s fifth entry in this un-killable Hasbro franchise beats the viewer into submission with lapses in basic continuity, plot coherence, character logic, and visual clarity. Strip away the Hollywood gloss and cynical marketing, and Transformers 5 is as absurd and challenging as bad David Lynch.
Stranded in Portland on a layover, I approached the prospect of sinking time into this movie with black dread. Not fucking around, I marched straight to Serra, my preferred downtown dispensary in Elliot Smith’s favorite city. Designed like a Portlandia parody, Serra boasts an anemic beige interior and a disaffected surfer-boy receptionist—all turn-offs until this shop’s superior product floods your bloodstream.
I first bought Black Buddha, a pungent indica so darkly purple it almost looks like coal. This sticky bud hit me like a semi-truck made of pillows—I spent five minutes looking for my missing phone, only to discover it in my hand.
After quickly consuming the entire gram at the crackhead-strewn waterfront, I immediately returned and purchased a second gram of Stella Blue. Burning down the racy Blue turned out to be an excellent balance to the somnolent Black, the earthy citrus of the mystery hybrid counteracting my desire to lay down in the street.
This promising THC cocktail was rendered inert once sitting in the air-conditioned theater. Transformers 5 works like waterboarding, the initial tolerance of the aggressive situation swiftly disintegrating into howling acceptance. At nearly three hours, the film is a cacophonous mixture of racial stereotypes, dick humor, and hollow spectacle.
Sometimes marijuana can shield the viewer from the chaotic aesthetics of blockbuster filmmaking, like drinking through a bad wedding. Not so here—Transformers 5 defeated me. For long stretches, I could do nothing but close my eyes, the screeching images onscreen invading my oncoming headache.
“Has my life been wasted?” a slumming Anthony Hopkins intones to his android butler. “Do you ever feel like that?”
Yes. Yes I do.