Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 by Adam Quigley
If I told you that Christopher Nolan loves Michael Bay movies, would you believe me?
Looks like you may not have a choice. According to an interview with Inception cinematographer Wally Pfister, it’s fact. Read what he had to say about Nolan’s love affair with Bay’s films after the break.
Cinematical scored the interview. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
“…there are the movies out there that he loves and I hate. I’m not a big Michael Bay fan. Chris loves Michael Bay’s movies. And so I’m always like come on, dude! But he sees something in it, and I don’t see it.”
Pfister has worked with Nolan on every film he’s made since Memento, so I think we can trust him on this. The question I find myself wondering is: Should we even care? Without hearing Nolan’s reasoning behind why he enjoys the work of Michael Bay, it’s unclear what specifically he sees in it that you or I may not. And even if he likes Bay’s movies for a reason as simple as, “They have cool explosions,” why should we begrudge him that? Nolan has already more than proven himself as a crafty, meticulous filmmaker with a keen sense for storytelling, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with him also having an appreciation for the less sophisticated side of cinema, which also has its merits—however philistine those merits may be.
Say what you will about Michael Bay, but he knows how to orchestrate chaos. Too often I see people discounting the amount of effort, cinematic craftsmanship and stylistic flair that’s required to successfully pull off insane action beats like the ones Bay produces—and from budding filmmakers no less. The ability to create mass bouts of sensationally-staged carnage is not a talent that many filmmakers possess, and Nolan is proof of that. Despite finding a rather brilliant way to engage audiences in Inception‘s action through clever storytelling, it’s clear that Nolan has not yet gotten a handle on how to stage action set pieces such as shootouts and chases. If Nolan has been attempting to cull from the Michael Bay school of action-directing—a possibility that seems almost blatantly apparent now that his affinity for Bay’s work has been made public—he’s still got a lot to learn.
Naturally though, if Bay were similarly receptive to outside filmmaking styles, he would have far more to learn than Nolan does. There’s really no question: If given the choice between watching Christopher Nolan clumsily stumble through the occasional action sequence and deadening my eardrums with the large-scale explosions and car demolitions of Michael Bay, I’d go with Nolan’s wily tales of deception and intrigue any day of the week.