Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.
In the third season of the X-Files, there’s a point where someone refers to Scully as Fox’s “human credentials”. I’ve always loved that term and I’ve often referred to my wife as my own “human credentials”. She’s the one that keeps me in check and prevents me from doing or saying something that’s too bold or too stupid for the public. I was thinking about that and I realized that it would be great if Michael Bay had someone to keep him in check when he got away from himself.
Of course, this is being driven after witnessing the spectacle that was TRANSFORMERS 2. It’s not that it was a bad movie, it had some redeeming qualities, it’s just that it didn’t have to be nearly as bad as it was. I have a hard time accepting that no one involved with the making of the film didn’t think to themselves “this isn’t working, Bay needs to tone it down a notch”. I wasn’t on the set, but I’m guessing that virtually everyone felt that way, but no one was close enough to Bay to say something.
I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that scenario played out on the set of BAD BOYS 2 and maybe even THE ISLAND. Along with TF2, those movies took a decent idea and completely screwed it up with his incessant need to ignore story and blow stuff up. Look, blowing stuff up is what Bay does best and there’s no reason he should ever stop. THE ROCK, BAD BOYS, ARMAGEDDON, TRANSFORMERS, etc., are all a blast to watch. At any time, I could put any of those films in the Blu-ray player and have a good time. Yet none of them had that complex of a story, but they at least had a story. There were character arcs, structure, and a story that moved from one point to the next; couple that with Bay’s incredible action scenes and you have a good time.
But something happens to him when he gets a blank check and a loaded franchise. It’s as if he loses his storytelling ability and can’t focus on anything but the destruction of cars/houses/buildings/etc. If he had someone that he trusted to whisper in his ear that having a human girl transform into a robot and then never going back and addressing her was a complete waste of screen time, I don’t think he would have done it. I think he would’ve stepped back, looked at the screen/script and said “let’s cut this”. He can make a good film and has proven that many times over, but he needs to put his ego in check and listen to the people around him.
All of us need that from time to time. We all need someone that will point out to us when we’re doing something stupid or when one of our ideas isn’t as great as it could be. Without that person, we’ll end up like Michael Bay; incredibly successful, rich, and the object of every beautiful actress’s affection. Okay, that didn’t come out right, but hopefully you get the point.