The veneer of cool that exists between film directors suffered a crack earlier this week when two of Hollywood’s high profile auteurs engaged in a “Battle of Bots!”
During a press day event promoting his upcoming films, Pain & Gain and next summer’s Transformers 4, Michael Bay fired the first shot when he told theater owners that there have been quite a few “rip-off’ robot movies and that audiences know better.
While Bay didn’t specifically call out any names or film titles, insiders believe that he likely was referring to Universal’s ill-fated Battleship and DreamWorks’ Real Steel, both of which didn’t work at the box office. However, many attending the session wondered whether Bay also was shouting out Pacific Rim, which del Toro promoted during his CinemaCon presentation a day later (insiders close to Bay say they highly doubt it).
When told of Bay’s comments, del Toro responded that his movie is totally different than Transformers.
“We are far, far, far away from that in a very willing fashion,” del Toro says. “For good or bad, this is my movie. This is my universe and my creation, and I do not create through comparison. There is an operatic quality to Pacific Rim in terms of size and scope,” del Toro says.
In the film, the robots are as tall as 25-story buildings — much larger than the Autobots of Bay’s franchise — and they take on invading alien monsters.
“The fights don’t occur in well-lit, supercool, car commercial-looking environments,” del Toro says. “They occur in the middle of a raging sea storm or in a savage snowstorm. They happen in a universe that is incredibly saturated.”
The director also points out that robots have been a mainstay of science fiction for decades. “And to some degree, the source of all artificial life is Frankenstein,” he says.
He completed his smackdown of Bay by adding with a chuckle, that “his robots could crush every “robot in the history of mankind in a toe-to-toe showdown.”
Sounds to us like somebody is jealous and if Pacific Rim opens with huge numbers at the box office this summer, Bay’s jaw will continue to tighten. del Toro is correct in his assertion of the source of all artificial life and our suggestion is that Bay needs to spend more time working on improving the quality of his films versus throwing shade at his fellow colleagues!
Does Bay have a point or should they settle at the box office?
Pacific Rim opens in theaters July 12.