Say what you like about Michael Bay, the filmmaker has left an indelible mark on modern cinema. But what if he trained his trademark “Bay-hem” on to classic literature? As Bay proved with “Pain and Gain,” a film based on a true event that was impossibly embellished, he has no problem making other material his own. So what would Michael Bay-ified adaptations of literary classics look like?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Paranormal investigator Lockwood (Mark Wahlberg) journeys to Wuthering Heights, to battle the ghost of Catherine (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). When he is nearly killed by the ghost, he decides to bring a crack team of ghost hunters to stop her: muscular powerhouse Heathcliff (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), supernaturally sensitive Cat (Kerian Shipka) and gadget-man Hareton (Ed Harris). Heathcliff is wary about returning to Wuthering Heights, as it was the site of something in his past he won’t speak of. As the team traverses from room to room, with Catherine unleashing unspeakable horrors upon them, Heathcliff slowly explains his relationship to the house and to Catherine, culminating in the reveal that Cat is Catherine’s daughter. Heathcliff dies saving the others, and the final shot is Heathcliff and Catherine, now ghosts together, floating off into eternity together. Despite ostensibly taking place in England, no one speaks with an English accent, including Huntington-Whiteley, who is actually English.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Secret agent Annie Karen (Milla Jovovich), seduces her way through Russian nobility at the end of the Cold War. This eventually leads Alexei (Peter Stormare) and Stiva (Mark Wahlberg) to fight for her affections. Major set-peices include: a runaway train that jumps its tracks and manages to roll into the center of St. Petersberg, a swordfight on horseback between Stiva and Konstantin (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) during a steeplechase, an extended dance sequence during an exquisite costume ball, and the reveal that Annie is in fact a robot from another planet.
The Metamporphosis by Franz Kafka
Despite waking up transformed into a giant cockroach, Gregor Samsa (Will Smith) still decides to lead his elite strike force (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Ken Jeong) against terrorist Verwandlung (Peter Stormare) who has taken over the Chrysler Building. Now able to effortlessly scale walls, wield four machine guns at once, and keep the quips coming at a breakneck pace, becoming a cockroach was one of the greatest things to happen to Samsa. But can he make the world safe for democracy in time to attend his daughter’s violin recital?
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Hamlet, the self-described “Prince of Denmark Beach” (Mark Whalberg), a popular body-building beach in Southern California. But when he finds out Claudio (Tony Shalhoub) killed his mentor (Ed Harris), Hamlet and his buddies Hortatio (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Brass (Chris Hemsworth) plot revenge. But getting away with murder is harder than is in the movies, and the muscle-bound threesome have to deal with detectives Rosencratz and Guilderstern (David Mitchell and Robert Webb) as well as Hamlet’s still-hot mother (Blake Lively) and his nosey girlfriend (Zendaya).
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Mark Walhberg stars as Commander Fred, who gets a new handmaiden (Cara Delevingne) who causes him no end of trouble. Also starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Peter Stormare, and Ed Harris with a surprise cameos by Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.