Finally, a Transformers film that I wanted to rewatch for myself, and to show to my sons. With Bumblebee, out of the heavy-handed, robot-smacking control of Michael Bay [seriously, Bad Boys, The Rock, etc. are awesome, but his Transformers films not so much], Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) takes our favorite yellow robot and makes him… amazing.
While the TV shows have always focused on the collaborative integration of the robots and the humans who loved them, the earlier Transformers films seem devoid of humanity … from the robots. With Knight directing from a script by up-and-coming screenwriter Christina Hodson, the characters seem genuinely engaging in the midst of a world completely articulated as a representation of 1987.
Hailee Steinfeld is the human teenager Charlie who befriends the Volkswagon Bug/Bumblebee. She’s rebellious and grief-ridden at the loss of her father; she can’t do things she once loved like diving because of the pain she’s experienced. Seemingly, everyone else has moved on, to explore better things, and Charlie can’t understand why she feels that way when no one else does.
While Jack Burns (John Cena) is the military muscle coming after Bumblebee after he crash lands on Earth, the real baddies are Shatter and Dropkick (Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux), the two Decepticons sent out to destroy Bumblebee. Thankfully, Charlie and Bumblebee aren’t alone – they still have Charlie’s neighbor Memo (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.), a smart young man infatuated with Charlie. Together, the trio of young heroes will stand against evil – even if the people they stand for don’t understand them.
Nostalgic, funny, romantic, and adventurous, Bumblebee proves to be the kind of film that Transformers fans needed. It’s the one to restore the hope in the spirit of these good, brave robots that we loved as kids – and now our kids will love, too. Bumblebee is heroic, pure of heart, and a true friend. He’s a hero, and kids will end up wanting to be just like him.
Special features include over an hour of bonus content, including deleted scenes and outtakes. But it also includes an animated motion comic, “Bumblebee’s Next Adventure,” and a hard copy comic book, “Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome.” Autobots, rejoice!