I find it curious that he chooses the Transformers franchise as his vehicle to express his genre inclinations (James Cameron is nodding over there by his Avatars), but despite the heaps of attention poured upon what he does or doesn’t do well, Bay loves including lots of diverse elements and story pieces and shiny objects into what he makes, and by diverse, I mean everything.
Mark Wahlberg: Bay-vatar and hero
Cyberton threatening the Earth
British professor who can’t find a boyfriend
Anthony Hopkins as curator of lore
Little girl who wants to fight
|Right amount of humans.|
For a movie about sentient robot aliens, it feels like it sidelines the Transformers most of the time, treating them like side characters in their own movie. Look, if I’m watching a Transformers movie, then I want to see them on screen as much as possible. Since the titular characters aren’t on screen, that means we have to spend time with the human characters, who are boring either from their lack of dimension or their nonsensical behavior. Laura Haddock and Isabela Moner are up for the game and try really hard, which only seems hilarious because they’re most often opposite of Mark Wahlberg, who isn’t so much dialing it in as much as he knows exactly what kind of movie he’s in.
|Two worlds colliding.|
Speaking of other movies, Transformers 6, 7, and 8 have been announced, with plans for a Bumblebee spinoff directed by Travis Knight, which is mildly intriguing. Part of the staying power of this franchise, despite its storytelling deficits, is obviously its strong box office appeal in the overseas market, but the reason for that is the franchise’s reputation as a standard bearer for cinematic technology. It is a big loud American movie and one can see the budget on the screen, and this approach (and bankability) has influenced a growing number of action and sci-fi movies. How many times have you seen the distinctive high-definition, blue-orange patina of a Michael Bay movie outside of his films? I was going to make a chart listing all of them since 2007, but there’s far too many to make it even practical. Bay clearly is not the only who has made that particular style popular (Cameron did a lot with Avatar as well), but his status as the pre-eminent auteur of a distinctive style of Hollywood blockbuster means that he’s not ever going away, and that he’s actually a significant part of film history.
|You get the idea.|