michael-bay-t4

While his movies make hundreds of millions of dollars within days of release, their sure seems to be a lot of Michael Bay critics out there. In my opinion, Bay gets way more criticism than is really deserved. Are Bay’s films deep meaningful pieces of art? Not really… But Bay makes some fun action films, each with some especially artful cinematography, visual effects and sound design. But Bay is one of the largest targets of film critics and moviegoers alike. Recently Michael Bay and his Transformers: Age of Extinction producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura have responded to the criticism head on. I wanted to highlight these interviews.

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Wesley Burt - Velociraptor 2

The Dinobots are what it’s all about in Transformers: Age of Extinction. From the film’s earliest iterations, the idea to bring in the fan favorite characters was at the center of the film’s construction. They then became the focus of the marketing and were the reward in the theater once they finally show up in Michael Bay‘s long movie.

When designing something that important, of course, what we see on screen is never the only version. It’s the final version after months and months of concepts, designs, approvals and denials. One of the artists involved, Wesley Burt, uploaded a bunch of Transformers 4 Dinobots concept art to Facebook and, below, you can see alternate versions of the characters. Read More »

Transformers 4 photos

Transformers: Age of Extinction, the eleventh film by Michael Bay, is now in theaters. Looking back it’s kind of funny that Bay, so promising and exciting as a filmmaker in the late Nineties, has now made four Transformers movies. Bay’s first few movies were all so different, but grew bigger and bigger with each time out. Now he’s become the go-to director for the kind of spectacle Hollywood salivates over.

This latest incarnation is Bay’s biggest movie yet. It’s the scope, the setting, the nearly three hour run time. Everything about Transformers: Age of Extinction is huge. You can even see it in full screen, IMAX 3D if you so desire. That size is supposedly in service of a story that sends the franchise in a new direction. Age of Extinction makes events of the prior three films into an appetizer to a new story which explores the origins of the Transformers, a sinister government plot and a new human family, lead by Mark Wahlberg. All of those stories are in there, but they’re told along side several others that make the whole thing feel big for the sake of feeling big.

Several of the B, C (and D, E, and F) stories are actually kind of interesting and allow for fun supporting performances by the likes of Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller and Li Bingbing. Unfortunately, they’re masked by a movie that’s so bombastic and devoid of stakes, we’re forced to forget about them because of the amount of madness and confusing were witnessing on screen.

But that’s just my opinion. After the jump, tell us your own. What did you think of Michael Bay’s Transformers Age of Extinction? Was it harmless summer entertainment? Fun? Taxing? How many times did you run to the bathroom? Have any lingering questions? Whatever you want to talk about, including spoilers, please do so below. Read More »

transformers age extinction film as commerce

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a relentless assault on the senses that somehow still managed to bore me to tears. It’s a 2 hour and 40 minute film that features giant robots riding enormous robot dinosaurs killing bad giant robots, yet is devoid of any meaningful thrills or excitement. Filled with explosions, flying glass, a laughably incoherent plot, and paper-thin characters who behave completely nonsensically, this movie dares you to try and look away from its mess, then punches you in the throat with its runtime as your body urges you to head for the exit.

But maybe that’s okay. Because Transformers: Age of Extinction is still going to make a billion dollars worldwide. It’s the most Michael Bay film that Michael Bay ever Bay’ed. This film is the logical culmination of film as commerce. Let’s explore why.
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transformers logical sense

The Transformers films — or at least the three sequels to Michael Bay‘s first film in the series — disregard story concepts left and right. Characters are secondary to spectacle; geography and time are subservient to the impact of a beauty shot; standard narrative building blocks regularly fall by the wayside. So how does one write one of these films? We talked to Ehren Kruger, who has written all three Transformers sequels, about the process of putting a film like this on the page.

If you need a capsule version of our short conversation, it is this quote: “When you’re talking about aliens, robotic machines which disguise themselves as vehicles and animals, you start to make your peace with the idea that logical sense doesn’t have to be the be-all, end-all.” Which means that the creators of the Transformers films are throwing logic and narrative structure out the window consciously, if not deliberately. For a bit more exploration of that concept, read our short interview below. Read More »

Michael Bay IMAX 3D Digital Camera

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the first feature film to shoot with a brand new, digital IMAX 3D camera. It’s also one of two films being released in full IMAX this year. So for director Michael Bay to urge fans to see the film in IMAX 3D is kind of a no-brainer. But he did so anyway, just to be safe. Read his statement below. Read More »

Early Buzz Transformers Age of Extinction

Though it picks up after the events Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Transformers: Age of Extinction isn’t just a sequel but also a quasi-reboot. It introduces a new cast of human characters and is intended to jumpstart a fresh trilogy.

But for everything that’s changed about the series, more things have stayed the same — at least if the first reviews are to be believed. Hit the jump to read the early buzz on Transformers: Age of Extinction. Potential spoilers ahead, as there are few points in the reviews that aren’t obvious from the marketing so far.

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michael bay transformers 4 interview

In August 2013, I flew to Detroit Michigan to visit the set of Michael Bay‘s Transformers 4: Age of Extinction. You can read about what I learned on the visit here. While on set, we also got a chance to talk to the cast and crew. We’ll be posting those interviews throughout the week. First up is our roundtable interview with director Michael Bay. We were able to grab some time with the director in between shots as the crew reloaded explosives and reconfigured elaborate tentpole action set-ups. He got pulled away a couple times for production, so some of his answers end abruptly. That said, it’s a good interview and a great glimpse inside the mind of one of the biggest working action directors of our time (or should I say of our age?). Read our Michael Bay Transformers 4 interview after the jump.

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