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.
I agree that escapist movies are some of the best out there, and they can really help one’s mental state, what with being bombarded by reality outside the theater.
What i take issue with, regarding Bay, is his implicit belief that we’re *all* idiots who have the mental capacity of a 12 year old. There are a great deal of fun, escapist, non depressing movies (and directors) that don’t assume we can’t juggle multiple plot points or character arcs or 3d portrayals of said characters, and still have fun. Bay, probably correctly, assumes that most of his audience can’t do those things, which I don’t dispute. But the “evil” (or i would say “integrity”) issue you speak about comes down to this: is he making these fairly dumb, splashy, straight forward movies out of the goodness of his heart, for the millions of people who just can’t think straight, because hey, they need movies too…or is he cynically making these movies knowing he’s making schlock, but cashing in on the hundreds of millions of dollars anyway because he’s found a lucrative market to mine? Either way, it doesn’t much matter. He’ll keep making movies and making millions. Good for him. What matters is, just because most people are ok with total junk, doesn’t mean I have to be.
incidentally, a good test would be to see what movies HE pays to see. He is obviously talented, and has the knowledge necessary to put together a movie. That being the case, I’m sure he has some, er, taste. I bet he doesn’t pay to go see other directors schlock. I bet he’s more interested in *good* movies with his free time.
I agree, he is not evil he just has a great passion for believing in a society in which we cannot achieve. As well as creating an entertaining universe that has no repercussions, just pure action. Just like “Transformers”