Michael Bay has always depended on the grotesque financial successes of his projects in order to survive as a filmmaker. Even though he has established himself as one of the highest-grossing directors in the history of cinema alongside the likes of Steven Spielberg or Christopher Nolan, Bay has failed to receive the critical acclaim that they have won.
He is mostly known for his approach to action cinema, full of frenetic editing and more explosions than you can count. Bay’s vision of filmmaking is a heavily stylised and highly edited one, evident in his works such as the wildly popular Transformers films and Armageddon among others. He has also been accused of objectifying his female actors and the most prominent example of that was his treatment of Megan Fox.
Born in Los Angeles, Bay has often claimed that his interest in action cinema can be traced back to one particular event that defined his childhood in many ways. According to the director, he was very young when he used his mother’s 8mm camera to film a scene that he created by attaching some firecrackers to a toy train.
However, there was one particular cinematic masterpiece that urged him to become a filmmaker. It came out when he was a teenager and since then, the film has gone on to become an indispensable part of film history as well as a crowning achievement of American cinema but Bay was sceptical of the film’s potential when it was being made.
At the age of 15, he got an opportunity that most children dream of and that was the chance to be an intern under none other than George Lucas. It was Lucas who assigned a simple task to Bay – filing the storyboards of a Steven Spielberg project titled Raiders of the Lost Ark. When he was doing that, Bay claimed that the film was going to be a flop but he decided to become a director after being mesmerised by it in the theatres.
Bay’s opinions about his art haven’t changed either and he has remained unapologetic about his own artistic sensibilities. He once said: “It’s easy to go shoot an art movie in a winery in the South of France. But people have no idea how hard it is to create something like Transformers. They review me before they’ve even seen the movie”.