There's no real connection between The Mist and the movie version of The Transformers, except that I saw them on the same day. But, IMO, that's a strength (and part of the point) of blogging as opposed to writing "real" movie criticism.
Anyway - after going out to watch The Mist during the Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and my brothers-in-law went home and put on a DVD of The Transformers. To recap: none of them had liked The Mist (at all) and, in fact, had found the experience of watching it mightily unpleasant.
None of us thought The Transformers was all that good, but everyone had a good time watching it. It's goofiness and mindless, flashy action turned out to be a good antidote to The Mist's seriousness and pessimism.
I started out wanting to blog that of course a Transformers movie needs to be goofy and of course taking its subject seriously would be a recipe for disaster. But as I composed that post, I remembered the original, animated Transformers movie. That had its light touches, for sure, but it was also kind of serious and (for me at that time) genuinely, emotionally affecting in a way the new movie isn't.
Some more thoughts:
1. My (not original) observation was that there's a good, 90-minute Joe Dante-esque movie hidden inside Transformers. (Or, as my friend Nick said: "It's like Small Soldiers with fewer good jokes." I swear I could edit the thing down myself.
2. I could hardly stay awake during the final battle sequence, even though we were watching it at 5 in the evening. All the CGI action seemed to blur together and I couldn't make much sense of what was going on.
3. Relatedly: the movie's biggest fault, IMO, is that the Transformers are always moving so quickly and their action scenes are so choppily edited - purposefully, it seems, to suggest their high tech, high speed nature - that I never really got a chance to just enjoy looking at them. This isn't some Z-movie where they had to cover up the low budget by only showing the bits and pieces of the creatures: they spent oodles on the design and realization of these robots, but they never give the audience room to just appreciate their work.
4. Relatedly 2: Michael Bay's biggest fault is that despite some good instincts - mainly with regard to casting and directing actors - he's too into the hard sell. His movies would be a lot better if they were shorter, slower, and softer.
5. The screenplay for Disturbia gave Shia LaBeouf something solid to work with: his role there was conventional (maybe even cliched) - troubled but basically good boy in over his head - but it gave him broad outlines within which he was able to sketch a believable, detailed picture of suffering teenager-hood. The screenplay for Transformers gives him almost nothing - horny teen with giant robot - but it was fun to watch LaBeouf (and Michael Bay) make something out of nothing. It was a much more impressive example of movie magic than any of the CGI effects.