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Just don’t take my wings


An open letter to Michael Bay:

Dear Michael Bay,

I have nothing in particular against you. You may be an arrogant blowhole who has no idea what he’s talking about, and your films may be widely derided as everything that’s wrong with modern cinema, but I personally don’t consider you to be completely without merit. The Rock, for all its inanities, is a pretty entertaining action film with some amusing dialogue, while Transformers and The Island are harmless fun, although each could have used an editor to cut a good 45-60 minutes out of them. I haven’t seen either of the Bad Boys films, so I won’t comment on them, but the point is that I’d probably actually defend you if someone called you a talentless hack who should be locked up and never allowed within a hundred feet of a movie camera ever again.

Sometimes, however, you seem to insist on making my job difficult for me. I have just watched your bombastic wartime epic, Pearl Harbor, on Blu-ray, your preferred high definition format, no less, but I now find myself in the unfortunate position of having scarcely a kind word to say about you. The script is awful, your direction shambolic, your attention to historical detail non-existent and your capacity to bore with over-wrought dialogue and a turgid love triangle knows no bounds. To say that the best part of the film is the 45-minute long special effects reel that is the attack on Pearl Harbor would be about the kindest thing I could say, although, given your aesthetic sensibilities, you’d probably take that as a compliment.

By all means make films about aged MI6 officers teaming up with annoying lab rats to take on platoons of marines holed up on Alcatraz. I have no objections to you making more glossy rip-offs of Logan’s Run with Ewan McGregor doing an appalling imitation of an American accent and Scarlett Johansson gaping for two and a half hours. I don’t even mind you making more movies about robots urinating on John Turturro. Hey, whatever floats your boat. But please, Mr. Bay, for the sanity of all concerned, never consider making a film like Pearl Harbor again.

Yours sincerely,
Captain Whiggles
HMS Whimsy

Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 10:48 PM | Comments: 17
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema




Posted by: Boppo, February 14, 2008 12:09 AM


Now he might just give you a role on TRANSFORMERS 2!

Posted by: ARCVILE, February 14, 2008 2:00 AM


This was pretty much what I thought when I first saw Pearl Harbour also. But what is there to expect from "american war epics". Go see "Tora Tora Tora" instead and see what really happened.

Posted by: Andreas Svalås, February 14, 2008 7:00 AM


I thought Bad Boys I/II were rather good at the time, especially the former. Mind you, I was over ten years younger and quite naive, now I am much older and jaded. Transformers and The Island were both mediocre affairs in my opinion. Thankfully I have not, nor do I wish to, see Pearl Harbor.

Posted by: avanze, February 14, 2008 10:57 AM


“Now he might just give you a role on TRANSFORMERS 2!

Does that mean I get to be pissed on by a robot? I can’t wait!

Michael Bay reads my web site every day in the hope that I’ll say nice things about him. Every time I’m mean to him, he cries himself to sleep.

Posted by: Whiggles, February 14, 2008 11:11 AM


Yes, Pearl Harbor is deeply awful - but once you realize that, something funny happens and you start to enjoy it for the juvenile spectacle it is.

Somehow, after the first 40 minutes or so, this film tickled my funny bone throughout. Can't imagine any WWII veterans being too impressed though!

I suspect Transformers was the perfect script to give Michael Bay. The writers inject humor and inherent absurdity, MB films it straight, great fun ensues.

Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, February 14, 2008 5:06 PM


Ha! Ha!

Your relationship with Mr. Bay bears a distinct masochistic bent. I mean, in terms of re-watching his one slightly above-okay film THE ROCK and positioning it against such non-entities as THE ISLAND and TRANSFORMERS. I felt THE ISLAND was so blandly average that upon reflecting on the amount of money it cost to make the whole experience took on a more offensive edge.

In that regard he certainly does represent some of the issues with mainstream Hollywood and their failure to give backing to more original and untried talent. I mean, think how many good or engaging small budget début features could have been created with that wad of wasted cash.

Thankfully, I've stayed relatively clear of the rest of his films. This is not because I feel particularly strongly about it but just because I find him mediocre and just not that worthy of interest. Also I thoroughly enjoyed the homage song to Michael Bay in TEAM AMERICA, classic.

By the way Captain, did you get me recent email okay?

Posted by: Count Fosco, February 14, 2008 5:08 PM



You know, funnily enough, it’s the first 40 minutes that kill me, and no moment more so than the one where Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale are separated by a set of revolving doors and gaze longingly at each other in slow motion. After that, boredom just sets in for me, lightened only by the attack on Pearl Harbor, which goes on for far too long but I have to admit is quite effective.


Yep, I did indeed get your email. I haven’t had a chance to pour over it yet, but will do so in due course. :)

Posted by: Whiggles, February 14, 2008 5:14 PM


Had the film ended right after the attack I would have considered it a cheesy romance film up until the last forty minutes. Sadly Mr. Bay didn't want the American audience to walk out of the theater without feeling victorious so the remaining of the movie was payback time. "We taught those Jap-suckers a lesson!!!"

Posted by: Marcus, February 14, 2008 8:28 PM


I’m probably going to sound like a complete ignoramus here, but I know very little about the Doolittle Raid and don’t really have much of an idea of it’s significance. And the film didn’t exactly shed any light on the subject for me since, as far as I could see (and to use an awful pun), it seemed to do little.

As a fan of both Alias and Spooks, my favourite thing, a geeky pleasure if you like, was seeing Jennifer Garner and Peter Firth in the same film. A slightly weird cross-over moment for me.

Posted by: Whiggles, February 14, 2008 9:32 PM


O the other hand, I think Michael Bay is very aware about his image and he uses it. I have never seen such a good example of self-deconstruction since the last action hero and true lies as Michael Bay does in this verizon spot:

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, February 16, 2008 12:51 PM


I've never seen that trailer before - I never thought I'd see Michael Bay being self-deprecating.

Posted by: anephric, February 18, 2008 6:17 PM


Ah, but you’re assuming he was in on the joke. Perhaps he thought awesome exploding barbecues and pools were what everyone aspired to own. :D

Posted by: Whiggles, February 18, 2008 8:15 PM


I'm probably in the minority going by some of the opinions here but i enjoyed Pearl Harbor ( Directors Cut ) Enormously.

I enjoyed the love story element, the music score, the cinematography and i thought the acting was actually pretty good as well as the direction.

I thought it should have ended just after the Pearl Harbor attack though and not shown the American retaliation which was probably tacked on to make the film end on a positive note and of course make the love triangle conclusion.

I think generally speaking people love to have a pop at Bay and call him arrogant and annoying but i think most film directors have a very confident nature as it is required to work in such a high profile industry and this sometimes comes across as arrogance.

Bay's company produced the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it's prequel and i enjoyed both of those immensely.......BUT then he also produced The Amityville Horror remake and The Hitcher remake ( strike 2 )

He is also producing remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Birds....I really wish he wouldn't as i would rather not have remakes of those particular films but who knows maybe they might end up being good and at least they won't be the usual watered down PG-13 rubbish ( except The Birds ) that studio's generally call horror these days.

I enjoyed the first half of Transformers BUT consider it an overrated film as it fell apart in the second half and seemed very immature when the transformers started to speak....I can't say i'm looking forward to a sequel to that.

I thought The Island was very underrated and very enjoyable and actually had a pretty intelligent script.

Armageddon was highly enjoyable but would have been even better with Sean Connery who was wanted but turned down the role that Bruce Willis actually got.....He didn't like the director after working with him on the excellent The Rock.

As for Bad Boys and it's sequel well they are both enjoyable cop action films and not to be taken seriously at all....I very much enjoyed the bad taste of Bad Boys 2 after putting up with watered down PG-13 movies for soooo many years it was a refreshing change to get a full blooded cop action movie that wasn't politically correct.

In summary i think Bay is talented and if people want to have a go at directors and bad movies then maybe they should give some attention to Uwe Boll or watch more movies as believe me there are some REALLY BAD directors out there.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 18, 2008 9:06 PM


There’s an argument to be made for a slick, professional failure being much harder to stomach than an inept, shambolic one. It’s for that reason that I would probably prefer to watch House of the Dead than Pearl Harbor again: while Bay had millions of dollars, an experienced technical crew, a half-decent cast and his own cinematic know-how, he failed to exploit them effectively (in my opinion) to deliver anything worthwhile or even entertaining. At least, with House of the Dead, you get the sense that it was no big loss.

Posted by: Whiggles, February 19, 2008 4:23 PM


Plus, it has boobies.

Posted by: anephric, February 19, 2008 7:22 PM


Well, there’s always that. Plus, Kate Beckinsale is incredibly “plain”. Just ask Michael Bay - that’s why he cast her.

Posted by: Whiggles, February 19, 2008 7:25 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


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