Michael Bay doesn’t care what you think, he just keeps making hits
By Richard Crouse – In Focus Metro Canada
Director Michael Bay once said he doesn’t make movies for critics. The auteur behind such hits as The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys 1 and 2 and the Transformers movies is best known for making big, loud films that rake it in at the box office but leave critics reaching for the Advil.
Bay acknowledged the adversarial relationship in a 2005 article by Rene Rodriguez.
“They castrate me,” he told Rodriguez. “They call me the devil and all that crap.”
It’s not hard to see why reviewers have a hard time with his films. He never met a building or car or city he didn’t want to blow up in spectacular fashion and critics often feel like they have to slather on SPF 70 to avoid getting get a tan from the glare off the giant fireballs that light up screen in Bay’s films.
Audiences, however, have flocked to his flicks. According to boxofficemojo.com his ten features have grossed $1,898,048,525, or an average of $189,804,853. That’s a lot of beans.
The release this weekend of Transformers: Age of Extinction promises to add to those totals. The fourth installment of the franchise stars Mark Wahlberg as a single father and struggling inventor who discovers the deactivated Autobots leader Optimus Prime.
The movie promises a whole new raft of Transformers, including bounty hunter Lockdown and the rough and tumble Dinobot Grimlock. Bay promises we’ll also see an “angry Optimus Prime.”
Will the critics like Age of Extinction? Who knows? It probably won’t matter, the Transformers movies are as close to guaranteed hits as Hollywood has these days, so reviews most likely won’t matter to the box office.
Not all of Bay’s films have been critically reviled. “The critics were very nice to me when I first began with Bad Boys,” he says and his last movie, the crime drama Pain and Gain was called “the best movie Michael Bay’s ever made,” by the Newark Star-Ledger.
It has a few things going for it. First, there isn’t a robot in sight. Secondly, a great cast—including Wahlberg, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Anthony Mackie—who bring serious star power and third, it doesn’t really feel like a Michael Bay film. And by that I mean there’s only one shot of the three leads walking away from a slow motion explosion.
Years ago I wrote this about his trademarked aural and optical onslaught: “The former commercial director has a knack for making everything look shiny but having great taste doesn’t make a great film director any more than great taste makes a Snicker’s bar a gourmet meal.” I even coined a word for his style: Hullabayloo, but nothing that any critic or I write matters to the director.
“I’ve actually stopped reading (reviews),” he told Rodriguez.