This may be the first live action Transformers I have enjoyed since the original animated movie back in the day (and there’s a nice musical nod to it). And without Micheal Bay directing, Travis Knight is in the chair here, you can actually see what is happening the action sequences.
So it is with great delight that I watched Bumblebee, a bit of a Transformers prequel as it’s set in 1987 (which means awesome soundtrack), and sees the young Autobot arriving on Earth. There, he meets Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) who is trying to find herself, and where she fits in. Kind of like a robot who can transform into a Volkswagen Beetle.
John Cena gets to chew scenery as the baddie, Agent Burns from Sector 7, and he’s a good baddie because you can understand his point of view. He’s doing what he thinks is right to protect the Earth. He also gets to have some funny moments showing that he is having more fun than anyone else in this film.
Missing her late father, and unable to fit in with her mom’s new husband, and her new brother, Charlie wrestles with recognizable problems, and wants to find her place in the world. And the two of them together may just be able to help one another.
Consequently, there is a nice little emotional through line for the story, even when the film gets buried in its computer generated effects. There is a lot of heart in this story, something that is glaringly missing from the previous Bay directed films, and one hopes that this is a signifier for any follow up films.
I settled into this one easily, loved the look and feel of it, and just had a lot of fun with this one. It’s one that I didn’t think I would enjoy on my way in, but truly enjoyed the fine balance of emotion, action and humor. And this is the first Transformers film that has been able to do that.
The blu-ray is rounded out with some solid extras including a motion comic that fills in some more of the film series’ universe, some deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, a brief look at some of the Autobots and Decepticons who make appearances in the film, and a series of featurettes about bringing Bumblebee into his own film.
It’s no surprise that the picture and sound on this disc is amazing, the opening action sequence on Cypertron looks amazing, but it’s the California set story that looks truly spectacular.
A fun story filled with heart and great tunes, makes for a marvelous family friendly film that shows you how a Transformer movie should be told.
Bumblebee is available today from Paramount on blu-ray and DVD.
EDIT: And check out our interview with Bumblebee’s Ricardo Hoyos below!