If size counts for anything, Michael Bay towers over his contemporaries. His summer-defining event films involve extraordinary production costs and churn enormous box office returns. His ability to mastermind breathtaking spectacles of action, mayhem, and special effects continually push the movie industry as much as the medium of film toward new frontiers. Lutz Koepnick engages the bigness of works like Armageddon and the Transformers movies to explore essential questions of contemporary filmmaking and culture. Combining close analysis and theoretical reflection, Koepnick shows how Bay’s films, knowingly or not, address profound issues about what it means to live in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first centuries. According to Koepnick’s astute readings, no one eager to understand the state of cinema today can ignore Bay’s work. Bay’s cinema of world-making and transnational reach not only exemplifies interlocking processes of cultural and economic globalization. It urges us to contemplate the future of moving images, of memory, matter, community, and experience, amid a time of rampant political populism and ever-accelerating technological change. An eye-opening look at one of Hollywood’s most polarizing directors, Michael Bay illuminates what energizes the films of this cinematic and cultural force.
University of Illinois Press, February 2018
$ 22.00 paper ISBN 0252083202
$ 99.00 cloth ISBN 0252041550