On this trip to the theater, I was joined by my brother, Andrew, and my niece, Kaitlyn. We all appreciated the Transformer films for what they were (brainless firework displays), but we were hoping for more from Bumblebee.
So, this film is a prequel to the first Transformers movie and covers Bumblebee’s journey to Earth to set up a base for the Autobots after they are kicked off their home planet of Cybertron. After landing on Earth (it’s 1987 by the way) Bumblebee is injured, losing his voice and memory. He’s eventually found by Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), and they become BFFs.
Bumblebee is the smallest story in the franchise, but also the best so far. It concentrates on Charlie and her journey instead of the big robot war, and as such is more relatable. This film has all the big CGI robot battles you’d expect, but it has more in common with movies like How to Train your Dragon and E. T. than it does anything directed by Michael Bay.
On the downside, it’s a little too on the nose with its messaging, and it leans in hard with the 80’s nostalgia. This wasn’t a problem for my niece or my brother, but for me, this felt like a hand that has been played far too often. It’s time to move on, Hollywood, and maybe exploit the 90’s for pop culture references for a change.
All in all, I’m recommending this film. It works for audiences young and old and should entertain die-hard Bay-Transformer fans too. It’s a sweet film that’s occasionally touching, and unfortunately a little cheesy. If you’re curious how Bumblebee eventually ended up as a Camero in Uncle Bobby B’s dealership, and can’t get enough 80’s pop culture references, this is the movie for you.
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, Pamela Adlon, Jason Drucker, John Ortiz, Stephen Schneider
Directed by: Travis Knight
Screenplay by: Christina Hodson
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 54 min.