There’s a very short list of Hollywood producers who are names unto themselves. On that list is Lorenzo di Bonaventura, of both the G.I. Joe and Transformers franchises. He’s also the producer of Salt, Red, Side Effects, Jack Ryan, Beverly Hills Cop 4 and more. The guy is a proven hit-maker with a great handle on the pulse of mainstream audiences.
His latest film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, is more of the same. Despite being savaged by critics, audiences are once again turning out for the franchise. On the occasion of that release, we had the pleasure of speaking with di Bonaventura about a few things. We talked about producing for Michael Bay, and the choice of using Dinobots not only in the film, but in the marketing as well. I asked about the length of the film, the inevitability of Bay leaving the franchise, and what the ending of this film means for Transformers 5, currently slotted for 2016. Finally, I just had to ask about my favorite Transformer, Hot Rod. Read all his answers below in our full interview with Transformers: Age of Extinction producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura Read More »
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Tony Zhou analyzes director Michael Bay‘s filmmaking style in great video essay titled “What is Bayhem?”. Zhou introduces his video as follows:
There are filmmakers we love and then there’s Michael Bay. Even if you dislike him (as I do), Bay has something valuable to teach us about visual perception. This is an exploration of “Bayhem” — his style of camera movement, composition and editing that creates something overblown, dynamic and distinct.
Many of you may easily discount Michael Bay’s filmmaking as blockbuster popcorn cinema, but Bay has an unmistakable style that others have not been able to easily replicate. Bay’s films are unmistakable. Show me a scene from a Brett Ratner film I’ve never seen and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the director, but show me a scene from a Michael Bay film and his style is instantly recognizable. James Cameron has famously stated that he “studied [Bay’s] films and reverse-engineered his shooting style.” Zhou takes an in-depth look at the vocabulary of Bay’s filmmaking style. Watch the “What is Bayhem?” video essay embedded after the jump.
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No one does action quite like Michael Bay. Love his movies or hate them, there’s no denying the director has an incredible eye for action and his latest movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction, is the biggest one yet. The effects, the locations, the stunts, all of it suggests a budget and freedom few filmmakers would ever enjoy. Which, actually, isn’t true. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told us despite the continued success of the Transformers franchise, they aren’t given a blank check. In particular, Bay’s action scenes have to be very carefully constricted to make sure everything stays on budget.
Below, read di Bonaventura talk about how the Michael Bay action scenes in Transformers: Age of Extinction are accounted for in the budget, which is a little more backwards than you’d imagine. Read More »
After the worldwide box office success of Transformers: Age of Extinction, it’s no surprise Paramount started getting the ball rolling on Transformers 5 for 2016. We still don’t know who’ll be writing it or directing it but, we can make a good assumption it’ll be long. The first four film, all directed by Michael Bay, have gotten increasingly long with each installment. They’re 144, 150, 154 and 165 minutes long respectively. So, with that in mind, I asked producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura if we’d ever see a shorter, compact Transformers movie.
We also asked him who, if anyone, would take over for Bay if he ever decides to leave the franchise. You can get the answers to both questions below. Read More »
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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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
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: 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 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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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 »