Bumblebee is directed by Travis Knight. It is a prequel to the live-action Transformers movies and it’s set in the late eighties. Charlie is in desperate search for a car and when she meets Bumblebee she realizes she’s in for one big of a ride as she must help Bumblebee save Earth from the Decepticons. The movie stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena and Jorge Lendeborg Jr..
I haven’t seen any live-action Transformers movies, there is so much disappointment surrounding that franchise, I didn’t even bother to try. However the trailer for this movie looked promising and with that high Rotten Tomatoes score, I was intrigued. Having seen it now, I can understand why it’s praised but if I’m being honest, it is a bit over-hyped critically. Ironically because the critics love it, it’s easily the underdog of the holiday movie season.
I have to say, Bumblebee really started strong with the opening scene on Cybertron. It was everything I never thought I would want from a Transformers movie. It was exciting, weirdly nostalgic, I say weirdly because I didn’t grow up with the animated show from the eighties and visually it’s one of the best looking scenes of the whole year. I saw this movie in 3D and even for that opening scene alone, I would recommend seeing it in 3D. Also how on Earth did no one think to bring these versions of the Transformers into live-action before. They look so much better than Bay’s versions.
Bumblebee not only takes place in the eighties but it very much feels like a movie from the decade. From the pacing to the slow build-up to the third act. Even the antagonists feel like they came straight from an eighties and I don’t mean that in a good way. Even though as a whole, the movie is pretty cliched, the ending is actually quite original. It doesn’t really check every box on the eighties movie rope list. I walked out of the cinema pretty satisfied and to be honest, I wouldn’t mind a sequel.
John Cena is John Cena. He is fine but either it’s his character or how he delivers his lines but something about him as an actor which just doesn’t work. His role in the third act is eye-rollingly cliched. Speaking of the third act, it never ends. Sure the action is entertaining but sometimes you get tired and you can’t wait for a movie and this movie just doesn’t want to.
That being said, the performances by Steinfeld and Lendeborg Jr. are great. Especially Steinfeld who brings a vulnerable and strong teenage character to life. She proves that she can carry a huge blockbuster like this. However her best scenes are the ones with Bumblebee. They are easily the best part of the movie. Their touching friendship brings the warmth and humor this movie needed and it delivered. Steinfeld also handles the emotional scenes really well, extremely well considering she’s talking to a CGI character. Lendeborg Jr. is even more charming this time than he was in Love, Simon earlier last year.
Overall Bumblebee is a great time at the cinema. Children will go crazy for this movie, adult fans of the franchise will definitely find something to enjoy in this nostalgic, action-packed entry. Hailee Steinfeld is more than capable of leading a huge blockbuster like this. Her moments with Bumblebee act as the heart of the movie and they deliver on every aspect. Even though it’s cliched and a bit boring at times, by the end you’ll be pretty satisfied.