Bumblebee (2018)

Director: Travis Knight
Writer: Christina Hodson
Part of: the Transformers movies
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Ricardo Hoyos, John Ortiz, Dylan O’Brien, Peter Cullen, Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux
Seen on: 14.1.2019

The war between the Autobots and the Decepticons on Cybertron is starting to look very dire for the Autobots. So Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) sends one of his scouts (Dylan O’Brien) to Earth to find a place where they can regroup. But the scout crashes, gets attacked by the military led by Burns (John Cena) and is finally found by one of the Decepticons who damages his voice box. In a last effort, he hides in the shape of a Beetle and ends up on a junkyard. Many years later Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) finds him, calling him Bumblbee for his yellow color. As she is a gifted mechanic, she gets to work – and can hardly believe her eyes when he transforms into a huge, but obviously traumatized robot. But the Decepticons are still out there and so is Burns, both hoping to find him.

Without having seen all (or even most) of the Transformers movies, I feel confident saying that Bumblebee is probably the best of them. It was entertaining all the way through.

The film poster showing Bumblebee in humanoid form, Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), Agent Burns (John Cena) and Bumblebee in car form surrounded by sparks from an explosion in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Bumblebee is less male wish fulfillment than the other Transformers movies, and less preoccupied with being manly. That gives it space to be actually funny and entertaining, instead of just explosion after explosion with a side dish of tits. It also shares a peculiar trait with Venom in that it is the perfect RomCom without seeming to realize it because one half of the romantic pairing is an alien. But, seriously, they hit all the tropey moments of a romance.

On some level they must have realized because there is Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) who fulfills the role that usually the women in ultramasculine action movies have where all the erotic and romantic tension is between the main dude and his best (male) friend but we can’t have any gayness, so there is also a pretty woman and really, main dude is doing everything for her. Because he isn’t gay. In Bumblebee, Memo is here to make sure that we don’t assume that Charlie and Bumblebee are destined to be together.

Bumblebee in humanoid form patting Charlie's (Hailee Steinfeld) head.

Which is not to say that Jorge Lendeborg Jr. wasn’t great, because he was, absolutely, often risking to eclipse Steinfeld herself, although she was also really good. And John Cena was absolutely funny – rather unexpected in his role.

The final battle went on a bit long for me – I’m just not one for these drawn-out CGI battles, thank you – but given the entertainment that surrounds it, as well as the great soundtrack and score, it was very easy to forgive the film for that.

Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) leaning against Bumblee in car form.

Summarizing: action entertainment as it should be.

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