Movie Review: Bumblebee

The film opens on Cybertron, a robotic planet that is playing host to an explosive conflict between good robots, the Autobots — and bad robots, the Decepticons.

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First thing first when you see this movie, you will notice a difference between “Bumblebee” and the previous “Transformers” movies – the Transformers look like the original toys.

Bumblebee is a good prequel to the main Transformers franchise, Bumblebee returns a soul to the franchise that has been lacking one for some time. As a result, Bumblebee is a fantastic viewing experience for Transformers fans young and old. Bumblebee also works as a good entry point to the series. Bumblebee may not necessarily be a reboot of the Transformers franchise, but if it’s an example of what fans can expect from future movies, then Knight’s film in a new and welcome era of the series that promises even greater success for the Robots.

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Just as in the first Transformers film, this version of Bumblebee is unable to speak; it’s Charlie who comes up with the idea of communicating through music. She gives him a tape, which – in a hilarious moment – Bumblebee rejects unceremoniously. The film will presumably use a classic soundtrack to create a period style.

The presence of Sector 7, the secret agency founded by President Hoover in order to monitor alien involvement on Earth. They actually possess both Megatron and the All-Spark, and Transformer technology has been reverse-engineered over the course of the twentieth century to create human machines. Bumblebee will need to tread very carefully here; if the Decepticons realize that human technology is derived from Transformer science, they’ll guess that Megatron, at least, is on Earth. But they shouldn’t really do that until the first Transformers movie, set decades after this.

Optimus Prime is confined to appear in Bumblebee, but it’s likely he’ll just have a cameo. This is just a one-robot show, with a single heroic Autobot striving to protect humanity from the Decepticon menace.

Bumblebee stands alone in the Transformers franchise because it has one thing that none of the previous films have – charm. Hailee Steinfeld is a strong actress and even when given a character like Charlie who really doesn’t have all that much dimensionality, she takes the material and runs well with it. Bumblebee is similarly likeable, and the fact that he has a personality (unlike 99% of the Transformers found in the franchise – yes the Decepticons in Bumblebee included) and a unique “voice” means that the audiences will be rooting for the two to succeed.

When Bumblebee was announced, I had expected more of the same, except what the film turned out to be was a total surprise – not only is it a solidly entertaining action film, it is a very decent coming of age movie as well, actually managing to tug at my heartstrings every now and then. Though it took more than a decade, the Transformers franchise has finally birthed a genuinely good movie, and I believe something more along the lines of what Transformers (cartoon) fans had wanted all along.

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