A spin-off and the sixth installment of the Transformers movie franchise first released in 2007, Bumblebee is a refreshing take on a film series that has been largely stale and bloated the past few years. The popular franchise has been brought back to life as a result of its much better acting talent and nostalgic quality. Set in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s taking place decades before the other Transformers movies, the much more personal story follows the teenage girl Charlie Watson, played by Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld, who feels like an outcast in her community and family after her father died years ago and her mom is now remarried. Eventually, she discovers an alien form that recently crash landed on Earth from the planet Cybertron where a civil war is raging between the Optimus Prime-led Autobot resistance and the malevolent Decepticons. With the ability to transform into any vehicle or heavy machinery, the alien robot takes the form of a 1967 yellow Volkswagen Beetle, which Charlie gets from a local junk yard . To her shock and amazement while working on it, her beloved VW magically transforms into a large robotic-like creature that turns out to be rather innocent with its loss of memory. Charlie eventually becomes friends with what she affectionately names Bumblebee, and she becomes an unwitting defender of Bumblebee from the Decepticons and a secret United States agency known as Sector 7 run by the tough Colonel Jack Burns, played by pro wrestler and actor John Cena. The government is tricked by the Decepticons to pursue Bumblebee after being told that the Autobots pose grave danger to Earth. With the help of her teenage boy neighbor who also happens to have a crush on her, Charlie tries to persuade the government forces that Bumblebee is not a threat and is in fact her very close friend. What sets the movie apart from the other action-filled Transformers movies is that it is not an over-the-top and laughably cheesy Hollywood popcorn flick designed as mindless entertainment. Surprisingly, the script is well-written and has several moments of heartfelt charm and clever nostalgic references to the 1980s. Steinfeld’s endearing performance goes a long way in crafting an entertaining film based on a line of toys first made in the 1980s and makes it feel like it is more than just a CGI-heavy movie designed to make lots of money. Overall, I was pleasantly shocked to discover that a good Transformers film is entirely possible and actually makes me look forward to the likely sequels if they are helmed by the same creative team and actors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s