Michael Bay is a filmmaker who has received a vast amount of criticism from cinema-goers and critics over the years. Personally, I feel Michael Bay is given far too much money to make his films, as his ‘blockbusters’ always seem to turn out very disappointing results on the screen. I don’t understand the psychology behind film executives that continue to fund him. Is their belief that the more money thrown at him, the better his films will become? This may seem like an outright attack on Michael Bay, but I am simply demonstrating how Michael Bay fails to deliver any films of quality despite being overindulgently funded. Out of the twenty films he has either directed or produced, only two of them have scored above 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, therefore it is safe to conclude that the majority of them are rotten if not worse. However, one cannot be too critical of Bay given his accolades, as he is the recipient of five MTV Movie Awards and four nominations for Worst Director at the Golden Raspberry Awards. Clearly, he is about as well-decorated as an igloo.
Let us begin at the beginning with Bad Boys. Bad Boys with the emphasis on ‘Bad’ had some promise in the sense that the two lead actors (Martin Lawrence and Will Smith) had notable comic flare and the potential to revitalise the buddy-cop genre. Unfortunately, the recycled material of previous films such as ‘Lethal Weapon’ resulted in a disappointing feature. No matter, any reasonable director would learn from his mistakes, and proceed to make a better film as a result of his new experience. Right? Don’t get your hopes up. The ‘Bad Boys’ tagline“Whatcha Gonna Do?” did compel me to consider the well-articulated question and my answer was… never whatcha that again.
‘Bad Boys’ may have indicated the little creative insight and vision that Michael Bay has for films, but it was the release of Pearl Harbour that profoundly shocked audiences and critics. This was a three hour film that could have easily been condensed into two and the contrast between the excessive special effects and pathetic love triangle made those three hours some of the most painful in cinematic history. The most scandalous aspect of the film is its complete disregard for the sensitive history it attempts to portray. When the title and subject of a film is a historical event, it is fundamental that the content be at least somewhat accurate, with a certain allowance for creative liberty. Michael Bay’s interpretation, however, is that the sole reason for the attack was the cutting off of the oil supply, which is just plainly incorrect. Furthermore, the central performances of Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale evoked little more than an occasional cringe and face-palm. Pearl Harbour evidenced that even with a $140 million budget, Michael Bay can only churn out an insignificant picture. As his career has developed, it appears the more money he gets, the more atrocious his films become. There is only one film of his that I consider remotely enjoyable, and that is The Rock mostly because of Sean Connery’s prom quote and the Nicholas Cage’s typical craziness. That said, these merits had nothing to do with the film’s direction, as it isn’t well-directed by any means.
In 2005, we were gifted the unsurprisingly underwhelming The Island starring the accomplished Ewan McGregor and the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, but not much else. Later, Bay was once again thrust into the limelight when it was announced he would helm Transformers. The script was unsurprisingly awful but the special effects were impressive transforming the film into something bearable. However, the sequels, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon became extremely repetitive and dull, with constant explosions blowing open plot-holes in every direction. For most of the films, Shia LaBeouf just ran around like a headless chicken avoiding explosions while yelling at random, inanimate things whilst Megan Fox’s character was given no substance and therefore added nothing to the experience. On the other hand, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s wooden acting did make a nice change to the continuous clashes of metal.
2014 drags with it the fourth instalment of the franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Charitably, I wish Michael Bay every bit of luck with this film. I’m hoping the introduction of some fresh faces such as Mark Wahlberg and Kelsey Grammer will breathe some new life into the series, but I am, of course, weary. If it follows a similar path to the previous films, I may take a leaf out of Michael Bay’s book at the Samsung press conference in January, and simply turn and walk out.