It shouldn’t come off as a surprise to anyone that Bumblebee (2018) is the best Transformers live-action adaptation to date. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that said task isn’t very hard to break. Ah yes, the joys of the Transformers franchise. A lackluster pile of dogshit that neither reaches it’s already sub-par original material. Who knew that robots transforming into cars and other modes of transportation, could become so boring and lifeless within the course of a few minutes?
I have to admit that I was quite excited for Bumblebee before going in. Hearing that Michael Bay was out of the directing chair, and the one and only Travis Knight, director of Kubo and the Two Strings, was at the helm of production, it was reasonable for me to anticipate this big blockbuster event. Unfortunately, my expectations were muddled, leaving the theater, when it turned out, that Bumblebee was just another sappy blockbuster in a sea of endless mediocrity.
Let’s get this straight. Bumblebee has its moments of charm and kindness. Hailee Steinfeld charismatic performance added loads of depth and character to what could have been a two-dimensional story-line. There were many moments of humor, which worked surprisingly effectively, and didn’t feel forced and cringy. And the visuals, which the previous Transformers films have already perfected to a T at this point, is visually fun and entertaining to watch.
The problem is that the film is mixed in with a barbaric plot line related to Decepticons and “out of this world” wars, that plummets the film’s quality into a pit of nonsensical action, and predictable trash. I would have much preferred that they dumped the whole Transformers thing, and went for a more “Iron Giant Rip Off” direction. Not only would have the film improved drastically, but the overall enjoyment factor of it all, would have increased by a long shot. The important thing about any film, is that you need to keep it simple. Sometimes, the less plot you have, the more it means to the audience.
Bumblebee is fine entertainment. There’s nothing new to be said here. The Transformers franchise needs to end soon regardless. Although Bumblebee is a step in the right direction, with its charming Saturday Morning Cartoon feel, the close attention to its pre-existing lore is what drags the film into a pile of endless redundant nostalgia. I hope Paramount takes note of this, and maybe, just maybe, we can finally have another Transformers film that actually feels authentic and semi-grounded in it’s reality.