And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Armageddon (1998)

Michael Bay has survived every epithet in the Movie Critic’s Mean Word Handbook. We’ve called him a “hack” and a “bullshit artist.” We’ve called him “the Devil,” “the Antichrist,” and even honored him with the title “American Uwe Boll.” All of these characterizations are false, missing the quintessence of Bay. In their rush to (rightly) condemn the man’s aesthetic failings, critics have miss the essential and obvious point: Like a great many evil things, Bay is first and foremost a creature of the late 1990s, an artistic distillation of that time, with all the glory and the horror that implies. Continue reading



Transformers (2007)
November 12, 2007, 2:56 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Michael Bay's true purposes come to light...As far as I’m concerned, Transformers first aired at 5:30 in the morning on my local Fox affiliate. This was back in the halcyon days when the Fox Network bought syndicated series the way survivalists buy bulk foods, slapping them down anywhere a hole in the programming schedule presented itself. Many a school day began with me dragging myself out of bed, the better to catch the theme song and learn the title of this latest episode in the seemingly-never-ending battle “to destroy the Evil Forces of…the Decepticons.”

For a time, the Transformers headed up what felt like my own Hour of Power, their show followed up by that realest of Real American Heroes, G.I. Joe. I often dreamed of an epic crossover event between my two favorite marketing tie-ins. I imagined Cobra Commander shitting himself in fear at the sight of an Autobot assault force rolling over the horizon. I imagined G.I. Joe’s hanging from every open window and flat surface their new their allies could provide, lasers ineffectually blazing. I imagined the unholy alliance between Serpentor and Megatron…not that Megatron would ever lower himself to an equal partnership with so puny a creature. I imagined the whole thing ending with Optimus Prime shaking Duke’s hand as bald eagles soared through sparkling fields of fire works. At sunset. Ironhide and Sgt. Slaughter could arm wrestling in the background, next to a stand of American flags that waved safely in the breeze, secure for another day from all things Evil and noncommercial. {More}



Transformers (2007)
At least they're honest.

At least they’re honest.

As far as I’m concerned, Transformers first aired at 5:30 in the morning on my local Fox affiliate. This was back in the halcyon days when the Fox Network bought syndicated series the way survivalists buy bulk foods, slapping them down anywhere a hole in the programming schedule presented itself. Many a school day began with me dragging myself out of bed, the better to catch the theme song and learn the title of this latest episode in the Autobot’s seemingly-never-ending battle “to destroy the Evil Forces of…the Decepticons.”

For a time, the Transformers headed up what felt like my own Hour of Power, their show followed up by that realest of Real American Heroes, G.I. Joe. I often dreamed of an epic crossover event between my two favorite marketing tie-ins. I imagined Cobra Commander shitting himself in fear at the sight of an Autobot assault force rolling over the horizon. I imagined G.I. Joe’s hanging from every open window and flat surface their new their allies could provide, lasers ineffectually blazing. I imagined the unholy alliance between Serpentor and Megatron…not that Megatron would ever lower himself to an equal partnership with so puny a creature. I imagined the whole thing ending with Optimus Prime shaking Duke’s hand as bald eagles soared through sparkling fields of fire works. At sunset. Ironhide and Sgt. Slaughter could arm wrestling in the background, next to a stand of American flags that waved safely in the breeze, secure for another day from all things Evil and noncommercial.

I didn’t know at the time, though obviously I realize that now, that I was fervently hoping for the prototypical Michael Bay film. So, in an abstract, magical-thinking sorta way, this is really all my fault. For that, guys, I really am sorry. {More}