Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BAY-O, BAAAAY-O, You say such things that me wan go home

Since the start of this blog, only a few months ago, I have always reveled in the amount of material that Michael Bay has given me to remark upon. It’s no secret there is no love lost between me and Mikey B, nor that I care very little for his “style” of film making.

In fact the second post on this blog, was a rant on Bay’s latest shannanigans. Once upon a time, there was an intelligent innovative spec sci-fi screenplay, called The Island. Then the dark Lord of shallow, poorly written action films swallowed it up, twisted its insides out and made it his own.

At last judgement day is arriving: The Island will have a wide release in theatres this Friday. In honor of this momentous event, Entertainment Weekly put The Island’s two stars on the cover (Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson), and did a big feature article on Michael Bay. E-Weekly has given me no shortage of pricelessly obnoxious and idiotic quotes from the director, from various interviews (remember when he protested that The Island was’nt geeky? ). Well this particular article is no exception.

E-Weekly writer Daniel Fireman takes a sort of salty tone with the article, portraying Bay as a Hollywood badass who brings in the money, and infuriates the critic. While this is no mindboggling insight, it is unclear on what side of the line Fierman stands on when it comes to the Bay boy.

Bay rants about how he doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him because his efforts have been so lucrative that he has apparently personally proclaimed himself, “(the) youngest director to gross a billion dollars worldwide.” (Ok, we get it, your movies make money, but you’ll still never win an OSCAR!).

I think my hands down favorite quote, that he gave in the interview, was his reponse to Fierman asking him about how he paired McGregor and Johansson together. Bay revealed he cast McGregor first, and then went on to say:

“Well you gotta find chemistry. Someone that looks the right, you know, age. Ewan looks like he’s 32, so you gotta find a 20 year old for him.”

There are a lot of things that instinctively want to fly out of my mouth when I read that sentence, but then I take a step back and realize, that like any of Michael Bay’s sound bites, the meaning of it disintegrates at the slightest exposure to dissection. Chemistry is very important, but it doesn’t really have to do with age OR looks. Two actors can have chemistry, if one is 12 and the other is 70. Chemistry exists in all sorts of relationships painted on screen, parents and children, siblings, best friends, lovers, etc. And yes, clearly capturing a look for a certain part is also important. But this arbitrary matching of a 32 year old with a 20 year old? Don’t get me started, don’t even get me started.

But you know what? It’s ok. Because as much as I wanted this amazing script and story to morph into a fantastic film, I now wish everyone who put their money on Michael Bay to witness how it will crumble before their very eyes. Poor Caspian Tredwell-Owen, who wrote the original script was fired off the film after about three months by Michael Bay who declares in the article with hindsight “It didn’t work.” A couple of hacks joined the old party train to replace him, as well as much of what made the script unique.

To my surprise, E-Weekly actually reveals that as of literally two weeks ago, everyone was still working on the film. Reshoots were being edited, really last minute reshoots, the kind where each actor is in a different place when they film them. Now you know THOSE are going to be emotionally believable considering what they had to work with! There were still new lines of dialogue being banged out, and the actors were still doing ADR to dub over themselves with newer material. The ending is still being tweaked, as “test audiences” hated it (read as Steven Spielberg). All of that sounds like a recipe of disaster to me. If the little crystal ball in the back of my brain is good for anything, then I predict this one is gonna blow.


Blogger Elliot said...

I too hate M. Bay.
Two of my favorite film makers gave The Island a positive review however, which I was prett y dissapointed about...

11:46 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Wait, really?!! Which ones? Not Terry Gilliam I hope....

10:00 AM  
Blogger Elliot said...

No, no - there is a movie review television program here.
Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton.
It's unlikely you'll have heard of them.
They both discussed it favorably.

2:30 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Hmm, I have not heard of them. Interesting nonetheless however, I thought it was not good 'tall.

3:31 PM  

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