Bumblebee goes old school and I loved it! Bumblebee is the 6th film in the Transformers series with Travis Knight taking over the director role from Michael Bay. We think the “transformation” is remarkable! Bumblebee is by far the best Transformers film to date. I went in with low expectations but this is one of my favorite films of the year. Bumblebee is a must-see this holiday season. Families will find that action sequences do not dominate screen time. Instead, engage with a charming story highlighting a fabulous character set in a decade where some of the most notable popular music was created.
It’s 1987 and the film begins on the planet Cybertron. The Autobots are at war with the Decepticons. Optimus Prime is the loyal leader of the Autobots on a mission for peace. The Decepticons seem to be winning the war when Optimus sends his brave soldier B-127, to earth. He’s instructed to seek shelter and start a base for the Autobots to reconvene. B-127 meets John Cena’s character Agent Burns who assumes he’s a danger when they are ambushed by two Decepticons who followed B-127 to earth.
B-127 winds up in a junkyard in San Francisco but his fate was changed when teen Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) receives a life-changing gift from the junkyard owner- a yellow Volkswagen beetle. The teen quickly discovers the real identity of her car. She takes a chance and befriends B-127 who she nicknames “Bumblebee.” Bumblebee learns to “speak” through his radio and with the help of Charlie, he prefers the upbeat sounds of A-Ha versus the melancholy sounds of Morrisey. Charlie finds comfort and meaning in her friendship with Bumblebee. She’s mourning the loss of her father and Bumblebee seems to fill a void in her life. Bumblebee reminds me of another alien who befriended a young boy back in 1982. Elliot hid E.T. from his mom and Charlie echoes this and manages to hide Bumblebee in the garage.
Hailee Steinfeld sold her performance as Charlie. Steinfeld is talented and definitely one to watch. She was thoughtful and fun to watch in this coming of age story. I appreciate that the lead character is a brave young girl, who loves cars and is helping save the world.
Now, let’s talk about music. I’m all about a cool 80s mixed tape and this soundtrack did not disappoint. This genre of music is easily identifiable. The extremely stylized pop songs enhanced this film with a popular collection of 80s songs by Duran Duran, Simple Mind and Wang Chung, to name a few. I was thrown off by the mix/edit of the portion of Save a Prayer by Duran Duran. The song sounded disjointed but I was pleased to hear this track.
Director Knight figured out that Transformers should be for kids and the Bumblebee movie got the formula right. There needs to be more Kid-centric Sci-fi that entertains the entire family with films that showcase awesome characters, mixed with villains and of course, a healthy dose of humor. Speaking of humor, John Cena added hearty laughs throughout the film. I was worried that he’d add a level of cheesiness, but his timing and wit worked. I have to admit the 80s were a bit cheesy!
I’m thrilled this spin-off happened and that my favorite Transformer was treated to a backstory movie. The CGI is mind-blowing! I was cheering during the transformations. Especially when the robots transform into the coolest cars. I think the metamorphosis is incredible, even magical. I look forward to seeing more of Bumblebee’s round “puppy” eyes. He’s charming and adorable. Hopefully we’ll see him driving alongside Optimus Prime in the next Transformers movie!
Bumblebee is rated PG-13 an is in theaters now. Go see it!