BUMBLEBEE

★★★★½

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider
Directed by Travis Knight
2018 / 114 Minutes / Paramount Pictures

Bumblebee in BUMBLEBEE, from Paramount Pictures.

To be honest I’ve only watched one Transformers movie and that was the first original live action one. That was enough for me to know that this wasn’t a franchise I wanted to continue to watch. It was disappointing because the animated show was such a great Saturday morning cartoon back in the 80’s. Unfortunately, giving Michael Bay the reigns for way too long is what made this franchise completely unwatchable. So going in to Bumblebee I was at least excited that we had someone new taking over in the Director’s seat. What we have now is the perfect example of what a Transformers movie should have always been! Bumblebee is an absolute treat to watch!

Bumblebee, which is more of a prequel to the other films (although I will choose to ignore that any of those exists) finds refuge in a small Californian beach town in 1987. A young girl (Steinfeld), in search of herself and a car to fix up discovers Bumblebee in a junkyard. And so the fun begins!

What makes Bumblebee such a hoot is the blast into the 80’s that it takes us on. The music, the style… this is the time period we knew Transformers from, so it works perfectly. It also doesn’t rely solely on constant in your face, motion sickness inducing action. There is just enough action that it doesn’t take over the entire story. It’s your typical kid meets alien/robot story that we’ve seen a lot of, but it’s a story that never gets old when it’s told right. The movie doesn’t shy away from the humour and ridiculousness of robots transforming into cars. It also makes fun of the 80’s, but we laugh at it because for those of us that were there we still remember all the great little simple things we had. It’s a perfect nostalgic movie for anyone that grew up in the 80’s. I don’t know if this is what everyone wanted from their Transformers experience, but found it enjoyable and got completely lost in it.

Left to right: Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie and Bumblebee in BUMBLEBEE, from Paramount Pictures.

Hailee Steinfeld is always great and it’s refreshing to see a female in the lead of a predominantly male action movie franchise. She’s a great character and works well. I was worried when I heard she was going to be in a Transformers movie.  I thought she was better than this, but she brings the franchise up a huge notch. She’s a talented actress in everything she’s in.

Bumblebee was an absolute surprise for me! I never expected to enjoy it this much to the point where I think it is one of the most fun action films of 2018. It’s proof that if you put more of your focus on storytelling and less on constant in your face action and visual effects you can achieve a pretty watchable, entertaining and exciting film that deserves to be called hands down the best Transformers movie!

Grade A-

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