Directed by: Travis Knight
Written by: Christina Hodson
Featuring: Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Ricardo Hoyos, John Ortiz
Optimus Prime is losing the war on Cybertron and he and The Autobots are trying to escape The Decepticons, to facilitate a full escape Optimus Prime has no option but to send a scout, B-127, to a planet called Earth to see if a base of operations can be set up to allow The Autobots to regroup and begin the fight back. Unfortunately The Decepticons have followed B-127 there and are trying to destroy him and The Autobots mission.
I had heard good things about Bumblebee with more than a few critics and viewers saying this was a film that gets the Transformers franchise back on track with something resembling characters and a decent story.
Well for start Michael Bay is not directing it and Hailee Steinfeld is the main actor so that has to be an improvement on paper before the film is even watched?
Unfortunately for me the film was basic Transformers-fare. When we had quieter moments with Hailee Steinfeld featuring we had a teen-angst plot that felt shoe-horned in and fairly generic and when we had John Cena and Transformers we had explody-shouty-headachey action where I could not figure out who was fighting, winning or even why to some extent. Cena seemed like he was written into the story after the final script had been signed off and other than ‘hey it’s John Cena’ I saw no purpose for him being in the story. He’s big and he shouts a lot – I thought the eighties were thirty years ago?
The film is set in the 80s so there is a big Stranger Things bookmark tagged on there and I got a distinct ET vibe with the ‘mysterious alien amongst us that only I know about’ part of the story. In all honesty despite the crashing, exploding and transforming I found great passages of the film boring. Alongside the cinematography being dark and murky meaning I was confused. I was confused by the giant robots often forgetting which was which but it is at this point that I fully realise that Bumblebee was not for me, not intended for me and never will be.
Another strange point for me was the overall tone of the film, it starts of robots lambasting each other, then battling on Earth, one lot is good, the other lot is bad, okay all fairly simple and appealing to kids, then at least two characters are turned into liquid goop, the die presumably a horrible death but on we go, it’s okay. Nah, I’m no prude or ultra-conservative but something did not sit right with me when this happened. Perhaps it was my overall mood whilst watching that coloured this opinion? Maybe so.
Overall it is competently made film with what I expect is the requisite amount of action and humour to keep youngsters and nostalgists going but as for adding something new to the franchise I have to say not really.
Too young to watch afternoon Doctors and too old to watch Transformers films, exploding, round-housing robots do not a happy Film Cricket make.