Bumblebee Film Review: More Than Meets The Eye

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
December 9th, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Bumblebee

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On December 9, 2018
Last modified:December 9, 2018

Summary:

Bumblebee is without question the best Transformers movie yet, as it brings proceedings back to franchise roots while paying respect to the original G1 animated series.

Review of: Bumblebee

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On December 9, 2018
Last modified:December 9, 2018

Summary:

Bumblebee is without question the best Transformers movie yet, as it brings proceedings back to franchise roots while paying respect to the original G1 animated series.

Can a yellow robot and humankind become friends? Bumblebee answers that exact question but does it work? ComiConverse reviews Bumblebee

Paramount Pictures

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee the Autobot seeks refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. Charlie, on the brink of turning 18 years old and trying to find her place in the world, soon discovers the battle-scarred and broken Bumblebee. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns that this is no ordinary yellow Volkswagen.

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Paramount Pictures

Transformers hasn’t had the best track record in live-action with Micheal Bay’s bombastic approach failing to hit emotional cores, and most importantly not able to make each robot feel alive. Instead fans were given five lacklustre films that forgot what made the original 80s cartoons so special to kids around the world. I have a strange relationship with the franchise with Transformers (2007) sitting comfortably in my guilty pleasure list, as it’s theme of building an unlikely bond with a alien robots mixed with sci-fi tropes blew me away in the cinema. Sadly, since the film has been released it’s been downhill for Paramount Pictures robot franchise with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) both failing to garner any good critical response.

Despite these movies not getting critical acclaim, Micheal Bay’s Transformers has garnered a mind-blowing $4.38 billion at the global worldwide box office, making it amongst some of Hollywood’s most lucrative film series in years (not including an insanely huge toy line). But all this success has come at  acost, with the Transformers themselves, not given much character development instead are sidelined for pointless generic human army men and inventors, failing to meet expectations to hardcore fans of 1980s Animated TV Show. 

But, what happened next surprised fans of the Transforming robots from planet Cybertron. An live-action Transformers reboot was put into production by Paramount Pictures, which is meant to bring the franchise to its core roots and paying respect to G1 designs. The film titled “Bumblebee” is focused on fan favourite yellow autobot that crash lands in 1980s Los Angeles and forms a unlikely bond with teenager Charlie (Haliee Steinfeld). After five overblown and messy instalments, can Travis Knight’s Bumblebee (2018) deliver the goods? And bring in a be new generations of Transformers fans to the table? All these questions are answered in our ComiConverse review on Bumblebee (2018). 

Paramount Pictures

In Transformers tradition Bumblebee (2018) focuses on runaway Autobot who finds refuge in a small Californian junkyard, becoming the famous yellow beetle in process. Charlie (Haliee Steinfeld) on the cusp of turning eighteen and trying to find place in the big world, discovers Bumblebee (Dylan o’Brien), battle-scarred and broken from his home world. But... obviously when Charlie revives him, she quickly realises, that Bumblebee is more than meets the eye. Director, Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) manages to bring life back into the Transformers franchise while telling a story about unlikely bonds and low stakes - making each character have actual development throughout the two hour adventure. Paying respect to the 1980s filmmakers (Steven Spielberg) with tons of references to popular culture and Transformers cartoon lore. Making for a pulse pounding ride with action that is easy to follow, understandable and relatable characters who do not make you want tear someone’s eyes out. 

Bumblebee (2018) is a great movie at the core that takes everything back to its roots while telling great stories in the process, gone are the confusing plot mechanics seen before instead we are given a straightforward adventure. Writer, Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) excels in bringing homeworld emotional core to the proceedings with Bumblebee and Charlie’s friendship O'Brien driving force. Bumblebee (2018) pays tribute to Transformers lore, making long-term and new fans of the robots from Cybertron happy in the process. A complete turn around when compared to Micheal Bay’s terrible portrayal of these iconic robots. 

Talented upcoming actress Haliee Steinfeld (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) plays the movies lead Charlie, a young woman lost within herself that forms an unlikely friendship with an alien robot called Bumblebee. Steinfeld continues to excel in another role, bringing in an emotional presence to the table which should strike core with audiences. There are problems however which all stem from some awkward comedic moments as Hailee Steinfeld doesn’t sell each joke well enough. Despite those scenes, Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) has tons of character which should be developed in future sequels. Steinfeld gives another warming performance, which alone is the best element of Bumblebee (2018).

Story continues below

Surprise cast member Dylan O'Brien (Maze Runner) plays Autobot Bumblebee, a yellow alien robot sent from planet Cybertron to protect earth from impending dangers that form an unlikely bond with humankind. O'Brien (Maze Runner) does a brilliant job in the role, despite not having much vocal screentime within the two-hour adventure. The connection between Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) and Bumblebee is the main focus, as Travis Knight (Kubo and the two Strings) develops their bond so well on screen. I absoutely adored these scenes as the felt like homage to classic 1980's family adventures, most importanly taking a leaf from E.T the Extra Trestrials (1982) book. 

WWE superstar John Cena (The Marine) plays the films human antagonist Jack Burns, an agent of government agency known as Sector 7 that hunts down alien objects, currently searching for the yellow Transformer. Cena’s (The Marine) transition into Hollywood actually works as the upcoming actor delivers a needed dose of charm and glee into Bumblebee (2018), despite playing a very generic government dude. Jack Burns might not have great writing, but John Cena’s (The Marine) delivery alone makes the role worth it in the end. A total upgrade from the misfire casting of Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: The Last Knight) in prior movies. 

Verdict

Bumblebee (2018) is without question the best Transformers movie yet, as it brings proceedings back to franchise roots while paying respect to the original G1 animated series. Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) roots in stop-animation shine through with great action and an emotional core. It understands what made the Transformers so enduring for children growing up, with alien robots being at the forefront instead of generic human characters.

Micheal Bay might have ruined Transformers in pop culture, Bumblebee (2018) brings it back into the big leagues of Hollywood film making. Autobots have never rolled out so good in theatres! And I’m looking forward to future adventures with the yellow beetle. 

What did you think about the movie? Plan on checking it out next week? Let us know below.

Bumblebee
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Bumblebee is without question the best Transformers movie yet, as it brings proceedings back to franchise roots while paying respect to the original G1 animated series.

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