Bay Bashing

Michael Bay and Bumblebee

Michael Bay and Bumblebee

“Transformers – Revenge of The Fallen” is now released, and in its wake follows a torrent of hate for Michael Bay.  Bay Bashing is nothing new, it has been going on for a couple of decades now, and I am perplexed by it.

What motivates otherwise normal, polite, caring individuals to turn into to bigoted, hate-mongering morons?

Let’s put some things into perspective here…

  1. Michael Bay makes movies, he is not promising to cure cancer or feed the poor.
  2. His movies are ‘popcorn’, ‘event’, ‘blockbuster’ films, they are not meant to compete with Kaufman  in terms of consciousness-raising!
  3. His movies always make money for the studios, and entertain many millions, in cinemas and in homes across the world.  He isn’t using public money to make the films, so why the feelings of betrayal and outrage at what he makes and how much it costs?

I don’t love Bay’s movies, although I do enjoy them.  They are films that appeal to the geek in me, the little boy who played at being soldier, the anorak who enjoys great SFX work, the movie fan who appreciates big spectacle as much as big ideas.  If I don’t like one of his films, I don’t think the is the Anti-Christ made flesh, I don’t rail against him and curse his children for all eternity.  I just don’t buy the DVD when it comes out.  Bay is NOT responsible for you choosing to go see his movie.  He is NOT responsible for you buying a cinema ticket.  He is NOT responsible for your expectations.

Movies are sometimes art.  Movies are occassionally life-changing.  Movies can even alter perspectives and societal beliefs.  But the majority of movies are simple entertainment.  Produced by studios to make money. Written by writers to make money. Directed by the Bays of the world to make money.  If they happen to tell a great story, introduce new talent, challenge perceptions, raise a laugh, question the system, etc…well, they have done a good job.  But movies are NOT there to replace the deficiencies in your life.  Directors like Michael Bay are not there to plug the gaps you have in your day-to-day existence.  Stop expecting movies and directors and actors and writers to be all-knowing, perfect constructs, and stop placing your insecurities and needs on these people and things.

I didn’t enjoy “Watchmen”, but did I hurl abuse at Zak Snyder for it, no.  I actually thought the direction and craft of the movie were excellent.  I didn’t enjoy the story, and I didn’t see why it was considered to be such an important movie.  I felt it was 10 years too late, and everything it covered had been covered in many other films.  But then I also didn’t find the original comic book all that revolutionary…maybe that’s because I also read a lot of books, listen to a lot of radio, and the concepts and ‘reverse-nature’ of Watchmen had been done many times before in other mediums.  BUT, do I think Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons should be attacked for their comic book? No.

I appreciate all art and all entertainment, because as someone who also makes this stuff, I understand how much of the individual goes in to each and every second of the final product.  Michael Bay may not float your boat, he may not have done a good job in your opinion, his movies may drive you mad…but he and his teams put their heart and soul into those movies and while you have the right to express your considered opinion and critique the film, you do not have the right to attack the man personally – he hasn’t popped round your house and punched your kitten!

Bay Bashing has been with us for many years, and will no doubt continue for many more.  But please, aim your criticism at the product, not the person.

Imagine a world without Michael Bay movies…it would have 99% less cool explosions, OTT SFX, military hardware shots and popcorn-ness – how sad it would be 🙂

P.S.  I am sure Megan Fox is well aware of what she is doing in those provocative shots…she’s exploiting her looks as much as Bay is!


About hokusbloke
30-something radio producer/director/writer, owner & MD of Ladbroke Productions (the UK's oldest independent radio production company). Lover of far fetched fiction, scifi and fantasy, my cats and all thinks tech. I am also the Chair of the Radio Independents Group, a former Trustee of the Radio Academy, and a Fellow of the RSA. I co-wrote, produced and directed Robert Rankin's "The Brightonomicon" audio series, produce Dr Who audiobooks for the BBC, and directed several sci-fi radio plays for BBC Radio 4 in 2009. I am a strong advocate for more SF audio and radio...keep watching this space for upcoming news!

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