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

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 1, 2014 at 5:57PM

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. But the bottom line is, people still lined up, bought a ticket, sat down for nearly three hours and pretty much loved it.
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Transformers: Age of Extinction

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.

This article is related to: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Michael Bay, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura


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