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‘Bumblebee’ review: Well-made take to an overwhelming franchise

Bumblebee is more a reboot of the franchise with a good mix of character development and emotions, as well as some good action and humor.

Bumblebee starts during a civil war on Cybertron, where Autobot resistance leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) sends his young lieutenant, Bumblebee (Dylan O’Brien), on a mission to Earth to establish a base, protect the planet’s inhabitants, and await their allies. But Bumblebee is followed by two Decepticons, who wound him and destroy his voice box. On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee seeks refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), on the brink of turning 18 years old and trying to find her place in the world, soon discovers the battle-scarred and broken Bumblebee. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns that this is no ordinary yellow Volkswagen. As Charlie befriends and introduces him to her neighbor, Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), two Decepticons enforcers land on Earth. Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Dropkick (Justin Theroux) convince government agents, Agent Burns (John Cena) and Dr. Powell (John Ortiz), to collaborate in order to find the “dangerous” Bumblebee.

The plot is more about the relationship and journey of Charlie and how she develops as an individual and moves on from her issues about her family through the help of Bumblebee. Their relationship displays a friendship so touching and heart-warming that it will leave one feeling good all over again. This works in large part because of the depth of Steinfeld’s performance. We haven’t seen such a well-realized character like Charlie in any of the previous Transformers films.

Director Travis Knight helms a wonderful film that reflects refreshing take on a Transformers story. There is so much to love about this that one can say it’s even better than the past franchise. This film doesn’t feel completely chaotic and fast-paced. The humor is perfectly balanced that there’s never a corny moment. Plus, it is a family-appropriate film devoid of jokes with sexual references. It’s a complete reboot: a revolution in the Transformer cinematic world. It’s much more sensitive and softer this time around. A dream-come-true for original fans and a fresh new start for young fans.

Bumblebee is the film we’ve finally been looking for in the Transformers franchise. It is accurate, and a great representation of what a classic Transformers movie should be. The film has a good plot, a great soundtrack, and impressive visual effects. The action sequences are absolutely outstanding, wonderfully choreographed and not just a bunch of metal-against-metal crashing. The sequence of scenes is much more refined and easier to follow. The cast performance is appealing and the throwback to 1980’s pop culture—especially the classic cars and music—appear to be very sentimental. When the film wants to be heartwarming or serious. this one handles it correctly. Such a redemption for a bloating franchise in the process.

Bumblebee is indeed charming and well made with a heart. It sets on a promising new path, inevitably with future installments (like multiple prequels and spin-offs). Definitely a must-watch for solid Transformers fans!


5 out of 5 stars

Directed by Travis Knight. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Dylan O’Brien, Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux, and Peter Cullen. Runtime: 114 minutes

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