Love him, or Hate him; there is no denying the fact that Michael Bay is one of Hollywood’s most successful Directors! By that I don’t mean he is one of the most critically successful directors; because he isn’t. He is often regarded as one of the worst directors in history. He is held in quite low esteem by film critics, and six of his films have been nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture of the Year (but only winning once in 2009). The elements he uses in his film which are held in low regard include (but are not limited to):
- Overuse of Dutch Angles,
- Cliché Camerawork,
- Extreme Patriotism,
- Juvenile Humor,
- And Excessive Product Placement.
And out of his illustrious camera of ‘bad movies’, only one of his films has ever scored a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (just)!
Despite his critically low reception, he however is one of Hollywood’s most financially successful directors. According to Wikipedia; he is the Fourth highest grossing director, with his films having grossed more than six Billion dollars; surpassing Tim Burton, J. J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan, and James Cameron to name but a few. Currently the only directors to have grossed more money than him are Peter Jackson, Anthony and Joe Russo, and Steven Spielberg.
So Michael Bay is something of a seesaw director. On the one hand he is a very successful director financially, but on the other, his films are not very well received critically. This imbalance has always confused me. Personally I enjoy quite a few of his movies, but when I try to defend them, people tell me how they felt, and thought the films were pretty bad. But if his films are so bad; why do people go see them? You don’t become the fourth highest grossing director in history unless people actively go and see your films! Doing some research, you also discover that eight of his films were amongst the 10 highest grossing films of the year they were released in; two of which were the highest grossing films of their respective years! So if his films are so bad, why do people (possibly even yourself dear reader) persist on seeing his films?
Well, there is a possible reason for that too; in that his films, good or bad in the eyes of critics and cinema goers; are films aimed at pure popcorn entertainment. Many of his films due to his over indulgence of action and special effects; are adrenaline fueled rides of entertainment. They are films to sit back, relax, and let the mayhem commence. And if you (like me), are someone who sees cinema as a form of entertainment, and want to forget about the troubles of the outside world for a couple of hours; then you can do no wrong in watching a Michael Bay film. In the realms of Popcorn entertainment, there is probably only one director better than Bay, and that’s Roland Emmerich!
So; given Michael Bay’s seesaw of an illustrious career of filmmaking, as well as being a genuine fan of many of his movies; I thought I would do a Top 5 Post of my Personal Favourite Michael Bay Movies. So without further ado, I present to you my Top 5 Favourite Michael Bay Films; Enjoy!
5. Transformers – Did you notice how in the top half of this post I did not once mention anything about Transformers? Yes, when it comes to talking about Michael Bay’s career; you sort of need to talk about his Transformers films, as at these films which gain most of his criticism’s. But I rather like them; maybe not as much as I used to but I still like them. This first one was his highest positioning of all five on Rotten Tomatoes, and is a pretty cool film for both casual and classic fans of Transformers to enjoy. It gets the foundations right, introduces classic characters, and gives them all a fresh paint job, plus it has quite a cool soundtrack. It does though kick out the point of them being Robot’s in Disguise, when by the film’s end, everyone in the city knows they are giant robots, not just vehicles!
4. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Ok, I know there’s a sense of irony by positioning this one here. For anyone who hasn’t spotted it yet; it’s the irony of placing the 2009 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture on a Top 5 Films list. But given the criticism his film’s gain; it was likely to happen. But I still defend my choice! I prefer Revenge of The Fallen to several of his other Transformers films. Yes the special effects were suggested to be blurry and hard to read; but I still think that the story was nice to get into. It features a collection of classic characters, gives them some new paint jobs as well, plus the final battle is quintessential Michael Bay; featuring some cool scenes of military involvement, more of that cool soundtrack, and an awesome final fight, with Optimus Prime saying “Give Me Your Face!”
3. The Rock – We reach number three on the list, and it’s the turn of the only Michael Bay film to receive a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Rock does have it’s issues. It is kind of long, and there is quite a lot of action filler before the heroes even reach Alcatraz, and some of the comedy is more just sad than funny. But it does have a lot going in it’s favour. For a start the film features a stellar cast of Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris, David Morse, Michael Biehn, John C. McGinley, and Tony Todd. The story is also rather well designed, as it features a group of respected army veterans making a bold statement against the country they previously serve, in order to accomplish an agreeable goal. It features action, good acting, and possibly the first in Hans Zimmer‘s list of iconic soundtrack’s!
2. Armageddon – I really like this film, although you could also argue that this was the film that first made light of Bay’s desire for big action, and depending on your view: bad films. Yes it’s the start of the cliched plots as a group of oil rig workers are asked to fly into space to stop an asteroid from hitting the Earth. Much like The Rock before it; it features a stellar cast of major stars, and upcoming talent, with names such as; Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, and Michael Clarke Duncan, to name but a few. These stars though do showcase their great talents and put on brilliant performances. The film does feature some drama’s that you wish it could have kept out of most of the entire picture, as again it takes time for them to fly into space. But, once in space the magic really begins, with drama to get involved and frustrated by, as well as some major action moments. Plus, the launch into space is an absolute epic joy to watch, backed up with an incredible score; it’s real movie magic in the making!
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction – Like I may have mentioned earlier; I do rather like both Michael Bay and his Transformer Movies. This one though for me is his crowning achievement. Once all the previous three movies were out of the way; it feels like he just sort of let go, and made his ultimate movie. Now again people have mentioned that they don’t think much good about this movie. But when I was in the cinema watching it; I enjoyed the pants off of it. It features several major names (Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Kelsey Grammer), it created some cool ideas, and some new and good looking Transformers. The story was sort of more consistent, and the fight scenes were pretty cool and epic productions; which turned an entire city into a battle ground between giant robots, and giant robotic dinosaurs. Plus all this benefitted from a new and powerful soundtrack from Imagine Dragons which had moments that made lull’s feel like somber moments, and increased the epic-ness scale everywhere else. It really is sort of the perfect Michael Bay movie; and if it comes across as a bad movie; well It’s so Michael Bay Bad; that it’s Michael Bay Good!