Kedan is a seasoned movie buff and pop culture fanatic. He loves the escape of the cinema.
Bumblebee gives fans and critics a captivating story, stellar performances and signature special effects
If I am being honest, when I heard about another installment in the already established franchise, I was skeptical. More transformers, more bullets and more male protagonists to save the world. Bumblebee avoided the classic Transformers cliched recipe and decided to strip the movie down back to basics. A girl, a car and a villain. With just that, it has transformed our hearts, so to speak. I give you a look into this December's blockbuster with heart.
Storyline and Series Placement
After five commercially successful movies, what would be the next move? Easy, go back to the beginning. Bumblebee finds its story as a prequel to the already established franchise and full disclosure, it is a breath of fresh air. Fair enough, Michael Bay (director and producer) found a box-office recipe with the franchise, but each movie always left the critics asking for more. With Bay serving as producer, and under a new director, Travis Knight, Bumblebee found box office success with the much sought after critical praise. The movie scored a 94% "Fresh Rating" on the popular review site, Rotten Tomatoes. This makes it the only movie in the franchise to receive that type of rating.
The benefit that Bumblebee had was that audiences already knew the Transformers storyline. A war between the Autobots (Heroes) and Decepticons (Villains) and how the planet Earth was in danger from the war reaching it. With this in mind, the story is told from the point of view of the namesake character, Bumblebee, and his role in preventing the attack before it reaches Earth. He is tasked with establishing a base on Earth against the Decepticons, fending off the misunderstood army and finding his lost memory with the aid of a girl. I promised no spoilers, so that will be all for now. The movie tells a classic underdog story of two outcasts finding a way against all odds, one being a robot of course.
A heroine to anchor a movie about cars and robots?
The casting of Hailee Steinfeld as the lead character, Charlie Watson, was the saving grace for the movie and franchise. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Shia LaBeouf and Mark Wahlberg and their contribution to the franchise and success, but it was time for a change. Not to say that there were no actresses in the previous movies, with the likes of Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley being cast. The casting was more ancillary to the protagonist and served more of the "eye-candy" role. I mean no offence here at all, just calling it like I see it. (Whew!)
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Here for the first time, we had a female lead who was right in the heart of the action among the flying bullets and laser beams and successfully, holding her own. Critics have praised Steinfeld's performance and her ability to create characters that are relatable and believable, even if this means befriending a robot to save the planet. For a moment, I had to remind myself, Bumblebee wasn't actually real and she was acting with a prop. No wonder she is an Oscar nominated actress. Side note, catch her in the latest Spiderman movie, Spider-Man:Into the Spider-Verse, out now with Bumblebee. Talk about having a good year?
Steinfeld as Charlie Watson
Critical response and future
The ensemble cast and director of the movie have been praised for taking a one-dimensional franchise aimed at a single target audience and "transforming" it into a movie for all ages with heart and a relatable story. Not to worry, the signature Transformers cars and action sequences are all still included too!
The future of the franchise is certain with enough material to work with. Bumblebee is set nearly 20 years before the first Transformers instalment and therefore, a lot can be done in-between or built on after the events of the last instalment, but lets focus on the present and by "present", I mean the gift that is Bumblebee.
Look, I won't waste your time my valued reader. This movie is amazing and watching it should be the first thing you do after reading this article of course. Keep a look-out for some cameo appearances and references to earlier movies for all those dedicated fans. As for me, I am off to the junk yard to see if I can find an old VW Beetle and hope for the best when I turn the radio on!
© 2018 Kedan Pentia