Bumblebee review by Bobby Blakey
When director Michael Bay brought the famed Transformers property to the big-screen in live action form it was met with mixed results. Now they are branching things out a bit with the prequel film Bumblebee starring Hailee Steinfeld, Pamela Adlon, Kenneth Choi, John Ortiz and John Cena with director Travis Knight taking the helm for the first non-Bay directed entry. Could this be the Transformers film fans have been waiting for or will it fail to be more than meets the eye?
Bumblebee follows Charlie, in 1987 on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world who discovers Bumblebee who had found refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town while on the run. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug. Right out of the gate it reminds you that this is a new direction for this new film featuring designs from the G1 original animated series for all the Transformers. I was concerned that the stuff we see in the trailers was going to be all we got of the varying other autobots and decepticons, but thankfully it is not. Sure there isn’t a big expansion as of yet but it has just enough stuff with them and Cybertron to keep the hardcore fans smiling from ear to ear.
The story side here actually slows thing down a bit for the first time in the franchise and allows the characters to build. At first I felt it was a bit klunky and slow, but then realized it was purposeful and giving us a chance to get more out of Transformer story than just nonstop explosions. Have no fear there is plenty of big action here to keep fans happy, but there is even more character moments. Steinfeld does a great job and you can really feel here connection with Bumblebee. It’s fun to watch their relationship grow and develop into something deeper. Cena does a fine job, but isn’t given much to do other than just be the generic soldier type. When he does get to step out of that persona or given some more relaxed lines he is great.
The visuals are great and it is clear by Bumblebee got his own movie. He has some much personality even without a voice in the previous films, but here I think he is even more fun to watch. His design is spot on especially in battle mode and of course seeing him as a Volkswagon bug is perfection. There are plenty of nods and connections to the other films as well as G1 version of the Transformers to keep the universe intact but they end it in a way where we can easily spend more time with these versions to make the fans even more excited. This might be the best entry into the franchise and one I had a blast with.
In addition to the film this latest entry into the Transformers franchise features bonus content including deleted & extended scenes, outtakes, featurettes and more. Get a peek at more than meets the eye with Bumblebee available now on Digital and then on 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD on April 2nd from Paramount Home Entertainment. In great fun you can check out the awesome VHS release trailer that Paramount released today that sadly is only for promotion, but one that no doubt fans could get behind.