If you read enough mainstream movie reviewers, you probably think just about anyone off the street can do what Michael Bay does. You know, flashy visuals, hot girls in revealing outfits, crazy action sequences that make no logical sense but look damn cool anyway. Which, I think, is one of the reasons why Bay did “Pain and Gain” — he probably wanted to show people he could do more than just showy movies that go boom and make 14-year old boys drool. Fact is, if everyone could direct like Bay, then there would be a lot of Michael Bays out there, and Bay wouldn’t be, well, Bay.
One of those films that so perfectly captures what it means to “be Bay” is 1998’s killer asteroid flick “Armageddon”, starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Arwen from “Lord of the Rings”. Like most (re: all) of Bay’s movies, “Armageddon” was flashy, had great visuals, and an easy storyline with pandering action. Which makes, yeah, it kinda great if you’re a moviegoer that enjoys that stuff.
While out promoting his low-budget (comparably speaking, of course) “Pain and Gain”, Bay apparently did something he’s never done before, and actually apologized for one of his previous movies. In this case, “Armageddon”. The Master of Bayhem tells Vulture:
I will apologize for Armageddon. We had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’ But the movie did fine.
Oh, you’re being a little humble there, Michael Bay. I think “Armageddon” did more than just “fine”. It made $553 million worldwide in 1998 dollars. That’s pretty damn impressive.
Of course, Bay didn’t really “apologize” for “Armageddon”. If you parse his words, he’s clearly laying most of the blame on the studio’s doorsteps and goes out of his way to clear himself of any wrongdoing. I honestly couldn’t tell you why he thinks he had to apologize for the third act of “Armageddon” anyway. Resisting the urge to save Bruce Willis at the last second was probably the most daring thing he ever did in one of his movies.
I personally thought “Armageddon” was great popcorn cinema. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s a movie about a killer asteroid, and miners sent into outer space to drill said killer asteroid. Seriously, if you heard that premise and saw the trailer below, then voluntarily paid to see the film with your hard-earned money, you got absolutely everything you paid for.