MICHAEL BAY AND THE PENTAGON. Scott Brown at Wired describes Transformers director Michael Bay's relationship with the Pentagon:
Thanks to the success of Pearl Harbor, Bay has built up so much goodwill with the Pentagon that he can call up and order F-16s the way the rest of us order hot wings. What's more, this movie's theme -- "No sacrifice, no victory" -- certainly must resonate with the military mindset right about now. An excellent way to keep costs down is to get aircraft, tanks, technical advice, locations (Edwards Air Force Base, White Sands Missle Range), and already-costumed troop extras on the cheap.
"When Hollywood comes to us for assistance, we see it as an opportunity to inform the public about the US military," says Phil Strub, the Pentagon's Hollywood liaison. "If they want our help, they have to show us the script and listen to our suggestions for increasing the military realism." Bay puts it a little more bluntly: "I think they look at it as a recruitment thing."
When the military helps shape issues of representation, it's not just being charitable. It has an image to protect and it has interests of its own (you know, like decreasing enlistment in a time of war). Luckily for them, the entertainment industry actually has a long history of positively depicting militarism. Not that Bay seems to mind. Robert Farley may be right that Bay "sucks," but the extent to which he sucks goes slightly beyond just being a "no talent hack."
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