Bumblebee (2018): Film Review
Well, people, it's here. The moment that took seven films, spanning eleven whole years, to achieve, is actually here. The fact that it ever happened is still hard to process, because ever since the film series' inception, it felt like a dream too far to ever reach. But, I guess it takes one director switch to achieve what felt like the impossible. That's right - we officially live in an existence with an actually good Transformers movie. No, I'm not kidding; and yes, it really is good. But, after thinking over the film for a few days, I think I have located the reason why BumbleBee, a prequel about everyone's favourite Transformer, is so much better than any of the other six Transformers films. With a simple director switch, the franchise took a lighter (and smarter) feel to it, making the newest Transformers film infinitely better (and more enjoyable) then the previous six. And for that, I am forever grateful. Serving as a prequel, Bumblebee tells the story of how the famous yellow transformer came out to be, and how he first adapted to life on Earth. Upon crash landing on the planet, he takes refuge until he meets Charlie, an angsty moody teenager who misses her dad, and is done with the rest of her family. As their friendship grows stronger, the two learn about each other, and are forced to fight the evil that plagues them both; physically and mentally. All of this, paired with a lot of hardcore action and great humor, breathe new life into a franchise that many thought was dead. But, if they stay on this track, and keeping making films with the heart and happiness so prevalent in Bumblebee, then I hope that this franchise stays strong. Now by saying this, if they choose to revert back to the original ways of the other Transformers movies (sloppy dialogue and action, racist and sexist tones throughout, etc.), then they should stop right now. The series has set itself on the right road, the direction they choose from here is all up to them (let's hope they choose the right one, though!). Travis Knight has saved the franchise, I can't complicate things here. By using his skilled direction, and heavy knowledge of film, he has created something that is more than just a silly movie about robotic cars fighting each other. Just like the fabulous Spider Man: Homecoming that revived the hero in 2017, Bumblebee takes a similar approach in the fact that: it's not just an action movie anymore. It is also a film about high school, and a young girl's journey to find herself in the world that she lives in. Putting that aside, the action scenes are fantastic, keeping you right on the edge of your seat from start to finish. All of the actors fit perfectly into their characters, with a near-perfect performance by Hailee Steinfeld herself; which proves she knows how to play the teenager (she plays the same exact character in 2016's sensational The Edge of Seventeen) girl all too well. The film connects itself to the themes of the original series in a well done way, while also eliminating almost all the auto-bots from actually having any sort of appearance in the film, which is good; because the main focus of the film deserves to be the robot who the very film is named after. But, also by doing this, the film becomes so much less bloated and stuffed, giving it a refreshed and lighter look, which ultimately makes the film even better. Perhaps the best part of the film is this: Bumblebee knows that it isn't going to change the world, or win an Oscar. For some odd reason that I can't fully explain, I honestly don't think that the first six films knew that fact. But, Bumblebee knows the exact reason it's here - to make young kids feel young, and adults to feel like they were kids again. It's so incredibly cheesy, and at multiple points in the film, I got second hand embarrassment for the actors playing their roles; but all of that aside, the film is simply fun. Thinking about it, this is honestly the first time that I have watched a Transformers film, and enjoyed it at the same time. Hats off to Travis Knight, hats off to the cast, and hats off to the Paramount executive that decided that maybe Transformers shouldn't have Michael Bay behind the director's chair. If they keep making Transformers movies like Bumblebee, then the series has a bright future in store. I end it at the fact that: for the first time in my life, I am actually looking forward to the next Transformers movie. And that's pretty damn amazing.