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"Let Them Hate": Michael Bay And Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura Talk Critics

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by Kevin Jagernauth
July 1, 2014 5:57 PM
21 Comments
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There's a curious paradox around "Transformers: Age Of Extinction": it became the first movie of 2014 to open with over $100 million, and yet, it's one of the worst reviewed blockbusters of the year. Critics carved up the latest from Michael Bay, some with eager relish (we were a bit more subdued, but it's still a pretty bad movie). But the bottom line is, people still lined up, bought a ticket, sat down for nearly three hours and pretty much loved it (the Cinemascore was A- for this one). So you can dislike Bay all you want, because he's giving the public the movies they're asking for, critics be damned.

“They love to hate, and I don’t care; let them hate. They’re still going to see the movie! I think it’s good to get a little tension," Bay told MTV. "Very good. […] I used to get bothered by it, but I think it’s good to get the dialogue going. It makes me think, and it keeps me on my toes, so it’s good.”

But producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, is a bit more harsh when it comes to critics who he believes aren't being fair. "I think the problem with critics and the big movies in general is they don’t understand the format. So, they’re judging it against the kind of movie experience that it is not trying to do, nor should it. [...] it’s like they’re locked into like, 'OK, let’s compare this to a Marty Scorsese movie or a two-hour drama,' " he told ScreenCrush.

"But, my experience with the critics is that when they like a big movie, it’s because they’re afraid they’re going to so go against the tide that they act like they liked it," Bonaventura continued. "That’s my opinion. I think it’s baloney. I don’t think they understand the form of entertainment and I don’t think they appreciate the form of the entertainment. So, I think in that respect, the reason critics don’t hurt a lot of the big movies is because the audience is smart enough to go, 'I don’t care what he’s talking about or she’s talking about. What I care about is did I have a great experience? Was I wowed? Did I laugh? Did I feel like I was transported to a different place?' "

So we'll leave this in your hands—are Bay and Bonaventura right to dismiss critics, and in the case of the latter, assume they're not taking blockbusters at face value? Let us know in the comments section.

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21 Comments

  • James | July 4, 2014 11:23 PMReply

    Mr. Bay, I believe you are misinterpreting the hatred that is addressed towards you. Fans don't hate your movies for the same reason you think they hate them. You have a good sense of directing, your action scenes are both intense and dazzling to watch, both cgi and rigged, real explosions.
    Your previous films you have made that were born from your ingenuity were well done: Bad Boys, Armageddon, The Rock. Highly action-packed and enjoyable to watch. Even with Age Of Extinction, you learned from the mistakes of the first trilogy(in my opinion).
    But that is where I stop complimenting you. I coined a saying when I stepped out of the latest Transformers movie: Stop putting a size 12 foot in a size 6 shoe.
    What you want to put in a series that already has a lore and back story; does it really have to be so radical in change? Bumblebee not a bug, Leonard Nimoy not Galvatron, Jetfire OLD, Soundwave not a jukebox? Granted, you have some room for change, but the matrix of Leadership not already in Optimus Prime is pushing it...And the list goes on for Age of Extinction.
    Have you even fathomed why you had to change the name of Ninja Turtles back to the original name? You pissed the fans off. Sure, the massing fans is a small number to the huge populace of movie-goers. You're playing a field were you obviously think friendly casualties are acceptable...
    Mr. Bay, I implore you: Please make original content, not just ripping off already good storyline and destroying existing fan base. Learn from George Lucas's mistakes before you sell out. Do better as you have proved before. Or just be hated and own the title as "Worst Director to make Big money with Explosions."

  • Swapnil | July 4, 2014 9:39 AMReply

    Can we get a Transformer movie without Humans ?

  • Al | July 2, 2014 5:12 AMReply

    I went into the film with low expectations and I was STILL disappointed by it. The movie was long. So long that not even the kids and teens Bay appeals to won't enjoy it. Michael Bay and Bonaventura are just arrogant and delusional. I have never seen such mental gymnastics in a human being.

  • Christian | July 6, 2014 2:11 PM

    I don't undersant people not liking the lenght of a movie. If you have better things to do go somewhere else.
    Good tip from Ross if you dont like big movies don't go it's not like you re obligated to see a movie.
    People needs to undersant that not every movie must be enjoyable for everyone.
    Keep calm and watch movies

  • Timothy ross | July 3, 2014 2:08 PM

    If you don't like bay stop seeing these movies simple as that

  • Fable Jay Scorcher | July 2, 2014 2:07 AMReply

    Bonaventura doesn't believe the bullshit he's trying to sell, he's just doing his job as the producer. He knows blockbusters that only care about transporting an audience and "entertaining" still get good reviews when they're good. He just wants us to keep talking about his noisy movie, which I'm doing. Congratulations.

  • chuck | July 1, 2014 11:53 PMReply

    If you don't like the movie, that's fine, go eat a bag of dicks and shut the hell up no one wants to hear or read your comments

  • Grimmitt | July 1, 2014 11:36 PMReply

    Most of the blockbusters this year have been subpar with the outstanding exception of Captain America 2. XMen DOFP was solid but inconsistent, Godzilla well directed but sorely lacking in story and character development. Bay has never made a movie that reached his full potential. Why do we keep going? Because like sex with someone we know isnt good for us we just cant stay away. And because we cant we will make him believe that he is better than he truly is.

  • Bronte | July 1, 2014 7:46 PMReply

    Total bullshit. I went in wanting to enjoy it, completely aware of what it was and was trying to do. It's still awful, it's still full of nonsensical drama, the action in full and tedious by the third sequence and Bay's casual sexism made me vomit in my mouth.
    Critics aren't being harsh, your movie is just bad. Box office doesn't tell you whether or not a movie is actually GOOD. All this tells you is people are willing to throw away good cash to watch things explode. It's not "cinema".

  • Christian | July 6, 2014 2:14 PM

    So after 3 movies why did you go?

  • Timothy ross | July 3, 2014 2:10 PM

    But you still saw the movie dumpass

  • Bronte | July 1, 2014 7:46 PMReply

    Total bullshit. I went in wanting to enjoy it, completely aware of what it was and was trying to do. It's still awful, it's still full of nonsensical drama, the action in full and tedious by the third sequence and Bay's casual sexism made me vomit in my mouth.
    Critics aren't being harsh, your movie is just bad. Box office doesn't tell you whether or not a movie is actually GOOD. All this tells you is people are willing to throw away good cash to watch things explode. It's not "cinema".

  • Bronte | July 1, 2014 7:46 PMReply

    Total bullshit. I went in wanting to enjoy it, completely aware of what it was and was trying to do. It's still awful, it's still full of nonsensical drama, the action in full and tedious by the third sequence and Bay's casual sexism made me vomit in my mouth.
    Critics aren't being harsh, your movie is just bad. Box office doesn't tell you whether or not a movie is actually GOOD. All this tells you is people are willing to throw away good cash to watch things explode. It's not "cinema".

  • kitcon | July 1, 2014 7:32 PMReply

    The Scorsese comparison is BS but the part that is worth thinking about is "the reason critics don’t hurt a lot of the big movies is because the audience is smart enough to go, 'I don’t care what he’s talking about or she’s talking about. What I care about is did I have a great experience? .... "
    So far this Summer there has been a decidedly weak correlation between critical reception and box office success. Two of the biggest box office disappointments - Edge and Dragon 2 -- both scored 90+ on RT. Neither film got much social media acttention. Summer audiences don't pay attention to reviews, they're swayed by word of mouth.

  • Enrique | July 1, 2014 6:56 PMReply

    You're wrong Lorenzo, there are a lot of big blockbusters with great reviews. I don't go into these types of movies expecting a great arty drama, I go in expecting a big action movie that's not a piece of shit. And Michael Bay always fail by this standard.

  • Christian | July 6, 2014 2:20 PM

    And how much money those movies made?
    You're angry because you didn't like the movie? Go see another or wait for dvd or go looke in the mirror for 2 hours... maybe you something you like.

  • thislalife | July 1, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    I'm a Bay disciple and I thought this was his weakest outing...ever. Too long, not enough totally badass visual stunning action.

  • kenny | July 1, 2014 6:35 PMReply

    "I think the problem with critics and the big movies in general is they don’t understand the format. So, they’re judging it against the kind of movie experience that it is not trying to do, nor should it. [...] it’s like they’re locked into like, 'OK, let’s compare this to a Marty Scorsese movie or a two-hour drama,' " he told ScreenCrush."

    Bull shit. Critics loved X-Men: Days of Future Past and Edge of Tomorrow, and those are nig blockbusters. The producer is just butt hurt because people hated TF4.

  • Chelsea | July 7, 2014 1:33 AM

    Critics hated this film, movie goers rated it well. I for one enjoyed the movie, and I also enjoyed the X-Men films. For most people its about the experience and both films give you one. Cinamascore gave the movie an A- after polling audiences that saw the film. It might not have met cinematic expectations but it sure did appeal to the fans, and ultimately thats what films are supposed to do. They need to appeal and transport and audience, and Transformers did that.

  • JACK | July 1, 2014 6:32 PMReply

    It's true that Michael Bay movies are like being "transported to a different place". It just happens that the place in question is Guantanamo Bay.

  • Nathan Duke | July 1, 2014 6:31 PMReply

    Right. Because the first thing I thought of when watching "Transformers: Age of Extinction" was 'How does it stack up to Raging Bull? Or After Hours? Or The Last Temptation of Christ?'

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