It was just a little under a year ago that star Shia LaBeouf made some surprisingly frank statements to the press about to the widely-derided sequel ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’, in which he admitted: ” I wasn’t impressed with what we did… There were some really wild stunts in it, but the heart was gone.” If perhaps not the most scathing criticism we viewers tortured by the film might lay on it, this was still remarkably forthright for someone in the industry (someone who planned to make another ‘Transformers’ movie, no less) to say in public. Well, that was nothing. Now even director Michael Bay is owning up to the movie’s awfulness, and he’s using stronger language.
“When I look back at it, that was crap,” Bay said in an interview with the British magazine Empire. Ain’t that the truth?
Of course, in typical Michael Bay fashion, he doesn’t quite accept any of the blame for that himself: “The writers’ strike was coming hard and fast. It was just terrible to do a movie where you’ve got to have a story in three weeks…I was prepping a movie for months where I only had 14 pages of some idea of what the movie was. It’s a BS way to make a movie, do you know what I’m saying?”
This is fairly consistent with the attitude that Bay struck in the bonus features on the ‘Revenge of the Fallen‘ Blu-ray release. The director spent a good portion of the audio commentary pointing out other people’s errors during the production, as if to demonstrate how much smarter he is than everyone else.
The thing is, those same supplements on the disc make it pretty clear that most of the worst ideas in the movie were Bay’s own doing, and had nothing to do with the Writer’s Strike. The included documentary has actual footage of Bay instructing the VFX people to make a little robot hump Megan Fox’s leg. He giggles like a schoolgirl at how hilarious he thinks it is. (In the commentary, Bay even talks about how proud he was of the scene.) He later goes off on a defensive rant in the commentary about obnoxious “geography buffs” who might complain that the back door to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. doesn’t open onto a desert.
I also fail to see how a rushed production schedule would somehow force Bay to insert offensive racial caricatures into his movie. What, he didn’t have enough time to think of something that wasn’t racist? That’s his instinctive go-to idea when he’s in a hurry? Let’s put a couple of blackface characters in here shucking and jiving! Awesome! Maybe he shouldn’t have come up with that idea (or given it the thumbs-up) in the first place.
Oh, and if the Writer’s Strike was to blame for everything wrong with ‘Revenge of the Fallen’, how does that explain why all of his other movies are equally stupid?
Anyway, despite Bay’s lack of personal accountability, even the mere acknowledgement that his last ‘Transformers’ movie stunk is a very odd thing for a man to do while promoting the next one.