Bumblebee (2018)

bumblebee poster 2018 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Best of the live action Transformers movies, gets the spirit of the series right

So-so plot that feels like the other movie plots

Movie Info

Movie Name: Bumblebee

Studio: Allspark Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  December 3, 2018 (Premiere)/December 21, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

bumblebee hailee steinfeld

It is kind of creepy that she treats Bumblebee almost like a pet when he obviously is a seasoned soldier

The Decepticons continue to overrun Cybertron, and the Autobots’ only hope is a retreat.  Assigned by Optimus Prime to establish a base of operations on a planet called Earth, B-127 finds himself under attack and crippled soon after arriving.  With the help of a teen named Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), “Bumblebee” is about to find his voice again…but the Deceptions are coming and Earth’s fate and the Autobots’ war could hang in the balance!

Directed by Travis Knight, Bumblebee is an action-adventure sci-fi fantasy that spins off the popular Transformers movies and serves as a prequel to Transformers (2007).  Following Transformers:  The Last Knight in 2017, the movie was released to positive reviews and a strong box office.

I liked Transformers as a kid…but the movies left me empty.  The first movie (aka the “good” one) wasn’t that good and the films continued to slip and slide in a downward spiral.  I heard about the plans for a Bumblebee solo movie and figured that the Transformers had hit rock bottom, but Bumblebee proved to be the best movie of the franchise.

bumblebee cybertron shockwave soundwave

…and 5 minutes in, this is already better than the other Transformer movies

While it holds the distinction of “best” of the franchise, it honestly didn’t have much to live up to.  Despite this, the movie was fun (though cliché) and developed just as you expected it to.  You get robots fighting, humans trying to understand the robots, and lots and lots of explosions (that genuinely should have killed Hailee Steinfeld’s character at some point during the course of the movie).  It is fun, but it is a popcorn type movie.

What works in the film is that Bumblebee really does develop as his own character.  He is good enough to be believable without having a voice.  Haillee Steinfeld is charming as his “owner” and seems to have the worst family ever (her birthday gifts as an example since they don’t appear to be hurting for cash in their nice San Francisco home).  John Cena is quite generic as the general who wants to stop Bumblebee and the other robots, but he at least make the point I’ve always argued about Transformers…why would you trust a robot called a Decepticon?  Deception is in its name.

bumblebee optimus prime

Come on Bumblebee…we have horrible movies to make

The effects are also in many ways better than previous Transformers.  Since it is set in the ’80s, the Transformers can have their traditional forms, but the limited cast of Transformers allows them also to be more distinguishable from one another which as difficult in previous entries.  Plus, you get a great version of Cybertron which in the first five minutes of the movie makes Bumblebee already better than the other Transformer films.

Bumblebee is no work of art, but it is fun and that is what it needs to be.  It almost made me sad that Bumblebee rides off at the end of the film to join the horrible Transformer franchise that kind of ruined a fun childhood toy.  The movie captures the essence of what made the cartoon fun as a kid (though killing Cliffjumper aka the red version of Bumblebee was cold).  I don’t know where the Transformers movies can go to capitalize on Bumblebee’s success and improvement of the series, but I hope they manage to do it.

Related Links:

Transformers (2007)

Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Transformers:  Dark of the Moon (2011)

Transformers:  Age of Extinction (2014)

The Transformers—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Transformers—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Transformers:  The Movie (1986)

The Transformers Classics—Volume 1

The Transformers Classics—Volume 2

The Transformers Classics—Volume 3

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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