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July 3, 2014 2:08 PM   Subscribe


 
I was just about to post when I realized I had posted the previous link a few months ago. Didn't realize it was the same guy. I hope that doesn't annoy folks, but I really enjoyed this.
posted by brundlefly at 2:10 PM on July 3


Also: Martin Scorsese
posted by ilama at 2:10 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Oh! Yes. This link via ilama, who recently joined up here.
posted by brundlefly at 2:12 PM on July 3


This video is good, but it would have been better if Tony Zhou had cooled it with the negative comments and backhanded praise. The archness leads to some unintentionally silly commentary: it's interesting to point out how Battleship tries and fails to copy Bay's rotating camera shot, but Zhou undermines this analysis when he tries to claim that Bay's command of parallax, etc. is nothing novel at all, it's just what cinematographers already do. Obviously not, not at Bay's level!

It would be interesting to compare Bay's trademark 360 shots with De Palma's once-trademark 360 shots.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:24 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I've not seen most of the Michael Bay films shown in this (I've seen The Rock, which I quite enjoyed, and the first Transformers film, which made me feel so very old). One of the things that seemed striking to me about this was that, in relation to the idea that Michael Bay's his shots are structured to both show bigness and imply an even biggerness offscreen, it appears that every single shot in this compilation has been compsoed for a trailer, with the implicit implication there that if you think this looks big imagine how huge the rest of the film must be.

Which leads me to imagine you could create trailers for Michael Bay films by just stringing together 90 seconds worth of randomly selected bits from any of his films and they would still work.
posted by dng at 2:44 PM on July 3


You know, I don't have any love for Michael Bay, but those shots Zhou highlights from the first Bad Boys with the car driving towards the camera, the depth of field totally smashed flat and sense of scale gone nuts (at roughly 2:55, just before "and when the explosions happen") are pretty damn great.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:50 PM on July 3


I love this analysis.

"We can process visual information at a speed that wasn't common before. But thinking through what an image means... not so much."

Bay's movies (hell, so many tent-pole pictures now) are all about sensation instead of content. Like listening to an iPod and playing a game at the same time - got to cram in as much sensory input as possible without processing any of it.

Theoretically, this should have diminishing returns beyond a certain point. Once you hit the limit of how much visible and auditory information a person can perceive, it should all feel pretty much the same, even if the films are becoming more and more dense.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:57 PM on July 3


Interestingly, in comics the artists who do this sort of thing are often the greatest masters in their field. People like Jack Kirby and Geof Darrow and George PĂ©rez cram their pages full of visual information in many different layers. But the difference is that in comics, the reader can stare at that page for as long as they like. So a page with tumbling figures and explosions and 150 individually drawn pieces of shrapnel becomes a visual tour de force, instead of one more overwhelming shot that flicks by at nearly subliminal speed.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:07 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


it appears that every single shot in this compilation has been compsoed for a trailer

Absolutely! The Rock was the first Bay film I saw (which I still quite like) and it struck me as a feature length trailer.
posted by brundlefly at 3:21 PM on July 3


Theoretically, this should have diminishing returns beyond a certain point. Once you hit the limit of how much visible and auditory information a person can perceive, it should all feel pretty much the same, even if the films are becoming more and more dense.

I think at that point it can edge into something more akin to music than film, where the ebb and flow of the absurd torrent of overstimulation starts to make patterns that register like song structure. The rising action and climax and all those other beats you want to hit would begin to have nothing to do with traditional movie-making techniques and everything to do with how hard the movie is punching you in the brain at that moment.

If 1 Michael Bay movie = 1 Bay, and you had 1 MegaBay of sensory bandwidth, you could probably do some really interesting things with it.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:39 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I did recently watch Pain & Gain, which had the odd effect of making me like Dwayne Johnson in a movie, and while there was some of this Bayhem, it often seemed to be in service of illustrating the imagined dramatic lives of the sad-sack characters -- so unlike in his other films, it actually enhanced the irony deliberately.

I do enjoy Armageddon, even as a space buff, and The Rock is cheesy fun, but I've stayed away from the Transformers movies.
posted by dhartung at 5:05 PM on July 3


this should have diminishing returns beyond a certain point.

For me, the first Transformers movie was that point. I get what's going on, but if you want to look beyond the overstimulation, there's no there there. There's a complete lack of any detail that would allow you to structure what's going on in the background (or in the case of the Transformers themselves, the foreground). It's like watching The Simpsons on fast forward.
posted by sneebler at 6:18 PM on July 3


Rob Bricken's Transformers: Age Of Extinction: The Spoiler FAQ for those who have not seen it.

But why wouldn't you have? They're the second greatest thing to emerge from the Transformers' films, beyond Bay's ability to slow down time.
posted by Mezentian at 9:38 AM on July 4


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