the staff looks at the action director …
Daniel Cohen: When people hear the name ‘Michael Bay,’ most hardcore film fans usually shudder – I know I do. I absolutely loathe Michael Bay. When it was announced he was merely a producer on the new Ninja Turtles movie, my heart sank to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. But here’s the thing – it wasn’t always like that. Back in the 90’s, I was actually a big Michael Bay fan. His first three films were Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armageddon. Those are all really fun movies. The characters are legitimately funny, have great camaraderie, and the action is spectacular. Bay gave us popcorn fun in the purest sense. And then in 2001, Pearl Harbor happened.
I don’t think Pearl Harbor is the giant piece of shit most do, but it’s certainly not a good movie. But at least we can say Bay’s action was still at the top of his game. It wasn’t until 2003’s Bad Boys II where Bay transformed (no pun intended) into the director we all love to hate. Bad Boys II introduced ‘Bay Humor.’ What is ‘Bay Humor’ you ask? Stereotype jokes. Characters getting high. John Turturro pulling down his pants. To sum it all up, atrocious comedy that isn’t any where near the realm of funny. To call his humor sophomoric would be an insult to frat boys. The prime example of this is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Robot balls. Any more questions? What also started with Bad Boys II was how damn long Bay felt he needed to make his movies. 154 minutes for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
But the thing I really want to stress to people about Michael Bay, and what pisses me off more then anything else are the Michael Bay defenders who say ‘Oh, his movies are supposed to be dumb fun, and you’re just a snob for bashing them.’ Bay gets this pass more then anyone else in Hollywood. But I’m sorry, ever since Bad Boys II, I refuse to give credit to his action sequences … THEY SUCK! You can’t tell what the hell is going on, and they are mostly just loud incoherent noise. I’m serious when I tell you I’d rather go to the dentist then sit through a Transformers movie again. The action in those films is downright painful.
When I look at the trailer for Pain & Gain, it gives me hope of Bay going back to his early Bad Boys days, but I’m not holding my breath.
Favorite Bay Movie: Bad Boys
Least Favorite Bay Movie: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Michael Dworkis: A lot of people have beef with Michael Bay. Is it because of Armageddon and its superbly idiotic dialogue and plot? Could it be the fact he constantly goes after old properties, rebooting them into absurd films warranting facepalms of dread?
Or could it be, Michael Bay has made every film into the same thing. Explosions. Lots of them. The strange thing is, I love explosions. I enjoy movies like The Expendables where there is nothing but senseless violence and a plot which could be about saving the rainforest for all I care. A movie like The Expendables is just a fun check-your-brain-at-the-door movie. Michael Bay directed The Rock, which was a good movie. Sure it had moments of ridiculousness, but it made for a good film. Then he declined with Armageddon, a film even Bruce Willis could not save on his own merit. It got worse with Pearl Harbor, the most drawn-out film I had ever seen. It seems like he is on a roll with destroying classics from our childhood. Even A Nightmare on Elm Street, are you kidding? That movie needed an update? It is a slasher! A bloody slasher film. You just do not go and update that!
Then Michael Bay made more explosions. Bigger. Louder. Then he made Transformers into a check-your-brain-at-the-door movie. Then he got lazy by copying scenes from previous films into the third Transformers film, taking the car flipping chase scene from Bad Boys 2, and shots from The Island. Good lord Bay, you copied your own shtick? You got that lazy? The first Transformers film was good, then you made a second one which sank faster than a Megatron corpse in an ocean, then a third where you could have just said “Screw it, I ran out of ideas, let’s just blow EVERYTHING up!”
Now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oh wait just a moment now, they are not ninjas anymore, but aliens with intelligence, skilled in the ninja arts? Well Bay, I guess this one can be called T.A.I.N.T., which is where I will be sticking my $12 up rather than waste it on a movie ticket.
Luke Kalamar: Michael Bay is nothing more than a guy who produces big, special effect action movies with explosions, or remakes of old films… with explosions.
My feelings about Michael Bay are really somewhere in the middle of both liking and disliking him. As someone who really enjoys a wide variety of films, I dislike that Bay frequently fails to deliver thought provoking and well-acted movies. He’s never nominated for any awards for a reason. However, I also like special effects and watching giant robots fighting each other. Bay usually always delivers in this regard and that pushes me to like him. He’s basically better for dishing out visual spectacles with nothing much below the surface, and if you go into his films expecting that, he’ll grow on you.
Favorite Bay Movie: I really liked The Rock and Armageddon, but my favorite Bay film has to be Transformers. I’ve been a fan of the Transformers franchise since the early cartoon and was really excited to see a live action adaptation (with Peter Cullen returning as Optimus Prime!). The plot of the movie was nothing special, but as I mentioned before, you should never really expect a “deep” film when it’s made by Bay. I expected giant robots beating the shit out of each other and explosions everywhere, and that’s exactly what I got. I had a lot of fun watching this film and I can only look back on it with fondness. It also helps that it kick-started Megan Fox’s career and put her as eye candy for men everywhere.
Least Favorite Bay Movie: Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Despite how much I loved Transformers, my passion for the trilogy fizzled out somewhere near the middle of this third film. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had a weaker plot than the first, and Dark of the Moon had the weakest of them all. I know Bay usually has subpar plots for his pop-corn flicks, but this was poor even for his standards. It also didn’t help that the movie was almost 3 hours long, the longest in the entire trilogy. I love fighting robots as much as the next guy, but that can only sustain me for so long.