It’s always interesting to hear filmmakers reflect on their careers, because they often have a very different opinion about their work than the moviegoing public. From Steven Spielberg to Ridley Scott to George Lucas, filmmakers often see mistakes where audiences don’t, and sometimes they wish they could reshoot or reedit portions of their older films.
Now we can add Michael Bay to the list.
Recently, while promoting his new film Pain and Gain, Bay told The Miami Herald how he felt about the 1998 summer blockbuster Armageddon. He admitted several mistakes in the film and went so far as to apologize for them to the Herald, but later said his apology was taken out of context on his official forum. Here’s more of what Bay initially had to say about Armageddon:
“I will apologize for ‘Armageddon,’ because 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.”
And here is Bay’s explanation of his original comments, posted under the thread “I’m Proud of Armageddon” on his official forum:
“One press writer has gone too far in reporting false information. He has printed the bare minimum of my statement which in effect have twisted my words and meaning. I’m not in the slightest going to apologize for the third movie in my movie career, a film called Armageddon. On the red carpet for Pain & Gain some reporters asked me what are you apologizing for, and I said what on earth are you talking about?
What I clearly said to the reporter, is I wish I had more time to edit the film, specifically the the third act. He asked me in effect what would you change if you could in your movies if you could go back. I said, I wish we had a few more weeks in the edit room on Armageddon. And still today Armageddon, is still one of the most shown movies on cable TV. And yes, I’m proud of the movie. Enough said.”
When his first quote came out in the Herald, needless to say, we were a bit surprised that out of all the films he chose to apologize for, he picked one of his most successful. Now, we know he simply wanted more time to polish the film and though some will say it definitely needed polishing, it’s hard to argue with the results. After all, it did go on to make almost half a billion dollars worldwide.
His comments are a reminder that the playing the Hollywood studio game isn’t always easy. With a strict budget and limited time, filmmakers are often handcuffed, making it difficult to achieve the ultimate vision they had in mind at the outset. The best in the business learn to work with limited resources and considering that Armageddon was only Bay’s third feature, it’s hard to knock him for some of the film’s shortcomings.
His comments also show that directors and filmmakers often see their own films in a completely different light than audiences. When you’re as close to your own work for as long as they are, it creates an entirely different perspective. If he had truly wanted to apologize for Armageddon, many would have accepted it, but for many moviegoers, it was simply an entertaining popcorn flick that remains as a bit of a guilty pleasure.
What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Should Michael Bay be proud of Armageddon? Let us know what you think in the comments.
If you’re still on the fence about seeing Michael Bay’s latest film, Pain and Gain, check out this red-band trailer. The film hits theaters on April 26th, 2013.