Michael Bay’s influence on films is undeniable, but in most cases his influence has inspired others toward comedy. “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone delivered Team America: World Police, which was just as much a visual slam on Jerry Bruckheimer films as it was Bay, and they did it again in an episode of “South Park” (watch here). “Robot Chicken” took their own spin on Bay with “Baysplosions” seen to the right and Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg used the director’s flashy editing and often used action choreography to bring us Hot Fuzz. Everyone gets the joke, and it’s funny, but what has it done for his public image and people’s opinions/expectations of his films?
I ask this based on a comment left on my posting of the teaser trailer for the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake where someone wrote, “Michael Bay will be the death of cinema.” Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, is behind the film and it is their fifth remake of a classic horror film (sixth if you count the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel), but none of them were directed by Bay. He’s simply listed as producer and who knows how much he’s actually involved in the production if at all. Yet even the mention of his name conjures up a negative reaction.
Considering this all comes on the heels of his last two Transformers films earning $1,541,666,202 worldwide with only 2005’s The Island serving as his lone domestic flop, but even that one managed to make $127 million in foreign markets. So how can his name drum up so much ire and is he the death of cinema?
Does the fact Bay seems to realize he’s a maniac for explosives grant him any clemency, such as when he made the above Verizon commercial that swept the Internet following the release of Transformers? How about the New Commonwealth Bank commercial he made or the fact he directed the “got milk?” commercial to the right… Do these little videos warm a spot in your heart for the helmer?
What if he ends up making Pain & Gain before another Transformers or that Bad Boys 3 film we’ve now been promised? I mean, wouldn’t a film adapted from a “Miami New Times” article (read here) about a couple of criminal bodybuilders involved in an extortion ring and a kidnapping plot change your whole opinion of Bay? No? How about if he directed a weepy Cameron Crowe-esque feature such as Jerry Maguire 2? Would you take it seriously or just laugh at the fact he was trying something so far from his norm and never give it a chance?
I must admit, the egomaniac I perceive Bay to be based on the things he’s said doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the director, but outside of the Transformers movies I have had quite a bit of fun at the theaters with Bay’s films. I enjoy the Bad Boys films as well as Armageddon. Sure, Pearl Harbor was a stinker and The Island is far from perfect, but I am more than happy to give any of his films a chance.
What say you? I know a lot of you go and see his movies or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen wouldn’t have made over $400 million domestically. However, was that the tipping point? While in line at the grocery store recently I heard the checker and a customer debating which one of the Transformers movies was better. I’m not sure how the conversation started, but I do know it didn’t include a single mention of Michael Bay, a topic I am assuming only us movie nerds focus on, but are you to the point where anything with the Michael Bay stamp is looked at with a cautious eye even if he is only the producer, or are you still up for Bayhem?