Michael Bay is the worst thing to happen to movies.
Let me back up. I’m not saying that Michael Bay is the worst director (that dubious honor would probably go to Uwe Boll), nor am I saying that Michael Bay’s movies are the worst things to come out of the abyss of creative bankruptcy that is Hollywood. Rather,what I am saying is that Michael Bay is a symptom of a larger problem. A fever as opposed to the actual flu, if you will. And what is this flu, one might ask? One could chalk it up to the aforementioned lack of creativity, but the real problem is this: Hollywood thinks you are stupid.
“The film’s villain is named Colonel Schrader, and he’s the head of a secret military operation backed by an army nicknamed “the Foot.” Casey Jones is apparently the main protagonist. He and and April O’Neil are 18-year-olds, dating and in high school. Casey spends his time as a security guard at a furniture factory (he’s also an amateur hockey player). April is getting ready to move to New York for an internship at CBS, where she will meet the turtles who are indeed from outer space. Specifically, Dimension X. The Turtles make Kung-Fu Panda jokes and wear color coded masks because, as the script states, it was cool in Reservoir Dogs.”
Now, my problem isn’t the fact that it’s a re-imagining, it’s the fact that Bay wants to make what amounts to the same movie as Transformers. Instead of Sam/Slutface, it’s Casey/April. Instead of the Transformers, it’s the Alien Turtles. Instead of the Decepticons and the government, it’s (sigh) Colonel Schrader’s foot squad and the military. Now, I’m sure that a more creative script could be drafted, even if it were another re-imagining. Hell, the 80’s cartoon that everyone holds dear is merely a reworking of a surprisingly dark comic series. However, Bay isn’t redoing the premise of the series to bring his own vision to it, he’s changing things because he knows that the Transformers formula worked, and rather than go with something different he’s going with the safe bet. It’s the same reason why Activision keeps releasing Call of Duty games that play exactly the same as the last version.
I can’t say that the audience bares no part of the blame for this. The only reason he’s trying to basically make the same film is because people ate up Transformers (even though they actually do rank as some of the worst things to come out of Hollywood in recent memory). And I guarantee that were TMNT released in this form, it would earn millions as well. Because, perhaps as a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, audiences have become dumber. Take, for example, anything on the TLC network. It started with that one show about the woman with 20 kids, My Vagina is the Size of the Lincoln Tunnel or whatever. Now, I’m not going to harp on the evils of reality television (much), but this show basically amounted to “watch this woman try to do normal things while coping with having an entire school district’s worth of kids and a camera crew shoved up her ass”. Which, on the scale of exploitation goes, is pretty low. Then, TLC released the show about the family of midgets. Oh, look at them, they’re so short. It must be hard for them to do normal things. Let’s watch them try. I was under the impression that this would be the furthest TLC would venture into sideshow territory, but then I saw something that threw me for a loop.
They have a show about a girl with two heads.
No, I’m not fucking kidding. They have a show about a two-headed girl attempting to lead a normal life in college. I find this abhorrent. Not because this girl has two heads, but because this fact is somehow considered entertainment. Now, I ran through the philosophical treadmill on this before I let my outrage get out of hand, and I came up with this set of conclusions:
#1: The supposed reason for watching the show is to see someone abnormal go through their daily life, but this actually breaks down into two separate reasons, namely to gawk at someone strange and to watch someone go through their daily life.
#2: No one wants to watch someone go through their daily life. Sure, there’s things like sitcoms and other types of TV that present a representation of normal life, but those have things like writing and plot. People only watch reality TV if there is something “interesting” about the subject (Ex. Snooki, although Jew can tell you way more about her than I can).
#3: Therefore, if we eliminate that as a reason to watch the show, then the only reason left is because the viewer wants to gawk at some freak. Which is where my disgust enters the picture.
I’ve heard the argument that the reason these shows exist is to “educate people that people like this exist in the world and can lead normal lives”, but this rings invalid. If the purpose were education, it would be a one-off documentary with actual facts, not some sort of strange voyeuristic look into someone’s private life on a daily basis.
TLC has basically created the modern version of the sideshow freak act, broadcast directly into peoples’ homes for all to see. The sad thing is that this shit gets ratings like crazy. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for the girl herself (themselves?) to be in the show. She’s going to get looked at oddly no matter where she is, might as well make some cash doing it. No, what’s bad is that this is considered entertainment in this day and age. Screw things like actual effort into establishing a fictional universe for the viewer to be absorbed into, let’s just follow some weirdos around with a camera and see what we can get. And people eat this shit up. That’s why there’s so much reality TV, it’s cheap to make and sells like crazy. Bored housewives and NIMBYs the world over now have something to watch and think “Thank God my life isn’t like that”. It’s schadenfreude on a worldwide scale, and it’s only going to get worse the longer these shows sell.
So, I guess, from a majority standpoint, Michael Bay is giving us just what we deserve.