Bumblebee is the sixth movie in the Transformers franchise but let me start by saying that I am a huge Transformers fan. As a matter of fact back in 1987 when I was six years old I got Metroplex and it was one of the best Christmases I ever had.
It goes without saying that when I heard there was going to be a live action Transformers movie I was beyond excited and to be honest I loved that first Michael Bay Transformers movie.
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Since then we have had four other movies and I have found most of them a little much. There are too many Transformers crammed in and the running time on some of these movies is nuts. This year though instead of Michael Bay we have Travis Knight directing a Christina Hodson script for a prequel movie that is all about Bumblebee.
Like many things are these days, Bumblebee is set during the 1980s which I am more than cool with. The 80’s setting helps add to the charm and the soundtrack is actually really cool. if you are an old-school Transformers fan like myself.
The opening section of the movie offers a ton of fan service. It all takes place on Cybertron and you get to see characters like Optimus Prime and Soundwave looking just like they did on Saturday mornings back in the ’80s.
During Cybertron’s dying breaths, Bumblebee is sent to Earth to lay low, scout the planet and protect it for us who are living here and also so that the Autobots have a new home. Bumblebee on Earth is “adopted” by a teenager called, Charlie Watson.
Charlie Watson is played by Hailee Steinfeld and she is awesome. I would go as far to say that she is the best human character they have introduced in this whole Transformers franchise. She carries the movie tremendously well and her angst and heartbreak over losing her father is something that you actually care about.
She is trying to find her place in the world just as much as Bumblebee is and the two of them together make a fantastic pair. Her teaching Bumblebee to have fun is one of the highlights of the movie and you can tell that Bumblebee really cares about her, despite noting being able to talk properly. It is the kind of thing that could have come across cheesy, but it really does work and it works incredibly well.
Bumblebee does not have it all his own way as the Decepticons send two scouts to track him down. Sector 7 (the government agency from the first movie) decides to team up with these Decepticons. Helping them in exchange for their technology. It is a totally dumb move and one that as you would expect they come to regret. The other human characters are quite good, John Cena who starts off as what seems like a one-dimensional bad guy has some good character development and you like him by the end of the movie.
The action in Bumblebee is pretty awesome, you could argue it is not as spectacular as some of the other Transformers movies, but I think it is all the better for it. It is more substance over style, not to say that the special effects are not great because they are.
Bumblebee has a much smaller cast and the movie is all the better for it. the majority of the movie is about Bumblebee and Charlie and that is its biggest strength. There are not 20 different Transformers that you struggle to keep up with.
There is not a bloated cast of human characters that you do not care about either. Bumblebee strips things back and as a result is the best movie in the Transformers franchise to date.
The Bottom Line
If you have gotten a bit fatigued over the last five Transformers movies, Bumblebee is still worth checking out. It is a wonderful movie that is full of charm, action, humor and it also has a lot of heart.
It is the movie’s heart that really sets it apart from all the rest and in a way, they could perhaps use this as a way to soft reboot the entire Transformers movie franchise. I really cannot recommend this movie highly enough, it is one of the standout movies of 2018 for me.