Bay says Transformers DVD could have been better
Most directors diplomatically go to bat for DVDs of their films. Filmmaker Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys, The Rock) is just as likely to drop verbal bombs while talking about his DVDs as when he is directing.
Bay's take on the new Transformers DVD, which has sold 8.3 million copies since its release last week: "It's a good DVD. But not as good as it could have been," he says. That sales total made Transformers the year's fastest-selling DVD in North America, according to Paramount Home Entertainment.
Despite setting a record, Bay, 42, says a hectic studio schedule prevented him from being as personally involved in the DVD as he was back in the days of Pearl Harbor. His 2002 four-disc director's cut of that film set the standard for buffed-up special editions.
"I was traveling promoting (Transformers) while they were doing the DVD," he says. "You try to guide people as to what to do (in making it), but ultimately if you rush your date, you are not going to get the DVD as good as it could be. … Studios want to pump this stuff out, and my job is to care about it and try to put the right people on it. They just see it as a show they are selling, and I see it as a movie. That's how your movie lives on, in the DVD format."
An aspect of the DVD that Bay says he personally fought for was having the film be on a disc by itself, with just a commentary. He won that battle in the $20 single-disc version that hit shelves last week along with a deluxe, two-disc $40 version.
The two-disc set has many bonus features:
•Producer Steven Spielberg talks about wooing Bay to direct. "Michael Bay was born to direct Transformers," he says on the DVD. "He was the perfect fit for this concept."
Early on, Spielberg knew that he had made a good choice. "Michael staged huge, logistically complicated scenes of massive destruction and explosions, and even when I was watching those dailies without the actual Transformers there, it was just eye candy," he says.
•Also covered in the filmmaking extras are Bay's dealings with the military, toy company Hasbro and General Motors, which supplied many of the vehicles. An Easter egg on the DVD is a "Bay Bot," a Transformer robot with Bay's face. "(Hasbro) made that for me, but I didn't know it was going to be on the DVD," Bay says.
•An anatomy of a scene details how Bay and the crew created the desert attack by the scorpion-like Skorponok. Filming that scene early on convinced Bay that the Transformers movie could work. "As soon as I saw how violent and vicious it was and we added a rough visual effect to it, I said, 'Oh my, I get it,' " he says.
Transformers is the first major film to arrive on HD DVD ($40) since partners Paramount and DreamWorks joined that side of the high-definition video disc format war. Universal also makes its films available exclusively on HD DVD. Sony, Disney and Fox support rival Blu-ray Disc, while Warner releases on both formats.
Bay caused a brouhaha on his blog (michaelbay.com) by voicing his displeasure that Transformers would not be available on Blu-ray and that he was rethinking his plan to direct a sequel. The next day he backpedaled, but he is still upset about the format war.
"It's short-sighted and it has delayed consumers' moving to HD (home video)," he says. "As a director, my critical eye is that Blu-ray is where my money is. Consumers are smart, and they are going to wait it out."
The HD DVD version also set a new mark. Its 190,000 copies sold is the best debut of any high-def disc.
Bay expects the cast to return for Transformers 2, which is targeted for June 25, 2009. The first film's take recently surpassed $700 million worldwide, and it has reached No. 18 on the all-time U.S. box office chart and No. 28 internationally.
"It just caught on in our culture, and I am excited to do the second one," he says. "There are so many different and innovative ways you could have fun with this movie."
Ha!! I knew it was rushed! The studios wanted it out soon because the hype was still big for the movie and they wanted to cash in on the merchandising.
Of course this doesn't affect the quality of the film, but I think the DVD could've been a lot more, especially with the special features department.
Honestly speaking, I think most of that stuff didn't need to be broken down into several featurettes but instead, have it be one long featurette with chapters.
Also could've added a cast commentary, actor test auditions, animatics, tv spot and trailer collection, photo galleries, interviews with cast and crew, etc. Most DVDs I've seen have are more abstract when it comes with the special features. The 2nd disc really is nothing but a bunch of 8 minute documentaries which sometimes repeat the same information.
Why did he only want a single disc with just a commentary?