Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Bumblebee (2018)

I must have lost what little is left of my mind because currently I am starting my screener of Bumblebee. After being burned over and over again by these horrible Transformers live action films I should avoid anything remotely attached to that franchise but I have watched it all - every movie and every cartoon series. And this IS Bumblebee and has Hailee Steinfeld in it and John Cena as a bad guy who becomes a good guy so let's see how far I get without feeling like taking my own life.

One of the many things that hurt the previous Transformer movies is that there are too many damn transforming robots. And they are filmed in away that never lets you to focus on them for any length of time. This is especially true during Autobot and Decepticon fights. I defy you to tell me who is fighting who. The fights are just a blur of metal and color and noise. I hate it. I had no reason to think that Bumblebee wouldn't be more of the same drivel but it surprised me in many ways.

Bumblebee wisely gives us only one Autobot to focus on and what do you know, it's the fan favorite who converts into a cute VW Beatle. What is not to love? With a mixture of nostalgia and heart this one really entertained me and reminded me once again how great the 80s were.

Hailee Steinfeld is good in everything she does and she plays this one straight down the middle and totally acts like a teen girl would act if she suddenly discovered her car was a giant robot and she was drawn into an interstellar battle of machines. The rest of the cast is also terrific and in a giant robot movie you need to cast the film just right. John Cena is also very strong as the soldier who has a reason to hunt down this renegade robot but who also wisely doesn't trust the Decepticons.

This movie had a hundred ways to fail but I bought everything they were trying to sell me. Seeing how this is a prequel I would have no problem watching more Transformer movies if this team is involved. Now there is a sentence I thought I would never say but Bumblebee is just that good. It washes all the bad taste from my mouth that was there from all the previous movies in the franchise.

A prequel also frees the movie from any continuity that came before. It's like starting fresh with an concept we all love from our childhood.

The film starts in the middle of the war on Cybertron with our beloved Optimus Prime making a last stand as the planet is overrun with Deceptacons. Bubblebee has been sent to Earth to set up a base for the remaining Transformers. His landing on Earth damages him and puts him immediately in conflict with the military.

Starscream....there is STARSCREAM??? I love that evil jet the most out of all the Decepticons. Right there is the beauty of this movie. It looks to be made by people who understand the whole Transformers mythos. I smiled so many times during this film because I felt like I was 11 again and running home to watch my favorite cartoon. The sound of transformation is still the sound I remember in my head.

Of course Hailee listens to the Smiths. All us hip kids back in the day did that. More nostalgic goodness. But if ever a kid needed a Transformer to improve her life it's this kid. Bad teen job, her name is Charlie, no friends, dead father, insane mechanical skills, step brother and step father. The usual 80s teen angst. I was begging for her life to get the spark it needed and that is exactly what happens.

Did I mention how much I loved the soundtrack? All those great 80s tunes. Not necessary to place the film in a specific time and place but helpful and enjoyable nonetheless. So are all the 80s references. I love that half the audience will have no idea who 'ALF' is.

This was one of the best 'girl and her robot' films I have ever seen. I loved everything about the relationship between the two 'leads'. Full credit to Hailee for acting with a special effect and making the whole thing believable. I knew by the end that I would probably cry but at this point I can handle that I think.

This film was produced by Steven Speilberg and it plays like one of his movies from back in the day only if it had been directed by John Hughes. In fact Bubblebee ends up watching VHS tapes and one of them is the Breakfast Club.

Stupid government officials think they can reason with evil transforming robots. Even in the 80s we were dumbasses.

The ending of course is a mash of exitement and running and chaos and more running but that is when it's the most fun and also sets up nicely for any sequel they want to make. This film is strong enough to restart the whole franchise and do it right this time. In other words keep Michael Bay as far away from this property as possible. We've been given another chance to correct the mistakes of the past and Bubblebee is a fine start.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

This feels like the better start of a cinematic universe than anything thats come since Marvel.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I agree with you. You could even tell what is going on during a big robot fight and you could never do that before. I can see this one restarting the whole franchise given the cool ending.