Directed by Travis Knight and written by Christina Hodson, ‘Bumblebee’ is a reboot of the Transformers franchise which covers the Autobots’ arrival to Earth and the infiltration of the Decepticons. The movie was released through Paramount Pictures and produced by Michael Bay, who directed the previous films.
Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), leader of the Autobots on Cybertron, sends scout B-127 (Dylan O’Brien) to Earth to see if it is a place for their side to regroup as they seem to be losing their battle against the Decepticons on their home planet of Cybertron. Blitzwing (David Sobolov) follows B-127, damaging him and ripping out his vocal cords, before being stabbed. B-127 scans a Volkswagen Beetle before collapsing. Charlotte “Charlie” Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) and her neighbor Memo Gutierrez (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) accidentally wake him up and after getting over the shock of having an alien robot on Earth, name him Bumblebee. Decepticon agents Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Dropkick (Justin Theroux) arrive on Earth after detecting an energy spike, allying with the human secret organization Sector 7 and their Agent Jack Burns (John Cena) in order to capture Bumblebee and use his memory banks to locate Optimus Prime and the other Autobots in hiding.
There was some debate over whether this film was a full reboot or a prequel that provided retcons, similar to X-Men: First Class. However, it was confirmed by Paramount that Bumblebee is now the new norm for further Transformers films. Judging from this movie, I think it is a good idea.
The movie goes at a steady pace, not too slow or too fast, and has plenty of eye-popping action to keep the younger audiences engaged. I also found some interesting character development, discussions, and clever dialogue to keep the adults entertained as well. Now, the previous movies had plenty of special effects, but they relied too much on action and lack of story to keep audiences, even die-hard fans of the Hasbro toyline, show, and comics, interested. This was not the case for this feature.
Travis Knight definitely recreated the charm of the original television series and the story he crafts was well-made. It was by no means perfect, but it brought the Transformers out of that “college humor” that was prevalent in the Michael Bay flicks and focuses on character development. He did a good job in that regard. The film definitely pays homage to the themes and tone of Transformers, which explored deeper themes, but also never took itself too seriously. I also liked the throwback look of the “Generation 1” Autobots and Decepticons, as opposed to the alien look of the previous film series. Bee was somewhat of a hybrid, but his design was still cool.
As for the performances, Hailee Steinfeld is at the top of her game. She was perfect for the role of Bumblebee’s friend and brings the story to its fruition. Likewise, John Cena does a good job with his role as well. I want to applaud him and how he portrayed the Section 7 character. The voice actors playing the Autobots and Decepticons all did an excellent job as well, but Peter Cullen, as expected, peaked them all as Optimus Prime. He truly embodies the character and it is no wonder he is always in demand.
Bottom line, Bumblebee is a return to form for the Transformers franchise. Hopefully, Paramount Pictures will continue this pace and bring us these entertaining films that are crafted very well.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Minor language
FAVORITE QUOTE: The darkest nights, produce the brightest stars.
Check out the trailer below:
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