The Meticulous Excess of Michael Bay's 'Transformers'newyorker.com
Bay has the passionate integrity of a natural cynic. He’s not a sincere sentimentalist like Steven Spielberg; he has a roguish honesty that doesn’t hide behind noble intentions and displays its ravenous appetites and crafty calculations openly. His entire hundred-and-sixty-five-million-dollar budget is there to be seen on the screen, with the price tag showing and the expected return underneath. The two hours and forty-five minutes of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” reveal his attention and concern, with each moment crafted to hold the audience through hysterical and vulgar excess. Bay doesn’t deign to extend his extraordinary control to the images; he substitutes attitude for comprehension and swagger for observation, and, for all his meticulous command over the movie’s elements of action and design, performance and effect, his taste is cheerfully execrable. He’s the Wes Anderson of dreck.
I like this take (having not seen the new movie myself yet). We all know the Transformer movies are garbage. But they’re watchable garbage, which is something. They’re pure mindless guilty pleasure —but that wouldn’t be the case if there wasn’t some element of pleasure in watching them.
And I actually don’t think there are many directors who could pull off the insane scale of these movies. And the box office continues to reward this. So, good for Michael Bay.
YES. Thank you, it’s been hard explaining this. No one’s arguing if the movie is good or not, but I do think there’s an argument on whether or not it matters. For me, it’s guilty pleasure, really, though there’s no guilt on my part.