Director: Travis Knight
Bumblebee was a great watch, and it makes me very happy to see the Transformers back in action.
Well, only a year after the last transformers was released, we get a reboot of sorts in the form of Bumblebee. While it wasn’t confirmed until closer to the release of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Bumblebee begins a new era for the Transformers. This truly is an introduction film, and it opens the door for quite a few films to follow.
Bumblebee is a really good movie, but it’s quite different from most of the previous Transformer films. Unlike most, the action is not the centrepiece. Bumblebee focus more on building characters and a slight story before throwing a bunch of action into the mix. We get multiple fleshed out characters, as well as some really cool action scenes, plus some heartfelt moments.
Whether you are seeing Transformers: Rise of the Beasts or not, Bumblebee is worth watching. Bumblebee is one of the best transformers movies yet, and it revolves around one of the best transformers. I really enjoyed this movie, and I think you will too!
Who Stars in Bumblebee?
Bumblebee has a fairly small cast, consisting of 4 main characters, plus Bee. Hailee Steinfeld is the lead of Bumblebee, playing Charlie. Charlie is strong-willed, caring, and very skilled with cars. She recently lost her father, and that loss has a large impact on the way she lives her life. Cars were their thing, and she is trying to finish the project corvette they were working on. Memo comes into the scene a little bit later in the movie, but still plays an important role. He’s seen as a social outcast, a nerd per-say, but he ends up being much more than that. He spends the first part of the movie trying to get Charlie’s attention, but once he accidentally discovers Bumblebee, we start to see the actual Memo.
I thought Jorge Lendeborg Jr did a good job of Memo, but the role is limited. He’s an important supporting character, not quite a protagonist in this movie. Memo ends up being a pretty reliable dude who grows on Charlie more than she anticipated. John Cena also finds himself in this movie, in an even more limited role than Memo was. Agent Burns, Cena’s character, is involved in nearly every action scene, but literally nothing else. He’s very one-dimensional, and while we get some ‘growth’ near the end, it’s slim.
Jason Drucker plays a small role in Bumblebee as Otis, Charlie’s younger brother. He’s a young kid and his character reflects this. It takes a while for Otis to become involved in the plot, but he does experience some development in a hurry that ends up being really important to the plot. It’s not super deep or complex growth, but it’s there and changes the makeup of the character.
In case you can’t already tell, this is Hailee Steinfeld’s movie. She’s the lead, the main protagonist, and the only character with any depth. We focus on her character a lot, and a good portion of the movie is spent building Charlie and fleshing out her character to create moments later in the movie that actually mater. Big, emotional moments don’t work anywhere near as well if the audience doesn’t care about the character they happen to, a detail Bumblebee got right.
Like I previously mentioned, Bumblebee focuses a lot on our characters and the plot. I don’t feel Bumblebee did a great job of world building for those that have no background with transformers and could be coming to the franchise for the first time. The plot was really good, I liked the pacing, but if this is meant to be the first step in a long journey, I didn’t love the setup.
The plot of Bumblebee is pretty simple, and it focuses a lot more on Charlie and her life than it does on the Autobots or anything of that sort. Bumblebee gets involved in Charlie’s life, and then Charlie’s life becomes mixed up in the mess that finds Bumblebee. It truly is a two act movie, and I really liked the differences in each.
We get to see some really solid character development and plot setup that pays off in bunches later in the movie. It’s a different vibe than every previous transformers iteration, but I enjoyed it. We follow that up with a more military vibe for the final portion. It’s a pretty stark contrast from start to finish, but the two parts meshed together nicely.
Although there aren’t as many action scenes, the visuals are still really, really cool, and there are a couple of great fight sequences. Cybertron, in the 10 seconds we saw, looks really cool, and the fight on Earth that followed was great.
The fights that occur later in the movie are also awesome, showcasing the size and power of the Transformers. Bumblebee lacks a large scale battle, as there’s only one Autobot, but I thought the way we got to focus more on a smaller scale story, and thus smaller scale battles worked well for this movie. There’s not a million things going on, and it’s simple to follow.
The visuals that brought Bumblebee to life were really well done and super cool. The first time we see Bee changed from that Volkswagen Beetle into robot mode, the camera pans upwards through his body as it changes and moves. The shot is really cool, and it shows a high level of attention to detail. I love the little details like that in this movie.
Not all of the visual effects were perfect though. If you’ve seen this movie, you know which scene I’m referring to. The jump scene. Tripp jumps off a cliff and into the ocean. The stunt looks so weird and much shorter than it actually would have been. The camera angle and the depth perception are weird, and it just looks bad. It’s a pretty meaningless scene as well, so I’m not sure why it make the final cut.
Bumblebee was a great watch, and it makes me very happy to see the Transformers back in action. It’s significantly less of an action movie than previous Transformers movies, which is a breath of fresh air before jumping back into Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Getting to see Bee’s origin story in full detail, while trying to reboot the Transformers movies made for a really good movie, and one I would recommend you check out right away.