Recently I was talking with a friend about Michael Bay movies. My friend found them detestable, but as of late he has come around to the thinking that maybe Bay simply gives audiences exactly what they want. His opinion is far tamer than others I have read; some reviewers go as far as saying that Bay even has contempt for his audience. After years Bay movies and discussions, I have decided that Michael Bay is not so terrible, and maybe he simply is doing what movies were invented for in the first place, giving the audience a thought free escape.
People originally went to the movies to escape, not to be reminded of the horrors of daily life. If one goes back and looks at many of the movies of yesteryear, they were not gritty true to life stories, they were fantastic nonrealistic stories that made us forget about everything depressing in the world, if only for a couple of hours. They were non-realistic, non-plausible movies, but none of that mattered because people were simply entertained. The easiest way I can relate this to you is by getting you to try to remember what it was watching movies as a kid. The plot holes and bad special effects never mattered, what did matter was that the movie was exciting and took you someplace else; this why we loved movies like The Neverending Story, Masters of the Universe, and even The Goonies to some degree.
Essentially, that is what Bay has been doing, giving the audience a thought free escape from reality; a fun thrill ride much in the style of the old Flash Gordon serials. The problem is that we have moved into such a cynical age, if things are not “realistic” (and by realistic I mean ultimately depressing) we immediately dismiss them and call them sophomoric. So sure, Transformers and Pearl Harbor are not stylized works of art, but I say who cares? Should they have to be? Sometimes I want the good guys to win and all kinds of things to blow up on screen, and I thank Michael Bay for delivering.