Now that I’ve made my impassioned plea that you rewatch a good, old movie instead of a new bad one, it’s only fair that I write a critique of the movie I’m asking you not to see.
Reread Part I , but add “the opposite of this” for all the positive parts.
In “Transformers 4”, there are no emotional moments that are earned, no lowest common denominator left unpandered to, no cliché remade to feel fresh.
No, the clichés in this movie feel old, moldy, and ridden with salmonella.
Is that slow moving American flag shot a hint about the nation in decline? Who cares?!? [EXPLOSIONS! BWWAAAAAMP!!]
Familial love, also a theme in “Gladiator”, is demonstrated by yelling variations of “You’re my baby and I WILL PROTECT YOU!” The whole endeavor is as subtle as a truck ad, which for as far as I could tell, was the only thing not being promoted in this movie. (But nice job on the Budweiser and Victoria Secrets product placements! Those were not obtrusive at all!)
While it would be easy to make fun of the actors in a movie like this, I don’t think that it would be fair. What is the point of trying to act in a spectacle like this? Everything is loud in this movie. So, so, so loud. The music, the effects. Stanley Tucci seemed completely aware of this, scaling up his acting to match, which is why he is the most fun to watch. Interestingly enough, he hammed up his expressions to the point that he would have been perfectly legible in a silent movie.
All this leads to the inevitable conclusion that Michael Bay actually hates his audience. Stay with me on this bit of theorizing. His time in Hollywood could not have possibly raised his opinion of humanity. So he must be deliberately making movies as terrible as they can be to validate his hatred for the public. And his audience never falls to disappoint him by consistently showing up.
He’s like that broke guy who complains that all women are golddiggers. But when he becomes rich, only targets the golddiggers. So every time they say “yes” to his proposition, he hates them because they prove to him that he was right about their shallowness, but he also proves that the only worthwhile thing about him is his money.
Moreover, now he’s known as the “guy who only dates golddiggers” so even if he wanted something else, those are the only people he can attract. No one shows up when he tries something different.
Likewise, with Michael Bay. For example, I heard that Bay’s smaller film “Pain and Gain” was pretty fun. Did I watch it? No. Because I, like many others, have been taught by past experience, that the Michael Bay brand meant a certain kind of product. So in the same way I don’t go to Burger King for fine dining, I don’t go to a Michael Bay movie for anything other than a noisy mess. Imagine if Burger King started advertising a $30 burger, promising quality ingredients. Would you go? You wouldn’t! Because it’s Burger King! You’d rather take your risk with the new, cute little place that opened up on the corner.
Does it mean I won’t ever go to Burger King ever again? Of course not. I will!
And feel bad afterward.
The thing is, Michael Bay must be spectacularly bored by now. There are only so many yachts, mansions, and golddiggers one can buy. So wouldn’t it be great if with his buckets of cash and connections to really good craftsmen (the vfx and camerawork are always well done), he sponsored better content, even if it’s not made by him?
That would be crazy right? Michael Bay starting a boutique film production house that makes good films? It could happen. After all, the robber barons of the Gilded Age rehabbed their legacy by building concert halls and schools. It’s like how a PBS show lists all the endowments that made the show possible. I doubt those people sponsored good and decent programs (social or otherwise) during their lifetimes. But that was so long ago, and now I get Masterpiece Theater and Frontline!
But it won’t happen. In a year or two, we will get “Transformers 5 – EVEN LOUDER!” And Michael Bay will blithely collect his completely superfluous paycheck, buying another god knows what/who with it. He’s been on record as saying he doesn’t care about criticism. And he’s right not to: it makes absolutely no difference to him; the audience keeps showing up regardless.
In this way he’s like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, sneering at us while we cheer “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”
Except less cool. And uses robots.
(And for those of you noting the hypocrisy of my complaining about something that I went to see myself, it was a free screening. And even then, it wasn’t worth it. Save your money. If you must watch a new movie, Planet of the Apes was good. Edge of Tomorrow was good. Go see one of those!)