I like to imagine that during his time at Wesleyan University, Michael Bay fell in love. She was a beautiful girl. She was smart, funny, and she knew her way around a bedroom. Michael was smitten. He was fully committed, and had gone as far as purchasing the engagement ring that would undoubtedly seal their commitment to each other for life thereafter.
As he opened her dorm room with jewelry box in hand, he came upon something unthinkable. There was the love of his life, raunchily intertwined with Travis, the nerdiest guy at school. Our unnamed beauty then informed Michael Bay that she and Travis were in love, and that they were running off together, Revenge of the Nerds style. Michael never heard from her after that day, but he did make himself a promise.
On that day, Michael Bay vowed to himself and to the powers above, that he would do all that he could to ruin anything and everything that nerds hold dear.
This scenario is, of course, ridiculous. However, I think that this how some of the “fanboy” community legitimately picture Bay. They loathe him as if he were some maniacal movie tyrant, spinning about in his office chair while blindly throwing darts at a list of potential franchises that he could ruin.
I honestly think you’re giving him too much credit.
Bay has made a long career out of making expensive, loud and (occasionally) fun blockbusters. Most people didn’t have a problem with him back when he was making Armageddon or Bad Boys. But then, he crossed a line. I recall the minute tremors of hope that echoed through the Internet when Bay was announced as the director of Transformers. “He knows action! He knows cars! There’s a chance it could work!”
Oh how foolish we were.
It wasn’t until the second and third films that Bay was solidly grounded in his role of Nerd Dream Ruiner incarnate. And now with the last week or so, from announcement to backlash regarding Paramount’s upcoming Ninja Turtles film, Bay has once again set the Interwebs ablaze with the anger of a thousand suns. My message is simple: Knock it off.
“But if we don’t do anything, he’s going to ruin another much-adored franchise! Why do they keep letting destroy our dreams?”
Because one billion dollars.
That is the number that Bay’s Transformers trilogy has surpassed since the first film’s release in 2007. That’s only counting domestic gross. If you’re counting foreign gross you can almost triple that number. Take into account that the three films only cost around half a bill to make and you’re looking at what some would call a decent profit.
Know how he made that much money? It wasn’t by catering to the true-blue fans of the franchise. It was done by dumbing the films down (not that you can really further dumb down half-hour toy commercials) to the lowest common denominator. It was done with big explosions, sexy ladies and penis jokes. At the end of the day, that’s what the majority of the world wants to see, and Mr. Bay is not so petty as to hold that against them.
Neither is Paramount. If they are seeing numbers like those you know they will not even hesitate to release whatever new two-hour explosion Bay has cooked up.
“Ninja Turtles you say? Is it going to double our money? Make five of them.”
I’m getting a little off topic here. Yes, Michael Bay’s films almost always turn a profit. No, I don’t think he has been part of a quality film since…Bad Boys, maybe? I liked Bad Boys. His sights are now set on our beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and things are already looking grim.
First off, nix the “Teenage” and the “Mutant”. According to Bay’s own blog, the working title for the 2013 film is simply Ninja Turtles. He claimed it was a move by Paramount’s marketing to simplify the title. That I can let slide. There was also talk a week or so ago about a clip of Mr. Bay speaking at The Nickelodeon Upfront where he mentioned that the Turtles may be part of some alien race. What can I say, Mike likes aliens.
Does it already sound like s--t? Well I will say it doesn’t sound good. But here’s the point I want to make:
Stop talking about it.
Let it go man. I know that feel. I know the bubbling nerd rage that festers within when you see your childhood heroes dashed into two-dimensional marketing mascots. I’m familiar with the thought process of “if enough stand up against it, it will change!” That’s not necessarily true.
We, the fans, make up an impressively small portion of the general audience. We, the fans, did not make Transformers 2 and 3 two hundred million dollars a piece. Michael Bay & Co does not care about us.
So what is our virtual outrage doing? It’s causing hype. It’s getting Bay’s name on the front page of websites. It’s causing people who would have otherwise never heard about this revamp until posters were hanging in theaters to hear about it a year early. All our collective bitching is doing is giving up free publicity.
So stop. Stop mentioning it. If and when test footage or a trailer finally arrives ten months from now and you still hate what you see, don’t see the movie. Better yet, convince others not to see the movie. The only way you will ever affect Bay’s career is to hit him in the pocket.
Even then, it’s the definition of an uphill battle. Without doing any research regarding the fact, I can’t think of a single film that Bay has directed or produced that would be considered a flop. The guy is a titan. For every nerd that won’t line up to see this movie, five Middle America NASCAR fans will.
So my somewhat morose statement here is: let it be. Bay’s film career is something that we will just have to live with until he flops or dies. It’s the sad truth. But we aren’t helping by getting uproarious over a few sentences on the internet. It’s just not worth it.
…Hey, at least we’re basically guaranteed that April O’Neil will be hot.
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