Frankly, I understand why director Michael Bay wouldn’t particularly like critics. If I made movies like “Transformers” and its sequel that raked in tons of money and received reviews like the delightfully entertaining drubbing administered by Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, I’d do all I could to dismiss them as well.
Still, had to laugh at this quote attributed to Bay, perhaps not coincidentally, also in the Journal: “Critics have always torn me down. But I make movies for people, not critics.”
OK, please say there’s a missing adjective there: “Normal” people. Ordinary people (good movie, by the way). Regular people. Well-paid people. Perhaps even “people that actually have a life” or “People who aren’t jaded and bitter.” Having spent enough time around critics, I can certainly understand and even vouch for most of those characterizations.
But implying that critics aren’t actually people? Hey, I saw “The Island” (and I’d like those two hours of my life back, by the way), and none of the critics I know look anything like the non-people in that.
The Los Angeles Times also tapped into the critics disconnected from audience theme, which makes the false assumption that because something is popular it must be brilliantly executed, while giving Bay additional opportunity to marvel at how “vicious” the reviews were. From what I read, though, most of the reviews were pretty clear that “Transformers” would be commercially successful and sought to review the movie in the context of what it was seeking to achieve — nobody expected a toy-based summer popcorn pic to be “Masterpiece Theater” — and still labeled it a big, noisy mess. The fact that some movies are review-proof is hardly news, any more than the fact that some movies and TV programs adored by critics hold little interest for a mass audience.
Bottom line, methinks somebody’s been spending a little too much time hanging around the Autobots, until sorting out flattering people from critical people becomes something of a blur. Either that, or Bay might have just been a little lazy with his language. In that case, then one could truthfully say that there’s less to his statement than meets the eye.