Bumblebee present the first step of the Transformers universe out of the hands of Michael Bay. The director brought the autobots to the screen in 2007 to much excitement and intrigue. After that, he hauled four more action packed movies that continued to offer nothing new other than the overused explosions and CG bot fights but somehow kept the audience still streaming to watch more. After the last transformers, the last knight, ended in disappointing returns and bad reception from fans and critics alike, bumblebee injects a new kind of blood to the franchise. Does it transform to something better?
Right out of the bat, the feeling of the movie is completely different from the one we have come to expect from the Transformers movie. Writer Christina Hodson Hudson puts all her effort to create a sense of depth and heart than seemed to be lacking from the machine autobots. The conflict is greatly reduced from city being floored to as little as family squabbling. Rather than a bot leading the war and the human following in his command, bumblebee is an adventure between a bot and a human helping each other grow.
The film finds both our leads in a bad state before they meet. Bumblebee had fled the war from his home plant and is hiding in earth as a beetle car. However, memory loss prevents him from fulfilling the wishes of Optimus prime of protecting the earth. Charlie, is a feisty 18 year old who is still mourning from personal loss and the changes it brings. She gets the seemingly hopeless abandoned beetle as a birthday gift that brings her joy in a dark time. Their friendship gives bee a purpose and fills the hole in Charlie’s heart and the relationship between the two becomes the most compelling thing about the movie. It shows a movie not love driven can also work as a good family movie.
Unlike the transformers which always had a cast full of A list actors, bumblebee tries out with a set of upcoming actors without hurting the film. Hailee Steinfeld stars as Charlie and she is irresistible. She owns her character perfectly and is among the best thing about the film. John Cena was also surprisingly good with all the quirky line you'd except from a 80s villain and a funny comment here and there. Jorge Lendeborg Jr takes the role of Charlie’s neighbor and potential love interest and the actor also doesn’t disappoint.
The director Travis knight is a new Comer as a big blockbuster film director unlike Michael Bay. However, what he lacks in visual flair, he makes it up with heartfelt and emotional experiences. The action scenes are much better with a one on one approach that focus on individual blows and that make you interested in the fights. That in mind, if it's an action movie you want, don't go to this movie. Much emphasis is laid on character building and relationship between Bee and Charlie which works perfectly making it more of a family fun ride. The movie takes much inspiration from producer Steven Spielberg to feel like one of his 80s film, ET in mind.
That in mind, bumblebee still falls where other transformers movies do when it comes to the third act. With the earth in danger, bots have to fight and their fighting though cool to watch, still leaves the audience unattached to what is happening. What john Cena’s character agent Burns represents to the film is also not very clear as he jiggles a villain full of bravado and a one dimensional hero. That being said, there is much improvement on the action from the previous Transformers movie.
Overall, bumblebee is one of the best movies of the year, and has clearly opened the opportunity of smaller transformers spin offs in the future. It’s simple, genuine and fun, all the key words to make a good Christmas movie to watch with family. There is an end credit scene right after the director’s name and no other after that. Do enjoy the movie.
facebook: Kelvin Kyle
By NAICCON on Dec 27, 2018