Aesthetics of Michael Bay Films

Although I am not a film expert or critic of any sort, one Aesthetic that I found particularly interesting was the general feel and aesthetic of Michael Bay films. His films are most commonly exemplified by having direct storylines, a great deal of action, comp lex technical features, and explosions. Lot’s of lot’s of explosions. In addition, his films are frequently very high budget, but on the flip side also make a great deal of money. Michael Bay receives a great deal of criticism from critics. The majority of the time focusing that criticism on the lack of depth in his films. However, he is still one of the most well-known directors of this generation and it could well be due to his action-packed movie directing style.

Michael Bay actually started off directing music videos and he was influenced by many of the action and adventure directors before him such as Spielberg, Lucas, and the Scott brothers. Since making a career for himself, he has also influenced blockbuster movies as a whole. His artistry, although criticized, has it’s own unique feel to it that please the eyes and ears with its intensity. A couple of his most well known movies and images from those movies can be seen below.

Transformers series: These images show some of the extensive graphics from the transformer series including beautiful cgi as well as drastic explosions.

Transformers01 Figure 1: Incredible CGI Effects Depicting Transformers- http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/transformers-5-ultra-magnus-red-alert-clyclonus-feature-age-extinction-sequel-beast-1473783

 transformers_2Figure 2: An Explosion in the Desert from Transformers 2 – https://hbr.org/2010/11/transformers-or-the-diving-bel

Bad Boys 2: Bad Boys 2 was one of the movies that first exemplified Michael Bays artistic style. Mostly more explosions. But it also had explosive chase scenes as well.

Badboys2Figure 3: The Destruction of a house in Bad Boys 2- http://www.alltopmovies.net/10-movie-explosions/

Badboys22 Figure 4: An Epic Chase Scene from Bad Boys 2 –  http://www.starpulse.com/news/Miles_Young/2013/06/29/6_of_the_best_car_chase_films_of_all_t

Armageddon: My personal favorite Michael Bay film Armageddon has worldly and galactic explosions!

Armageddon  Figure 5:  The Destruction of an Entire City – http://www.gamesradar.com/20-noisiest-michael-bay-moments/

Armageddon2 Figure 6: Explosion Destroying and Asteroid- http://scientificgamer.com/armageddon-ist-verboten/

Pearl Harbor: A classic war film with epic Michael Bay effects.

pearl harbor Figure 7: A Missile Destroys a Battleship – http://www.fernbyfilms.com/2009/02/19/movie-review-pearl-harbor/

As can be seen from these images from Michael Bay films, there is a great deal of graphic intensity. He has a very unique style of movie, with action and explosions being the keys. If you want some more of the Michael Bay flavor watch this lengthy video of all of Bay’s explosions in recent movies.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF4BT62Haeo

Or another video symbolizing a new trend that demonstrates other movies had Bay directed them. (According to fans) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5KQQWlIgGc

There is more where that came from!

Resources:

The Cinema of Michael Bay: An Aesthetic of Excess

http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/73962/1/MB_Bennett_final_draft.pdf

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/movies/how-michael-bay-transformed-the-blockbuster/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bay#Filmography

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3 Comments. Leave new

Christopher Coffman
January 24, 2016 10:14 pm

I personally dislike Michael Bay films, but have always been curious about the amount of destruction and noise involved in each one of his films. It attracts a large crowd every single time he releases a new film, and the amount of money each film generates blows me away every time. I have always been very interested in the creative minds that generate these wild, destructive films. The detailed special affects also blow me away, and I am curious about how much time the computer graphic engineers put into each and every creature / structure they create. I like the examples you provided in this blog.

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I love this post! I’ve always criticized his films for the same reason many critics have (poor story, bad acting, etc.) but I’d never really thought of it from the artistic side of visual effects and the sheer massiveness of his films. Its definitely a really interesting insight, but its definitely a LOT of explosions. I was watching some VFX reels which I thought was pretty cool. It highlights the amount of work that goes into visual effects and how much of the set is actually built. As much as my “artistic” sensibilities differ from Michael Bay’s, I can’t help but appreciate the excitement crated in a testosterone fueled, explosion filled, movie.

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Have you seen Pain & Gain, directed by Michael Bay? I would argue it is one of his more “artsy” films, since it has an actual plot but still carries his unique style.

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