Movie Review: Bumblebee
A blue-eyed Autobot and a rebellious teen embarking on a memorable journey together, along with The Smiths in the backdrop. What can possibly go wrong? Well, turns out, not a lot.
Sixth in the blockbuster Transformers franchise, the prequel is (thankfully) not yet another movie that offers nothing more than metal-clashing sequences. For the 80s kids, it is packed with nostalgia, bringing back the days from the TV show and the Transformer toys. For the rest of us, it remains heart-warming, nonetheless.
So, should you head to the theaters for Bumblebee, the yellow-coloured Autobot? Well, read on to find out.
Directed by – Travis Knight
Produced by – Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian
Written by – Christina Hodson
Based on – Transformers by Hasbro
Starring – Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon
Music by – Dario Marianelli
Cinematography – Enrique Chediak
Edited by – Paul Rubell
Production company – Allspark Pictures, Tencent Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures
The film opens in Cybertron, the planet of Transformers, and we get to witness a fierce fight between Decepticons and Autobots. The former, classic mustache-bearing villains, are hell-bent on destroying the latter. The Decepticons end up having a heavier hand, prompting the Autobots to scatter around. B-127 ushers off to planet Earth, where he makes a crash landing right in the front of a Special Forces team in California. The team leader, Agent Burns (John Cena) witnesses B-127 and a Decepticon who has followed him, tussle in a violent, destructive fight. Naturally, this makes him form an ill opinion of every Transformer.
The Autobot ends up with a damaged voice box and a distorted memory in the fight, making him retreat to a hideaway. And, how does he hide? Well, transforming into a pleasant, little yellow VW Beetle. Fast forward to a few years later, he is discovered by 18-year old Charlie (Hailee Steinfield), a young teen who is still grieving and struggling over the death of her father.
From this point onwards, begins the journey of Charlie and Bumblebee (as she soon names him), trying to help the latter dodge the two Decepticons who are after him. However, in reality, the story is beautifully shown to be much more than that. It is the tale of two unlikely friends who save each other, yes, but in more ways than one. The Autobot with his quirky little name and his amusing goof-ups makes us all want to protect him, just like Charlie.
Right from the opening sequence, Travis Knight’s direction marks its distinct presence in the movie. The previous five movies, all directed by Michael Bay, though offering a great action, lacked the finesse for many. Bumblebee, however, makes sure you get teleported right back to the good old ’80s, even those of us who have never really lived in the ’80s.
While staying true to the Transformers franchise, the movie manages to keep the beautiful “bot-human” friendship on top. Bumblebee and Charlie, both grief-struck and broken in their own ways, learn how to heal with (and through) each other.
While Bay had a knack for military sequences and quite a bit of action punches, Knight makes sure you instead get a glimpse of the original Transformers.
For many, Bumblebee marks the Transformers’s much-needed journey back on track. Truly enough, the movie does justice to the work of Hasbro. There are some loose edges here and there, but again, nothing is perfect. Hailee Steinfeld steals the show with her beautiful performance, and the rest is captured wonderfully by the central friendship.
Whether or not you like the earlier editions, this one is sure to be a warm delight. We will say Bumblebee, both the Autobot and the movie, certainly deserve one watch. So, go ahead and book your tickets!