Bumblebee, directed by Travis Knight, proves that with just a little bit of heart, a lot of fun, and nothing of what Michael Bay considers filmmaking; that you can make a big-screen adaption of Transformers be a surprisingly wonderful experience. I’m really looking forward to writing this review, and that’s because it keeps me thinking about a little film that continues to make me smile with its innocent, joyful offerings. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
After the fall of Cybertron, Bumblebee is sent to Earth with the mission of protecting it and keeping it safe until the rest of the Autobot resistance can arrive. But upon his arrival, Bumblebee is attacked and left badly damaged. It’s when, Charlie – played by Hailee Steinfeld – finds him rusting in a junkyard that his chances of completing his mission increase. She fixes him up, befriends the little bug and embarks on a journey that will forever change both their lives.
So, with Bumblebee, the film isn’t particularly original in design; it doesn’t standout as a film that improves upon what it is clearly inspired by. This is more an experience that borrows from other films and does a good job of putting its own little spin on it. Why I think this film works – despite how unremarkable it is – is that it keeps it simple and it keeps it fun, and every so often it throws in a little bit of heart that endears you to its characters.
That for me was the primary connecting point to this film, and what had me so enamoured with it. Both the individual characterisation of Charlie and Bumblebee had me eager to be a part of their stories, and the friendship that quickly formed between the two, had me eager to see where their journey would take them.
But in particular, the friendship – the bond – between Charlie and Bumblebee is what makes this film the joyful little experience it is. I think it’s because the two characters are in bad places when they come across one another; Charlie from a personal stand point, as she’s still coming to terms with the loss of her father and feeling alone and out of place in the world. Meanwhile Bumblebee is physically broken and his only hope of once again becoming the skilled warrior he once was and saving Earth, is a lonely eighteen-year-old girl. The two of them need each other, and despite the dichotomy in why they need each other (one being purely personal, while the other being world ending) both are treated with the same care and attention, and both are inherently linked.
It turns out this is one of the biggest aspects that’s been missing from a Transformers inspired film; some heart – some caring. The world may be in danger and an Autobot once again must defeat the Decepticons, but that’s just what drives the larger plot. This film is much more about two unlikely friends going on an adventure, becoming irrevocably linked, and forming an unbreakable bond that will see them change (in all the best ways) forever.
And more than anything this is why I enjoyed my time with this unlikely little gem of a movie. It had heart. It had fun with the idea of a gigantic robot from space hiding in the garage of a lonely girl looking for a companion to help right her path. The two of them bumbling around and getting into trouble, all while having fun, put a smile on my face. That smile slowly grew as the film went on, until I vividly remember sitting there with a big grin on my face, knowing that I was thoroughly enjoying the time I was having with Bumblebee – something I definitely did not expect to be the case, but I’m glad that it was.
With that focus on two unlikely friends, it means that the film itself is small in scale and simple in its overall plot, which is something this franchise REALLY needed. Rather than Bay level explosions where entire cities are brought crumbling down and hordes of similar looking ugly robots fire barracks-worth of ammunition at each other, all while unlikeable (and sometimes racially insensitive) characters look sweaty in the middle of it all; Bumblebee is a film that keeps it nice and simple.
The action is comprehensible, its small; with only one-or-two Transformers being on-screen at one time, and most importantly, it’s fun to watch – and add to that the original cartoon designs are employed for a lot of the Transformers and they look so good.
I never would have thought that a Transformers based film released in 2018 would be an experience I would find so pleasantly enjoyable, but here I am writing this review and smiling as I remember the innocence of the fun, I had watching it – the film gave be ‘The Iron Giant’ vibes. Once again, this film isn’t ground-breaking; it isn’t a game changing experience, but it’s nice little adventure that doesn’t take it self seriously and lets fun (there’s that word again) and heart (oh, and there’s that word again as well) be its primary driving forces, and because of that, I found myself wholeheartedly enjoying it.
I didn’t expect this to be the case, but I absolutely recommend, Bumblebee. It’s nothing spectacular, but I fully believe it’s a film that will endear you to its characters and offer you an experience that’ll leave you smiling. Give this film a chance, it might surprise you.
Let me know what you thought of Bumblebee and my review of it by leaving a wee comment down below. Feel free to follow both my blog and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – to know when I post something new. Lastly, please accept my sincere thanks. Thank you to you for stopping by and giving my blog and my reviews a chance; I really appreciate it!