July 23, 2005

Dear Michael Bay,

Hey. How's it going? Happy summer to you. Cinecultist knows you must love the summer months because it really is the season best suited to your brand of high concept, low intelligence quotient filmmaking. In fact, we're writing because we spent our half day Friday afternoon yesterday at the cinema watching your newest, The Island.

You sure do like to make things explode and god love ya for it. When it's hot outside there's something very satisfying about watching pure mayhem, and you really know how to stage that stuff. However, a little constructive criticism from a reluctant but still admiring fan:

1) Anything over the two hour mark is much too long for a summer movie. You sir, are no David Lean. It's just not necessary to have your movies go on that long. Bad Boys II? 147 minutes. Armaggedon is 150 minutes, which is just plain excessive if you ask us. Even that extra 7 minutes on the Island, accounting also for extensive trailers and commercials before the movie begins feels like an extra thirty and just makes our ass tired.

2) We liked the little meta moments (Scarlett Johansson watches herself in that Calvin Klein ad, Ewan McGregor talks to his rogue-ish alter ego who likes fast cars, has a Scottish accent and a raging STD from all of his philandering) but felt you could've sustained them further. Such a simplistic ending in a movie about cloning (cloning bad! bad cloning doctor Sean Bean!) seems like a cop out even for you.

3) That much senseless urban mayhem, particularly in the light of recent London terrorist attacks which of course you couldn't have anticipated but is on tour mind nonetheless, seems unnecessarily callous. Particularly that car chase scene with the flying metal and flipping cars was quite brutal, though the hover bike through the office building and the office workers flying each which way was also rough. If you're going to make junk blow up and cars flip end to end one after another, let's not see the horrified look of the passengers just before it happens, 'kay? And then have no follow up afterwards? Not cool. Imagined gore with no consequences, when your plot is about demanding consequences for inhumane organ harvesting from clones, is just too hypocritical.

Granted, we may be reading too much into this sci-fi flight o' fancy of yours but you do have two Criterion discs out. If you ask people to call you an action auteur, you should expect this kind of mail.

Anyhow, thanks for making our ear drums ring yet again. And for the scene where Scarlett tells Ewan to use more tongue when kissing her. Good one. Maybe we didn't need to be able to hear those finer registers anyway. See you next summer!

the Cinecultist.

Posted by karen at July 23, 2005 5:51 PM