Michael Bay has been around for a while and his movies are always so divisive. Some say he ruined Transformers, others say he is about to ruin the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To be clear though he is only producing — nobody blames Steven Spielberg for Transformers so why should we blame Bay if TMNT isn't any good?
I believe Michael Bay gives us what we want regardless of whether we actually want to admit it. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who is partly responsible with getting Bay in the spotlight, has said,
“Michael knows what audiences like, because he’s one of them. He has a strong sense of what makes a thrilling, entertaining movie ... just when the audience thinks they’ve seen it all, Michael gives them even more.”
We in the geek community like to hate on Bay's Transformers franchise, rolling our collective eyes whenever a new Transformers film comes around. But the last one made over a billion dollars, so there are people paying to see it — I'll admit I am one of those people. Bay's Transformers films have all made over half a billion dollars each with the most recent one, Dark of the Moon, actually surpassing the billion dollar mark. Now I'm not saying that just because his movies make money that means their good, but they have something that gets us in the theater and I highly doubt it's Shia LaBeouf. Even Armageddon, one of my least favorite films, surpassed the half billion dollar mark, and that was an original property.
I have highly enjoyed Bay's films. They are full of over the top spectacle that I've come to expect and look forward to when watching his films. Steven Spielberg put it pretty well when he said,
"[Bay] has the best eye for multiple levels of pure visual adrenaline."
Now I'm not saying that every Michael Bay film is good. I really disliked Pearl Harbor and Revenge of the Fallen was clearly a misstep in the Transformers franchise. But overall Bay has a good track record.
Sometimes a movie with massive amounts of action and spectacle is just good fun. Not to say that Bay cannot craft a well written film. His most recent endeavor, Pain & Gain, was one of my favorite films of last year. It harkened back to Bay's old school films like Bad Boys, proving that Bay doesn't need exploding robots to make an entertaining film.
Lastly, I'd like to discuss The Rock. That film was made in 1996 but has the two main hallmarks of an 80's B-Movie, an absurd plot and over the top characters — also, Nic Cage is in it and you can't beat Nic Cage. Whenever I watch The Rock I wish Hollywood would make more of these insane yet original movies.
Bay is not without his critics and to those that say Bay ruined their childhood I could not disagree more. Regardless of whether or not you hate the live action Transformers films, the cartoons still hold up, the comic books are still fun, and they don't stop being awesome. I love going back and rewatching the classic cartoon and even some of the newer stuff is pretty decent and Bay's version of Transformers doesn't rob me of that enjoyment.
Michael Bay has been called a lot of things: an auteur by fellow directors and critics (which I may tend to agree with), "Hitler" by Megan Fox, and "childhood ruiner" by geeks. I don't think he deserves nearly the amount of hate he gets so I just refer to him as Michael Bay.
Follow Me @Ltt2P