Armageddon and The Rock on Criterion? What the heck is going on?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Derek J, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. Derek J

    Derek J Extra

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    What the hell are these cheesy movies doing on Criterion? I thought that Criterion were all about restoring and preserving important films? Michael Bay's films don't deserve to mentioned in the same breath as Kurosawa, Bergman and Lean!!
     
  2. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I don't know that Criterion "is all about restoring and preserving important films" as you state. I think they give a very good package, which can include better transfers and more supplemental material.
    The Criterion version of The Rock looks fantastic!
     
  3. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    C'mon Derek! With such classic one-liners as:
    "Get off... the nuclear... warhead."
    and
    "Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives."
    you don't consider Armageddon an important film?!?! [​IMG]
     
  4. Lee Bombard

    Lee Bombard Stunt Coordinator

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    From Criterions own web site:
    "The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements."
    However, they are also a business in the business of turning a profit. I'm sure they make a great deal on releases like THE ROCK and ARMAGEDDON. If it helps fianance other DVD releases like the films of Kurosawa, Bergman and Lean, that might not sell the same quantities...I say bring 'em on. Cheesy or not, they probably keep Criterions lights on. Besides, they're fun packages with inovative supplements.
    Regards,
    Lee
     
  5. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    It's because Michael Bay is, truth be told, an excellent director.
    His films (Armageddon and The Rock) have an unmistakable and very unique approach to often ludicrous subject matter, and I commend him for it.
    I did not see one bit of praise on either Criterion edition of The Rock or Armageddon that I did not agree with.
    My opinion is that over time, as other summer blockbuster films (The Mummy, Con Air, etc.) fall through the sieve of public opinion (even though many consider them to be "must-owns" right now on DVD), these will re-emerge triumphant, as it is clear to me what Michael Bay's objective is.
    He is a master of his trashy genre, much like Douglas Sirk and melodrama. This is a man not interested in gritty realism, or even out-and-out fantasy, but a series of films that are totally escapist and provide utterly seamless entertainment, mixing in his own demented brand of humour and sly ironies.
    For example, take Bruce Willis chasing Ben Affleck with a shotgun at the start of Armageddon for being in an affair with his daughter. I take this to be a very witty subversion of the classic and stereotyped "working-class Texan-redneck-farmer" father's reaction to finding out someone's been having their wicked way with his daughter, only setting the scene on an high-tech oil rig, not in a landscape from "Of Mice and Men". This sets up the whole working-class-hero aspect of the story, subtly showing the drillers to be fancy-pants farmhands, while demonstrating Bay's love for good old-fashioned storytelling.
    Yes, the subject matter is immensely cheesy and absurd, just like the films in the collection by Seijun Suzuki, Douglas Sirk and Paul Morrissey to name but three, but, like those directors, he pulls them (and by "them", I'm referring to Armageddon and The Rock - I'm not a big fan of Bad Boys or Pearl Harbor) off with such style and conviction that they are transformed into modern classics of the genre, that I suspect will stay classics.
    To put it another way, would any of us have fallen in love with the Douglas Sirk pictures that Criterion have just put out had we seen them on their initial release? I doubt it. Why? Because we would have been so jaded, and they would have appeared just like every other romance weepy, when they are, now the mists of time have cleared, quite obviously not.
    So yes, I think the two Michael Bay flicks should be in the Criterion Collection.
    I have no problems with the idea that part of the reason for their inclusion was to boost Criterion's accounts, which, fair enough, they have every right to do. They needed titles that would sell like hot cakes, so they could keep releasing unseen gems in authoritative editions, and I think they made the best choice possible in The Rock and Armageddon.
    It always amuses me when people think that Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood for Dracula, The Blob, And God Created Woman, The Night Porter, etc, are somehow masterpieces and never question them (even though there are plenty who hate them) just because they're over 25 years old, people I'm sure would hate them. For the record, I love them to pieces, but, on the surface, they seem as equally "trashy" and "unworthy" as the Michael Bay flicks.
    It seems the only reason people hate these examples of Bay's work being included in the Criterion Collection is because they're a) new and b) very popular.
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 29, 2001 at 04:49 PM]
     
  6. DanL

    DanL Stunt Coordinator

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    I could care less what Criterion puts out so long they keep their commitment to earnestly important, classic films. I could care less if Criterion did a special edition of Big Daddy so long as it generated revenue with which they could then use for real filmmaking.
    ------------------
    -----------
    Dan Lopez
    http://www.digitallyobsessed.com
    My Reviews
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. StevenW

    StevenW Second Unit

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    Salo is an important film??
     
  9. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Hi StevenW. Inkeeping with your post style: yes, it is. Care to elaborate?
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 29, 2001 at 03:51 PM]
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Jon, I meant to add to this to my previous post. I salute your courage in praising Michael Bay on the HTF, and I hope your flameproof suit is in good working order. [​IMG]
    But FWIW, your analysis of what makes Bay an interesting filmmaker is astute and insightful -- and I wish I'd thought of it first!
    M.
     
  11. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Get rid of me - I'm slowing you all down...
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 29, 2001 at 05:37 PM]
     
  12. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Put me out of my misery.
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 29, 2001 at 05:36 PM]
     
  13. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Delete me - I'm worthless
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 29, 2001 at 05:35 PM]
     
  14. Bryant Frazer

    Bryant Frazer Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    quote: Jon, I meant to add to this to my previous post. I salute your courage in praising Michael Bay on the HTF, and I hope your flameproof suit is in good working order.
    But FWIW, your analysis of what makes Bay an interesting filmmaker is astute and insightful -- and I wish I'd thought of it first![/quote]
    Thanks, Michael, but I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It seems so many people jump on the "I Hate Michael Bay" bandwagon, justifying themselves by saying "His films suck!", and we're all meant to nod in unison and understanding. Those who stick up for him are flamed with similar clever remarks, as if we're meant to feel ashamed or something. I have never seen anyone tell me WHY his films "suck" - occasionally you'll get "They have stupid scripts". So? That's a reflection on Michael Bay the director, is it?
    I think being included in such a prestigious and extraordinary collection of cinema, they do look slightly limp in comparison to other films from Criterion (for example, the Woo actioners in particular). But when viewed from a spectrum of mainstream summer Hollywood blockbusters - wow!
    They are two films that enthrall me throughout their fairly-lengthy running times, thrill me to pieces (The Rock) and make me laugh out loud (I think Armageddon is extraordinarily witty). And consequently I'm not ashamed to defend them.
    I'm waiting for StevenW to reply so I can go to town on telling him how I think Salo is one of the most brilliantly directed films of all time, achieving its very important aims with a skill and perfection most directors could only dream of.
    If you wanted a badly DIRECTED film in the collection, look at Chasing Amy - an incredibly touching, funny and moving film, but who's direction consists of pointing a camera at some actors and getting them to recite the script. Now I am a big Kevin Smith fan, but his directing up until Dogma was atrocious, saved only by a typically sharp script and generally fine performances.
    And for those who think my film taste is abominable, please, do, http://www.dvdprofiler.com/mycollection.asp?alias=jonrob ).
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 29, 2001 at 05:52 PM]
     
  16. Jeff_Shafer

    Jeff_Shafer Auditioning

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    I have to admit that I really do like Bay's films, but sometimes I have to wonder if the biggest decision he has to make each day is whether to shoot everything in blue or whether to shoot everything in gold. [​IMG]
     
  17. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I must have missed this morning's important film class...Can someone explain who/what are Kurosawa, Bergman and Lean? I have never heard of them... [​IMG]
    Thanks.
    ------------------
    Yes, but are they high-quality balloons? ~ David Letterman
     
  18. Keith_R

    Keith_R Screenwriter

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    I liked "The Rock," why does everyone here complain about Mike Bay's work? these type of movies are summer blockbusters and were meant to generate pure harmless fun.
    -Keith-
     
  19. Jun-Dai Bates

    Jun-Dai Bates Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael Bay loves Criterion, and wanted Criterion to do the special editions. He pushed BV into licesing the titles to them, and he prepared the special features while making the films, so that Criterion would have a lot to work with. This is what I've heard, anyways. Criterion, presumably, was not in a position to say no.
    Some light-shedding information from Peter Becker's own lips:
    Becker: Well, you know, I think the key to it is that the edition itself has to be a good edition, and I'm very proud of what we did on The Rock. I'm very proud of what we've done on both of Michael's films. And we couldn't have done it without him, and that's part of what our whole way of working is. We really try to take our leads very strongly from the filmmakers themselves and the people involved, trying not to leave any stone unturned. The story on The Rock is essentially that Michael really did wanted to do a Rock Criterion laser, and he made that known to the folks at Disney. The folks at Disney called us and said, "Do you want to do it?" We asked if we could think about it overnight, and we had a long, knock-down, drag-out about it. When it was all over, you know what? We actually did want to do it. This was a pretty exciting project. And from then on, we didn't really look back. We had a great time, and it was a huge disc, not in terms of sales so much in the laser market, although it was strong, but in terms of content. When Michael made Armageddon, he called us while he was shooting at one point and just checked in with us along the way. There was a whole bunch of back and forth between us subsequent to The Rock, and when it came time for Armageddon to go to home video, the only issue with Disney was being able to work out arrangements to be able to do it on DVD as well as laser at that point, because we were converting so much of our work to DVD.
     
  20. StevenW

    StevenW Second Unit

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    Quote: I'm waiting for StevenW to reply so I can go to town on telling him how I think Salo is one of the most brilliantly directed films of all time, achieving its very important aims with a skill and perfection most directors could only dream of.
    __________________________________________________ __________
    You can try to "go to town" on me all you want, the fact remains that that film is a sick worthless piece of shit...in my humble opinion
    have a nice day
     

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