Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh, Michael Bay. Damn you.

The Beefcake and I jaunted up to The Arclight Saturday night, braving the bazillions of cars and the Transformers display with the gas-guzzling trucks and all the people lined up to give $200 million to Michael Bay, and we confidently stepped up to the ticket counter and ordered our tickets for The Hurt Locker.

And wouldn't you know it? They were sold out.

So we went over to Amoeba and I bought a copy of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie then we went home and watched a marathon of Lockup on MSNBC.

Scott the Reader had a good point. This movie made a shitton of money. Imagine how much it would have made if it had gotten good reviews.

So the big question is, why does a movie that even its fans admit isn't particularly good make so much money?

How is it that Terminator Salvation, which had every bit the explosion quantity and robot destruction of Transformers, didn't do nearly so well?

I'll tell you how. Fun. After reading the plot and the reviews of Transformers, I can tell the story makes no sense. But where McG was all serious and sad, Michael Bay just really loves to blow shit up. He may not be the world's greatest story teller, but his love of cgi violence is evident with every shot in his films, and I do respect him for that at least. And when people think of Transformers they think of toys and a cartoon, and that makes them think of fun.

What bothers me is how many people think it's completely okay for an action movie to have a shit plot. I talked to a girl the other day who said she rolled her eyes a bit and shook her head at some of the more ridiculous plot points, but since she went in with low expectations she ended up thinking it was okay.

Ooooh what an endorsement. Let's throw another $250 million at Michael Bay and see just how mediocre we can get.

Just because a film has explosions in it, does not mean the story gets to suck. Imagine if Bay insisted on a solid story, how incredible would he be? He had the clout and the financing to elevate action films to a whole new level. He could be a truly great director, one who finally makes people realize that action films can be art films too. Explosions can have subtext.

But why should he? We're willing to give money to a movie we know isn't very good just because it has explosions. Why should he bother making a great film?


  1. I'm goign to do a big post on this. To start, ROTF (hey all it needs is an "L") is a bunch of glittering metal (sure to attract "the demo") and has a built in fan base.

    Also, word of mouth will not affect a "kid-accessible" film because they are all trying to see the fight scenes. (maybe a little Fox cleavage)

    And because it is so accessible many parents will take their kids which means extra tickets.

    People say Bay is a bad film maker but a great salesman. I'd agree. The thing is that it will not have the legs because the parents won't want to see it again.

  2. I saw HURT LOCKER at the Arclight Saturday afternoon and it was pretty damn good. By the time I was leaving it was close to 4:00 and the place was already so crowded that I don't even want to think about what it was like that night.

    I haven't seen TRANSFORMERS yet. I'm not saying I won't and I've talked to enough people who flat-out hate it--no, scratch that, they pretty much despise it--that it's actually made me a little more curious. But so far I just haven't had it in me.

  3. the only Bay movie that was REALLY good is The Rock, I love that movie. Great dialogue, excellent character development, great plot, and an all-stellar cast. I wish Bay would make another solid action film like that.

    Transformers 2 was REALLY lame. I guess it was fun, but I actually fought hard not to fall asleep during some scenes that went on too long. Of course, I didn't have any high expectations, duh.

  4. I said this on Scott's blog. If McDonalds changed from regular burgers (which are tasty but horrible for you) to veggie burgers they'd go out of business.

    That explains Michael Bay's success.

    My brother is dating a girl that believes She's a smart, successful girl and a talented musician. She believes M. Night's worst films are Unbreakable and Sixth Sense and thinks The Happening is a masterpiece. She truly believes the first Die Hard sucks and the fourth Die Hard is the best in the series by far.

    These people aren't stupid. They live amongst us. But they like something that deep down they know is bad for them.

  5. Yeh, there's no need to see Transformers 2. Avoid at all costs.

    I didn't mind the first movie. I'm a die hard G1 Transformers fan. First movie got most of it right, sure Megs looked horrible but they got most of it right.

    But, wow, TF2, it *looks* great, it *sounds* horrible.

    The plotline is easy to follow so long as you follow the infodump from talking SR-71.

    The problems are many, the Autobot Twins, the fact most of the autobots/human army disappear into the background for most of the movie. Arcee and her trio of autobot motocycle girls are barely given any screen time.

    The juvinile antics from the first movie was exploded ten fold in this movie for no reason at all.

    I have to wonder if the writer's strike had not happened if the script would have been tighter.

    GI Joe will no longer be the worst summer movie, it has something to live up to now.

    I saw The Hangover and liked it more than TF2...

  6. Anonymous3:27 AM

    Why should it suck just because it cost so much to make?
    We know this thing won't have a pair of brain cells to rub together, and we go see it anyway. And they know it because they pulled the same trick on us with the first one. So they carry on.
    I'm seeing posts on message boards and facebook proclaiming this the best movie ever. Seriously. Are IQs dropping or am I just getting old and cranky? I see a day when Bay starts production on a movie with no script at all...
    With you on The Rock, BTW. Love that.

  7. Yeah lets all bash Michael Bay cause it's trendy... wasn't Spielberg an EP on this film? Where's his story chops? Can't we pick on Spielberg who should have insisted that this film work in the story department also?

  8. Sure. Speilberg put his name on this. He helped get this thing to the screen, just like hundreds of other people. But the director is the one responsible for the final vision.


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