Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

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Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby Sabrblade » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:39 pm

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Here's a short interview with Ehren Kruger from back in June that I don't think we've gotten a real good look at yet. He talks about writing for AOE and some of the behind the scenes info like how the Dinobots were originally not going to be in this movie (but they were still going to foreshadowed in this one), or how he views writing for this movie differently from writing for other movies.

http://www.slashfilm.com/transformers-logical-sense/

The Transformers films — or at least the three sequels to Michael Bay‘s first film in the series — disregard story concepts left and right. Characters are secondary to spectacle; geography and time are subservient to the impact of a beauty shot; standard narrative building blocks regularly fall by the wayside. So how does one write one of these films? We talked to Ehren Kruger, who has written all three Transformers sequels, about the process of putting a film like this on the page.

If you need a capsule version of our short conversation, it is this quote: “When you’re talking about aliens, robotic machines which disguise themselves as vehicles and animals, you start to make your peace with the idea that logical sense doesn’t have to be the be-all, end-all.” Which means that the creators of the Transformers films are throwing logic and narrative structure out the window consciously, if not deliberately. For a bit more exploration of that concept, read our short interview below.

Did you begin with a directive like “put Dinobots in the movie”?

There was a version, once upon a time, where they were not going to be in the film. This was going to set them up for later on. But the more we talked about it, the more everyone got excited about those characters and their visual potential. Everyone agreed “why wait, let’s play with them now.” And this movie always did deal with origin stories and creation stories. It always opened as this movie does. So they were an element that we always wanted, yes. And it seemed like the time was right. If you’re going to tell a story about the creation of the Transformers, and the creation of life on Earth, they fit in there. They would not have fit in previous stories.

This film is not strictly a part of series continuity as a whole, bucking the concept of maintaining rigid connectivity from one sequel to the next.

We wanted some sense of continuity in terms of the previous films. Those films exist in this universe. But we did want to come at it from the perspective of new human characters, and new Autobot characters around Optimus Prime, who kind of vectored into the franchise from a totally different direction. And it is kind of it’s own thing. It is sort of a reboot, and sort of a fourth movie, or third sequel. It’s its own animal, but this franchise has always been its own animal. It’s as much a circus or a Super Bowl as a regular movie.

How do you write for Michael Bay’s style?

Writing for Michael is very — he’s a very sensory director, and sometimes an “overload” director. He’s someone who is always looking to top himself, certainly from an action perspective and a stylistic perspective. So very early on we’re throwing ideas back and forth. We talk about sequences and visuals and moments. Whereas in some other films, or “ordinary” films, you might be very slavish to story and narrative first, and logical sense above all. When you’re talking about aliens, robotic machines which disguise themselves as vehicles and animals, you start to make your peace with the idea that logical sense doesn’t have to be the be-all, end-all. It needs to be amazing fun for the audience. They need to be swept up, and be promised that they’re going to see things that make it worth spending money on a ticket.

This film, and some other Transformers films, does away with, for example, some basic connective tissue between story sequences.

At moments it is quasi-experimental, yes. You have to understand, with a big summer movie like this, especially this franchise, [Michael Bay] doesn’t quite look at it like competing with movies. He looks at it like “should I go see Transformers, or spend a day at Six Flags?” There’s a big spectacle quality to it that he is promising, and that is one of the things that makes this franchise different than your X-Men, Spider-Man, or Planet of the Apes films. It’s something this series does that is its own style. That is all part of the package. Some days, it’s like writing a Cirque du Soleil show.

Would some of those quasi-experimental aspects be received differently if there was a name on the tin other than Michael Bay?

Like… Nicolas Winding Refn? Yeah, maybe! It probably wouldn’t have the box office. [Bay] is a populist entertainer, and he’s delivering spectacle the way that P.T. Barnum promised. Every time out, he delivers it. He pushes ILM and effects companies to do things they’ve never done before. He always wants to push thrills, spectacle, humor, and fun. Somewhere way down the list is “all the ‘i’s must be dotted” for old-fashioned narrative practices.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby Rodimus Prime » Tue Nov 04, 2014 6:19 pm

Sabrblade wrote:
This film, and some other Transformers films, does away with, for example, some basic connective tissue between story sequences.

At moments it is quasi-experimental, yes. You have to understand, with a big summer movie like this, especially this franchise, [Michael Bay] doesn’t quite look at it like competing with movies. He looks at it like “should I go see Transformers, or spend a day at Six Flags?" There’s a big spectacle quality to it that he is promising, and that is one of the things that makes this franchise different than your X-Men, Spider-Man, or Planet of the Apes films. It’s something this series does that is its own style. That is all part of the package. Some days, it’s like writing a Cirque du Soleil show.
And this is the problem I have with the franchise. If I wanted to go to Six Flags, I'd go to Six Flags! I don't need to see a film trying to be an amusement park ride. That's what Universal Studios and its TF ride is for. I'm not even asking for Oscar-worthy material. How about just make a good action movie? Bay has the visuals and action filming down, no question. He should leave the screenwriting to an actual writer who went to school for that, and he should just dress up the script he gets with what he knows best. Action. Otherwise, I enjoy Bayverse. :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay:
Burn wrote:Alpha Bravo...He's a helicopter in a team of jets. That's just dumb.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby SKYWARPED_128 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:09 pm

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Rodimus Prime wrote:
Sabrblade wrote:
This film, and some other Transformers films, does away with, for example, some basic connective tissue between story sequences.

At moments it is quasi-experimental, yes. You have to understand, with a big summer movie like this, especially this franchise, [Michael Bay] doesn’t quite look at it like competing with movies. He looks at it like “should I go see Transformers, or spend a day at Six Flags?" There’s a big spectacle quality to it that he is promising, and that is one of the things that makes this franchise different than your X-Men, Spider-Man, or Planet of the Apes films. It’s something this series does that is its own style. That is all part of the package. Some days, it’s like writing a Cirque du Soleil show.
And this is the problem I have with the franchise. If I wanted to go to Six Flags, I'd go to Six Flags! I don't need to see a film trying to be an amusement park ride. That's what Universal Studios and its TF ride is for. I'm not even asking for Oscar-worthy material. How about just make a good action movie? Bay has the visuals and action filming down, no question. He should leave the screenwriting to an actual writer who went to school for that, and he should just dress up the script he gets with what he knows best. Action. Otherwise, I enjoy Bayverse. :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay:


My thoughts exactly.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby RhA » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:51 am

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Rodimus Prime wrote:
Sabrblade wrote:
This film, and some other Transformers films, does away with, for example, some basic connective tissue between story sequences.

At moments it is quasi-experimental, yes. You have to understand, with a big summer movie like this, especially this franchise, [Michael Bay] doesn’t quite look at it like competing with movies. He looks at it like “should I go see Transformers, or spend a day at Six Flags?" There’s a big spectacle quality to it that he is promising, and that is one of the things that makes this franchise different than your X-Men, Spider-Man, or Planet of the Apes films. It’s something this series does that is its own style. That is all part of the package. Some days, it’s like writing a Cirque du Soleil show.
And this is the problem I have with the franchise. If I wanted to go to Six Flags, I'd go to Six Flags! I don't need to see a film trying to be an amusement park ride. That's what Universal Studios and its TF ride is for. I'm not even asking for Oscar-worthy material. How about just make a good action movie? Bay has the visuals and action filming down, no question. He should leave the screenwriting to an actual writer who went to school for that, and he should just dress up the script he gets with what he knows best. Action. Otherwise, I enjoy Bayverse. :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay: :michaelbay:

Very well worded.

Allthough I like the movies, Kruger's statement seems to be an excuse for lazy writing.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby SlyTF1 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:33 am

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When I was watching AOE, especially during that "punch, hold, slide, repeat," scene, I thought to myself: "This feels like that TF ride at Universal Studios." And I liked it. I do, however see that Kruger doesn't respect the franchise. He may be a fan of it, but he sure as hell doesn't respect it. While Bay was working his ass off, trying to make the best movie he could, Kruger couldn't give a damn less. Yeah, replace him. I still liked the writing for AOE, though. DOTM, too. But, when someone says something like that, you know they're never going to give it their all.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby Sabrblade » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:01 am

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And what's more he claims that that's how one's supposed to write for a Bay-directed film, as though it's some requirement that any film that Bay directs must be written without logic and as though it weren't a movie but a ride instead.

Just... What?!
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby Rodimus Prime » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:53 am

Sabrblade wrote:And what's more he claims that that's how one's supposed to write for a Bay-directed film, as though it's some requirement that any film that Bay directs must be written without logic and as though it weren't a movie but a ride instead.
Is this something that is only for the TF franchise, or is it something he thinks Bay requires for all his movies? Because I think most of his other movies were very coherent, if a bit "loosely fit," if you know what I mean. To me the only other Bay movie that was a clusterf**k like RoTF was Pearl Harbor. His other movies have kinda stuck to a generally linear story and execution. DoTM was a bit out of place here and there, but it was still better (IMO) than both RoTF and AoE.
Burn wrote:Alpha Bravo...He's a helicopter in a team of jets. That's just dumb.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby ZeroWolf » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:44 pm

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In one sense he has kinda a point about logic and shape-shifting aliens, but I would of perhaps said about suspension of disbelief and creating new logical outcomes that reflect the universe the movies are in.
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby SKYWARPED_128 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:13 pm

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Honestly, I think it goes beyond just Bay and/or Kruger. I believe some of the executive producers also have a say in certain aspects, especially Hasbro.

Sure, Kruger's the writer whose story becomes the foundation of the movie, but any of the producers and higher-ups can override him and demand changes. If they don't like something or think he's not doing things their way, I'm sure they can and will make him do as they say.

So why didn't they?

The thing about Bay is that he isn't emotionally invested in TF's, and his one and only motive is to generate ticket sales, as seen in his style of making TF movies like "amusement park rides." In and of itself, it's not wrong, but the weight of telling a proper story then falls solely on the writer. Because the director doesn't really care one way or the other.

According to Kruger, "...He(Bay) looks at it like “should I go see Transformers, or spend a day at Six Flags?" There’s a big spectacle quality to it that he is promising...."

Kruger's fault is that he's not even trying to balance out Bay's action scenes and concepts and giving them meaning and "wrapping" them in a proper story. As it is, he's simply going with the flow. He doesn't have the luxury of going, "we're just here to make a spectacle, so why bother telling a proper story?" That would be like having all fingers and no thumbs.

TL;DR, one needs not be Caesar in order to understand Caesar, but soldiers should not think and behave like their generals (confused yet? :P ).
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby Sabrblade » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:22 pm

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SKYWARPED_128 wrote:TL;DR, one needs not be Caesar in order to understand Caesar, but soldiers should not think and behave like their generals (confused yet? :P ).
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
"When there's gold feathers, punch behind you!!"

Shadowman wrote:This is Sabrblade we're talking about. His ability to store trivial information about TV shows is downright superhuman.
Caelus wrote:My wife pointed out something interesting about the prehistoric Predacons. I said that everyone was complaining because transforming for them mostly consisted of them just standing up-right. She essentially said, 'So? That's what our ancestors did.'
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Re: Ehren Kruger AOE interview - "Logical sense doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all."

Postby SKYWARPED_128 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:59 pm

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Sabrblade wrote:
SKYWARPED_128 wrote:TL;DR, one needs not be Caesar in order to understand Caesar, but soldiers should not think and behave like their generals (confused yet? :P ).
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.


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― William Shakespeare ;)
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