Is it illegal to make films that entertain and excite the masses? Is it a crime to literally give people more “bang” for their buck when sitting in a theater? If the answer is no, why do so many people have a problem with the film-making style of director/producer Michael Bay? For years critics have been dumping on Bay because of his desire to produce big budget films. Explosions and car chases have become his signature, and are easily identifiable by any steady movie goer. Granted he may never direct a film along the lines of Schindler’s List or The English Patient, but then again I wouldn’t want him to. Bay has his own visionary style that was unprecedented until he hit the scene in the mid-nineties with his feature film debut, Bad Boys. For the most part Bay has churned out some pretty entertaining films, so whats with the hard feelings? Why does everyone hate Michael Bay?
I recently came across an article on Cinematical where the author pretty much bashed Michael Bay every other line. He asked the question, “is there room for Michael Bay in the age of Chris Nolan?” My first thought was, what does one have to do with the other? These are two totally different directors, with very different film aesthetics. What’s with the random vendetta? It turns out, Bay made a few statements about his approach to making movies, and it rubbed the writer the wrong way.
It seems that every interview with the man contains a response to his naysayers to the tune of: “I don’t see anything wrong with spending a lot of money to make big action movies to entertain people. Yet somehow, I come under special scrutiny. I mean, why don’t people get upset if Dow spends $300 million to invent some new chemical? Audiences like popcorn movies. What’s wrong with that?” and “What we do is not brain surgery. We are entertainers, plain and simple, and we’re responsible to bring that money back, to make a profit.”
I will admit the Dow comparison was a bit extreme, but for the most part is he wrong? Hollywood is full of actors, musicians, directors, and writers who all want to be creative and make a living off their craft. If the entertainment industry wasn’t a multi-billion dollar business it wouldn’t be so hard to break into. What’s so bad about making “popcorn flicks?” Film’s were created to entertain, so whats wrong with making movies that do? I enjoy a variety of films, no matter the genre or director. I can watch anything from a Busby Berkley musical, to a Hitchcock thriller, to a Judd Apatow comedy. There are bad movies made in every genre for every price. Just give me something that can captivate and hold my attention.
Google Sam Raimi, and you’ll get quotes about the power of great stories, and his love for his source material. Even Stephen Sommers, who has certainly made some reviled films, talks about his enthusiasm and inspiration; you can sense he’s trying. From Bay, you get: “I’m an entertainer — don’t hold me to any standard.”
Really? Stephen Sommers? I liked the Mummy movies like everybody else, but your going to have to do better than that. Did he see the same trailer for G.I. Joe I did during the Super Bowl? I know I’m not the only one who noticed the Transformer-esque elements in that TV spot. As for Raimi, my fellow Michigan native, I love the guy. Army of Darkness is one of my favorite movies and of course I loved his work on Spiderman (with that being said, I mean films I mean one and two). The quote about Raimi’s love of “source material” may be a bit premature. Let’s not act as if those films stuck to the Marvel comic like glue. I personally wouldn’t expect them too since comic book films unfortunately always lose a little something when transferred to the silver screen.
Michael Bay is Michael Bay, he’s no Sommers, Raimi, or Nolan. He sticks to what he does best, and that’s blowing stuff up. You don’t walk into one of his movies for a thought provoking message, you go for the adrenaline rush.
I’m not writing this article as a campaign for you to become the biggest Bay fan, or to run out and buy all his movies. I’m just stating a point. Bay is good at directing summer blockbusters. He says his goal is to entertain and make a profit, and that is exactly what he does. No false pretenses. He doesn’t think he’s making art, he knows what he’s making and he’s good at it. Once again, isn’t that what everyone in Hollywood is trying to do on one level or another? They may not all be as vocal about it, but it’s true. Everyone wants to do the thing they love and do it well. And as an audience member, when I spend my money for a Bay film, he delivers what he promises everytime. It doesn’t matter if the story’s mediocre, or the acting is so-so, I know I won’t leave my seat without seeing a fire-lit car roll over 5 times, while a helicopter spews out a round of bullets in slow motion. Bay sticks to his guns (literally), and for the most part makes enjoyable, fun films. So again I ask the question…..
Why does everyone hate Michael Bay?
If you want to see Bay at his best, check out the video below. His work speaks for itself.