D: Travis Knight
Paramount/Allspark/Tencent (Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Bay, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy & Mark Vahradian)
USA 🇺🇸 2018
W: Christina Hodson [based on Transformers characters created by Hasbro]
DP: Enrique Chediak
Ed: Paul Rubell
Mus: Dario Marianelli
Hailee Steinfeld (Charlie Watson), John Cena (Jack Burns), Jorge Lendeborg, Jr. (Memo), Pamela Adlon (Sally Watson), Dylan O'Brien (voice of Bumblebee), Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime)
I'm going to start this review by saying that this is the Transformers movie we should have had 11 years earlier, instead of the Michael Bay action smut which just got sillier and sillier with each movie.
Though Bumblebee has a good action quotient, it does have a very endearing and relatable story at its centre, as well as a nostalgic callback to 1987, when the Transformers toys and merchandise were at the peak of their popularity.
Hailee Steinfeld plays the lead character, a misfit teenager viewed as sulky by her mother and stepdad following the loss of her biological father. On her 18th birthday, she acquires a beaten up Volkswagen Beetle which she fixes up, only to bring to life the title character, a survivor from a robotic war on the planet Cybertron, sent to Earth by his leader Optimus Prime as a scout. The bad guys (Decepticons) also make their way to Earth to find Bumblebee in the hope that they will also find Optimus Prime, leading onto some firecracker action set pieces which, for once in a Transformers movie, can be viewed without wondering what the actual hell is going on.
The plot is practically a mix between E.T. & Real Steel, but without Michael Bay's seedy sexualisation of the material, it has a childlike wonder which the other movies lacked, as well as a rather human relationship between Charlie and her robotic companion.
I understand that there are people who like Bay's Transformers movies, but I will never understand why... as a child I grew up as a fan of the toys, television serial and the 1986 movie and this is the movie I was anticipating back in 2007. With any luck, this instalment will retcon all them movies - this is a real Transformers movie.