Title – Bumblebee (2018)
Director – Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings)
Cast – Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Kenneth Choi (voices of) Dylan O’Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett, Peter Cullen
Plot – On the run in the late 80’s, Transformer Bumblebee (O’Brien) befriends teenage girl Charlie Watson (Steinfeld), as the two help each other find their place in the world.
“The darkest nights, produce the brightest stars”
Review by Eddie on 21/12/2018
Put your hand up if you thought Bumblebee was going to be one of the year’s worst and most unnecessary films.
I know I for one held very little hope for this new take on the Transformers universe, focussing on everyone’s favourite yellow robot in disguise, but low and behold Bumblebee ends up being a fun-filled family oriented blockbuster ride, that is perfectly entertaining for new or old fans alike.
With more in common with Iron Giant than Michael Bay’s previous carnage filled Transformers movies (some of which are unduly ridiculed for something they’re not trying to be), first time live action director Travis Knight instils his 80’s infused friendship tale of lonely 18 year old Charlie Watson and her newly discovered robot friend/VW beetle, with a sense of fun and playfulness that rollicks along at a fast pace as it ticks off all the narrative beats you would expect from such a story.
This is arguably the biggest problem with Knight’s film, it plays everything so straight down the line that there’s very little to be surprised or excited about story wise, with everything playing out exactly as you would expect it to do.
Bumblebee isn’t the type of Hollywood event film that you expect to mess with the playbook, but there’s carefully little visual pizazz or filmmaking inventiveness on display here and for all his flaws as a filmmaker, this is where Bay found himself shining at stages with his Transformer’s films, with most entries displaying at least a few key sequences that showed off his ability to do spectacle.
The robot v robot action here feels rather so-so in comparison, no set-piece here doing anything of note to make you remember it once the credits start to roll.
Where Knight and his film excel against Bay’s explosion heavy counterparts is in the heart department, with Hailee Steinfeld and her friendship with the Dylan O’Brien voiced Bumblebee giving the film a solid rock to jump off.
It was always hard to care much for any characters in the previous Transformer film entries but here Knight and his team have made a no doubt rather generic angry/lost teenager story into something immediately likeable, making Bumblebee feel more human and relatable than any Transformers film yet, all the while keeping things nice and simple, meaning younger audiences are going to lap this film up just as much as long-term fans, with the expectation being you can expect to see a lot more Bumblebee merchandise in X-mas stockings around the world.
Final Say –
It never threatens to break new ground and plays things a little to safe but Bumblebee is still a fun and well-made blockbuster that alongside its killer 80’s soundtrack and a sense of playfulness, makes it the best Transformers film since the original.
3 boxes of Mr. T cereal out of 5