I’ve been writing Valentine’s Day magazine articles and posts for a few years now, so this year I figured I’d do something different by writing about my platonic love for Michael Bay!
So I saw a news report on ComingSoon.net this morning that Transformers 4 has been given the go-ahead and that Paramount is planning to unleash more robot violence in 2014. As for whether Michael Bay would be returning to direct the movie, that’s still a bit vague (he has stated before that three is enough for him). A lot of Internet haters are undoubtedly going to get up in arms and start demanding that they get another director to do the next Transformers movie, citing the usual reasons like “Michael Bay is a untalented director that only makes things explode” or that he killed the franchise with two sequels that have ridiculously bad plots and long running times filled with action sequence after action sequence.
Well, I disagree!
People love to hate on Michael because his movies gravitate towards explosions and Megan Fox’s ass. But so what? It takes a crapload of talent and skill to manage grand scale carnage the way he does. Have you ever seen what happens on the set of an action movie like Transformers? It’s chaos! There are explosives rigged everywhere, hundreds of extras running around, and to top it off, the robots are represented by tall sticks with a paper head on them! It takes a genius to be able to figure out what the shot needs to look like, and how to direct all this chaos towards something that even vaguely resembles the intended shot.
Yes, the plots for the second and third Transformers movies are pretty piss-weak, but why isn’t the screenwriter being splashed with as much vitriol? Blame Ehren Kruger for that! After all, he’s the guy that also wrote the atrocious Scream 3!
His carefully orchestrated action scenes are not only spectacular, but the guy always manages to pull out at least a couple of shots each movie that you’ve really never seen before. Whether it’s that shot of the torpedo in Pearl Harbor, or the Haitian shootout spin around shot in Bad Boys 2, Bay really infuses his shots with magic.
I worked on Transformers 3, and part of my job involved sitting through hours of Michael Bay reviews, taking notes for the VFX producer. And while Bay certainly does like to jabber about nonsensical anecdotes and bitch about people, it’s also pretty obvious that he takes his shots seriously and won’t stop cussing until he gets exactly what he wants.
There was this study of Michael Bay films over at Frankenspace, and it notes a distinct correlation between the number of explosions in his films and the resultant box office bank. Check it out:
Which pretty much means that’s what people want to see. That said, I don’t know why people give him shit for that. They complain when the government doesn’t provide what they want, yet they complain when Michael Bay does exactly that. He knows he’s the go-to guy when it comes to epic explosions, and I don’t think he’s ashamed of it because he knows that’s what people want. He’s so aware of his reputation that he’s parodied himself in ads like these:
But you know what? The guy is more than just explosions. He’s the director that did the original Got Milk? ad. In fact, his work with commercials got him an award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials from the Directors’ Guild of America, when he was only 27. He’s also won just about every award there is for directing commercials. He’s done music videos for the Divinyls, Aerosmith, and my personal favorite, Meat Loaf’s I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That), and of course, won Best Music Video awards.
He’s also a total animal lover. He’s got two giant dogs named Bonecrusher and Grace (guess which movies those names are from) and they make cameos in his movies all the time.
As a kid, he donated his Bar Mitzvah money to an animal shelter. When that video of that girl drowning puppies surfaced, PETA offered $2,000 for information leading to her arrest. Michael Bay topped that and offered $50,000! People who like animals are good people. You just can’t hate good people like that!
So you know what? Screw what the Internet haters think. It might be trendy to hate on Michael Bay, but in my opinion, this guy’s a cinematic genius! In fact, he’s an awesome cinematic genius!
Did you know?
Michael Bay directed his first explosion when he was a kid, by strapping a toy train up with firecrackers and then filming it with his mom’s 8mm camera.