After a very public falling out with Megan Fox and some quick reversals regrading his feelings toward 3D. Michael Bay has come under a wave of negative publicity as of late. No stranger to negativity, Bay has been fending off his critics and proving nay-sayers wrong for over a decade. I love Michael Bay films. There I said it and yes they are films. When the newest Bay film arrives it’s like a Christmas present. You wait for months to see what the man has delivered and even when it’s not of the highest order (‘TSF2’ I’m looking at you), it’s always enjoyable. So why all the anti-Bay slandering on the net and within the industry? Well it’s a story as old as tinsel town itself; jealousy. Bay’s eight films released in the US since 1995 have grossed almost 1.5 billion dollars domestically. He’s a franchise unto himself.
Let’s start at the beginning, Tony Scott. Arguably the mentor to the Anti-Bay phenomenon, during the mid-1980’s, Scott was thrust into the spotlight with the mammoth hits, ‘Top Gun’, ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ and other high concept films from that era. His glossy style over substance form of storytelling was dismissed as too ‘commercial’ and some complained ‘nauseating’ an experience. While Scott stumbled at the box-office over the years, mixing in hits with flops. He has never received the critical acclaim that is reserved for his brother, Ridley Scott.
Bay’s work was obviously heavily influenced by Scott’s style. Making him the obvious choice to helm his feature debut ‘Bad Boys’ under Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, both of whom gave Scott his shot at superstardom. Ironically Bay would be criticized for exactly the same thing that Scott had come under fire for a decade earlier. Once again critics would argue that his films were ‘all noise and gloss- no content’ affairs and other complained of the ‘nauseating’ movement of his constantly roaming camera. Yet Bay’s films have been blockbuster after blockbuster (with the exception of his most under-appreciated film ,’The Island’). The average gross of a film directed by Michael Bay is $186,972,836. Tony Scott has had a spectacular career but he’s never had the constant level of success that Michael Bay has endured for 15 years.
Both have launched the careers of superstars. Scott showcased Cruise’s aviator shades and smile to audiences across the globe. Thrusting the actor into being one of the most recognizable faces in the world. Bay gave Will Smith his first shot at headlining in his hit debut 1995’s ‘Bad Boys’. Up to that point the Fresh Prince was thought of as a sitcom comedian not an action star and certainly no sex symbol. The same could be said for Ben Affleck, whom was then widely considered the other guy in ‘Good Will Hunting’ before ‘Armageddon’ grossed 550 million worldwide. On the flip side Scott cast Christan Slater in ‘True Romance’ in the hopes of turning him into a leading man which resulted in a box office flop and effectively sent Slater into a career spin. Bay discovered Megan Fox whom he would part way with on his latest film, whether she turns out to be a star or not remains to be seen.
With the highly anticipated release of ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’, it looks like Bay’s winning streak will surely continue. This will inevitably lead to messageboards across the internet blowing up with anti-Bay threads. When will we leave the man alone and take him for what he is; the last rock-star movie director a relic from the 80’s-90’s studio system. We need mavericks like Bay pushing his very ‘American’ style to the farthest reaches of the globe. He may not be appreciated here, but there may be a little boy in a crummy theater in Mumbai watching and trying to figure out how he can become part of the movie magic. It’s time to accept that Michael Bay is the closest thing we have to a ‘Spielberg’ anymore.