Director: Travis Knight | Runtime: 1h 58mins | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In 1987, the Autobots youngest soldier Bumblebee, seeks refuge on Earth from the Decepticons. While lying low, he’s discovered by Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), a grief stricken teenager living in California.
The Transformers franchise has become synonymous with action orgies and over the top set pieces that seem to compensate for a lack of story and characters, luckily for Bumblebee there seems to be an element of progression for the franchise. The humour and dynamic between Bumblebee and Charlie is sweet, the 80’s nostalgia isn’t over indulged, and Hailee Steinfeld brings life and character to a cold and robotic franchise.
Bumblebee still isn’t perfect, in fact it’s far from it. The beginning feels rushed, a galactic battle that doesn’t hold any meaning, a mere distraction while Optimus Prime uses exposition to nudge the film and it’s protagonist towards it’s desired place, Earth. Once on Earth though, the film picks up in quality and really begins to have fun with it’s Cali setting, back and forth humour and great soundtrack. But even in the most human Transformer’s film, with Charlie having the first real arc in the franchise, they still manage to give it an on the nose ending. As former diver Charlie has to dive into choppy and debris filled waters to help Bumblebee, it can’t help feeling predictable.
This is not the Transformers film we’ve been waiting for (if we have been waiting for one), but enjoy a film that rides the 80’s nostalgia wave and takes a huge step in the right direction for the franchise.