Every Hero Has a Beginning
All I could think when a new “Transformers” movie was announced for Christmas 2018 was “oh no, here we go again!” After the massively-successful “Kubo and the Two Strings”, Paramount placed Travis Knight at the helm; and man are they happy they did! “Bumblebee” follows our titular hero (voiced by Dylan O’Brien) after escaping from Cybertron, being sent to Earth by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) as the only hope of the Autobots’ chance of survival. Once on Earth, he encounters a sergeant (John Cena) and his platoon during a training exercise but manages to escape. In a small southern Californian town, Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) is navigating through her adolescence and dealing with the loss of her father. She stumbles upon a dirty, rusty VW bug in the nearby scrapyard and she receives it as a gift for her 18th birthday. After turning him on, his signal is tracked, and two Decepticons head to interrogate him to discover the location of Optimus and the rest of the Autobots. With Dropkick (voiced by Justin Theroux) and Shatter (voiced by Angela Bassett) deceiving Sector 7, it’s up to Charlie, Bumblebee, and her friend Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) to stop the Decepticons and save the Earth from annihilation.
In a very crowded movie season, “Bumblebee” is great fun for the whole family and a very refreshing entry in the “Transformers” universe. It’s no secret that the latest entries (arguably all of them since “Revenge of the Fallen”) have left much to be desired, essentially driving the franchise straight into the ground. I’m not entirely sure what Paramount’s plans are for future installments, but they certainly are off to a great start with “Bumblebee”! The film relies on mainly telling a story, resorting to using action spectacles as a story builder rather than the primary focus. Have no fear, there is still plenty of action and explosions, but they add depth to the film; there aren’t any lens flares though! In addition to the story is the surprising star of the film, its heart. “Bumblebee” is full of heart, so much of it comes from Steinfeld who is remarkably charming and conveys an authentic connection to Bumblebee. Cena balances the drama and comedy, but some of his lines just come off entirely-corny. This is not due to Cena, but to the often-times predictable and cheesy dialog courtesy of the film’s screenplay. Unfortunately, the services of John Ortiz are criminally-underused though.
“Bumblebee” also has its fair amount of fan service as well. While the film doesn’t answer all of the questions, many of them are addressed, such as: how Bumblebee lost his ability to speak, his original form, and how he gets his custom Chevrolet Camaro look as well! Accompanying the 1987 setting of the film is an excellent soundtrack, featuring the likes of: Tears for Fears, Rick Astley, A-HA, The Smiths, and many more; it’s sure to have you tapping your feet or even singing along! While also cutting-down on the reliance of action and explosions, “Bumblebee” also benefits from the shortened running time of 114 minutes. The film flows smoothly and abandons the more-is-more approach of the past films. Paramount truly has a great achievement on their hands; a film for all ages, led-by a strong, talented Hailee Steinfeld, and is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. If superheroes and dramatic offerings don’t excite you, go see “Bumbleebee”!
This humble opinion is brought to by you T. K. Edwards
BUMBLEBEE – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 53 mins
Director by: Travis Knight
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker
In this Transformers prequel, a young girl discovers her Volkswagen beetle is really a giant robot from another planet.
THIS SEGMENT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Before we begin and just In case you forgot, here’s the ongoing list of TRANSFORMERS films in the order of when they came out in theaters.
- Transformers (2007) – Shia LaBeouf & Megan Fox
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – Shia LaBeouf & Megan Fox again
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) – Shia LaBeouf & No Megan Fox 😦
- Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – Mark Wahlberg w/ short hair
- Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – Mark Wahlberg w/ long hair
Now…here are the differences between the new BUMBLEBEE movie and the rest of the films, which unfortunately, there are not many…actually only two that are obvious. First, this new film is not directed by Michael Bay. This new film is directed by Travis Knight, whose only other film was KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, which does prove the fact that you don’t need Michael Bay to direct every single TRANSFORMERS movie you decide to do. There are other directors out there that are just as good at blowing shit up and using camera angles that look down on the actors to show the size of giant robots. Second, is the CGI special effects. There is no doubt the new BUMBLEBEE movie has better CGI special effects than the other films. Computer Generated Images in movies are like cell phones, every day they keep getting better, sharper, and more technologically advanced. If you go back and compare the first TRANSFORMERS movie to this new one you’ll understand what I mean. The problem with this film is not that it is a bad film, that’s not it. I actually enjoyed it. The problem with BUMBLEBEE is that we’ve already seen this movie. It’s called TRANSFORMERS. The first movie of this franchise and this new film are almost carbon copies of each other. Both have the following:
- An outcast kid gets a car for the first time.
- Bumblebee is the car that is discovered by the outcast kid in BOTH movies.
- A military that can’t quite grasp the fact there are good robots and bad robots.
- And the outcast kid’s extremely unfunny parents that have way too many scenes.
I don’t know if they’re trying to reboot this franchise or squeeze just a little bit more money out of it, but either way – it may be time to stop making TRANSFORMERS movies. Or here’s an idea, let’s take the human being element out of it and have a movie that is all about the giant robots fighting because let’s face it, that’s why we’re really going to see it. So in my humble opinion, if you have seen and enjoyed all the previous films, then you should definitely go see BUMBLEBEE in theaters. But if you’re like me and bored with the same old story, then save your money and wait to watch this one at home. Until next time, thanks for reading.
P.S. – There is one post credit scene right away, but nothing at the end of the credits.
P.S.S. – If you want to see a really great giant robot movie that has loads of heart, tons of action, and fantastic special effects, then watch REAL STEEL starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly.