There’s a special feeling that nostalgia has over you when that memorable song or epic movie moment plays right in front of you after so many years. The 1980s really was a special time for most of us and truthfully, it had some of the best music, movies, television and of course, cartoons like Transformers! It’s just fitting how after so many years, we can still look back in time and say, “Wow, we really had it good back then.”
You can’t say the same for Bayformers obviously with its trajectory for the worse but here’s a consolation for you G1 Transformers fans in Bumblebee.
To reassure you Bayformers haters out there, this movie is severely detached from the disappointment you’ve all had since 2007. Some of you might find it hard to believe at first but once you catch the first 10 minutes of this movie, you would definitely wish we had this instead of Michael Bay’s “vision” from the beginning.
Taking over the helm as director for this scarily decaying movie franchise is Travis Knight, best known for his BAFTA Award winning animation Kubo and the Two Strings, he had big shoes to fill after the disaster of The Last Knight. Thankfully, Knight is personally a G1 Transformers fan himself so if there still was any doubt left in your bitter heart – you can rest assure that he delivered on his promise in this one.
The movie takes place in 1987 and straight off the bat, s**t gets real! Everything looks like as if your Saturday morning cartoons just got a high definition upgrade and however you imagined seeing Autobots and Decepticons duke it out in real life – this would probably be the best view in the house.
If you haven’t caught my drift yet, I’m talking about THE BATTLE FOR CYBERTRON. It was as if the director said, “Don’t trust me in doing this right? Okay. Here’s ALL YOUR FAVOURITE BOTS as your appetiser!”
Yes, we get it Mr Knight. You’re one of us and you’ve already won us over (He did for me anyway).
Another common factor that I found was hindering people from watching this movie was actually the lead actress, Hailee Steinfield, who is not well liked for several different reasons – either her past roles or her music based on what I’ve been getting from my friends.
Personally for me, Steinfield’s portrayal in The Edge of Seventeen really made me hate her character which is a good and bad thing but interestingly enough, she was somewhat tolerable in Bumblebee by adding that female twist in the tradition “a boy meets car” story.
Because of the era this movie was takes place in, you could obviously expect A LOT of 1980s references either tucked away or blatantly there for you. I found myself nodding when they played tracks by The Smiths and Tears for Fears but surprisingly in awe when nobody at my screening got that Breakfast Club reference. There’s even a little musical cameo from the 1986 Transformers Movie which I felt was a nice Touch. There is definitely something for you to pick out from and no doubt one of the biggest appeals this movie has to offer.
I guess one of the shortcomings this movie does suffer from is the fact that it doesn’t bring anything spectacularly new to the table. We already know Bumblebee and why the Transformers are on/coming to earth so this really drags the plot to familiar territory despite its fresh new perspective. That’s the drawback we have to deal with after having five Bayformers movies and not really exploring much of the Transformer lore that could interest us as the audience.
There definitely is more to tap into but this de facto reboot in Bumblebee’s origins does soften the blow in that boredom and gives you promising hope in wanting more in the future. The antagonists were forgettable and though the action was more comprehensible this time, it really doesn’t wow as anymore.
Verdict: Bumblebee doesn’t try to be anything it was before or something it clearly isn’t (Looking at you The Last Knight). It plays it safe with delivering an origin story on familiar ground and on the promise of staying true to the original look and feel of the Transformers. It won’t restore your hope in having a TRUE classic Transformers movie in this attempt but the potential is still there and if this does well, we are one step closer to having the hope become a reality. Someday.
….when all are One. (Sorry, I had to fit that in somewhere)
Bumblebee-tuna? Bumblebee-tuna! (Okay, I’ll stop now.)