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(film review) - Bumblebee

I’m trying to figure out (along with the rest of the world), how this new Transformers movie fits into the universe of the Transformers franchise.  At first, I heard it was a soft franchise reboot, but it comes across as a prequel, kinda.  I mean, Michael Bay has f’ed up this franchise in the most royal way. The Transformers franchise is basically an X-Men movie timeline at this point and nobody is interested in it any more.  We can argue it made money at the Box Office, but when nobody generally likes it, overall, it a question of, "Who Actually Cares?"

Let me get into it.

Bumblebee is a fish out of water story of a boy and his dog.  Well, I believe that is the two idioms you could use to describe a film like this.  A civil war is engaged between the Autobots and the evil Deceptacons.  Losing the battle, Optimus Prime wants to establish a new base of operations and sends Bumblebee as a scout to Earth as a potential base as they retreat to regroup.  "After a battle and being awoken and disorientated, Bumblebee is intercepted and tracked down by two Decepticons who threaten to find his leader Optimus Prime and destroy Earth.  With only his one human friend, Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), Bumblebee is the only Robot to save it. He is Bumblebee."

Pretty straight forward and straight to the point.  Nothing major or anything we haven’t heard/seen before.  Think if the movie ‘ET’ and ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ had a baby.  This is essentially how the rest of the movie plays out.  If anything, the same plot synopsis of the first Transformers as well, maybe.  I don’t know and at this point, frankly I don’t care, as this film is actually really really good.  At the top, I stated that I am trying to figure out where we stand in the franchise, unless from the very beginning as a reboot, I am totally fine with this and I hope they do intend to go forward in this direction.  Anything else is just confusing.

The first 5mins of the movie was AMAZING!  It reminded me of 'Man of Steel' where we see Krypton.  The little kid in me smiled with glee as we were able to finally see the Gen 1 Transformers fighting on Cybertron.  I mean, I’m just going to spoil the first 5 minutes of the movie because frankly, we need more people to see this movie to get more movies and I would be doing the movie a dis-service if I didn’t mention it.  Soundwave! Shockwave! Ravage!  Just like the toys you played with as a child!  If you are as old as me.  I don’t need to explain the Ravage and Soundwave connection I’m sure, but seeing this on screen was amazing.  Travis Knight clearly had a great vision with this movie and for what he executed in the first 5mins alone was enough to have any Transformers fan salivating for more.  Alas we don’t get any more than maybe 5-10 minutes of that, but the rest of the movie is also very good, albeit with a few nit-picky bits I didn’t like, which could arguably be the Michael Bay influence.

So it goes without saying that I found the movie aesthetically pleasing visually and the story wasn’t great but pretty serviceable.  The supporting actors next to Hailee were throwaway characters and although John Cena as a lead was ok.  He was nowhere near as bad as previous military characters in other Transformers movies.  The movie didn’t have enough Autobots and Deceptacons, but from what I saw, I was fine with.  More for the sequel?  The nit-picky things were things I thought we had moved away from in Transformers movies, and in cinema as a whole.  Maybe I was reading too much into it, but the black man dying first or more importantly, sacrificing himself to save the white man, because essentially, that is what happens.  Or at least it seems that way as you never see him again.  Weirdly enough, I didn’t notice that until my friend alerted me to it.  I did notice the black man being the butt of the joke, which was the wannabe boyfriend.  I get it we needed comedy interjected into the movie, but I thought that was what the "Fish out of water" element with Bumblebee was.  As I said, maybe I was over thinking it, but these were the things I hated regarding previous Transformers movies directed by Michael Bay.  At least there wasn’t any unnecessary explosions and over sexualized shots and 360-degree camera spins…although it was EXECELLENT in bad Boys 1.

I’d definitely suggest to watch this movie, even if you dislike Michael Bay Transformer movies, as this one is different, and it’s executed well.  Other than the nit-picky moments, this is a feel-good movie.


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