Movie Reviews: BumbleBee




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     Paramount (1hr. 54 min.)
     On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town.
     Hailee Steifeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker
Bottom Line:

Jon Rutledge

Who doesn't love a girl and her car story? Noone if they see BumbleBee. I was a little gun shy going into this film because the franchise started off really good but quickly degenerated into bawdy humor and racist sounding characters. This version is a breath of fresh air on a beloved story and does an excellent job of showing the humanity of the characters. Yes, even the robot.

BumbleBee (Dylan O’Brien) is dispatched to earth. With damaged memory banks he is unsure of why he is here or who he is. Lost and forgotten in a salvage yard Charly Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) finds him and as she needs a car falls in love with the idea for fixing up this vintage car. She finds out the cars true nature, and with the help of her friend Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), they help BumbleBee save the earth.

My biggest problem with the original films was the inability to see the fight take place. It was a huge mishmash of transformer parts, and then the fight was over, and you could see who won by who was standing and who was on the floor. This film took the time to make sure you could clearly see the fight take place. You see strikes and grabs, and it’s clear who landed what blow. That made the fight way more engaging because when BumbleBee gets a solid punch, we flinch.

The two Decepticons who are hunting for BumbleBee are Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Dropkick (Justin Theroux) they are really good and being deceitful as they fool the humans by making them think they are on the hunt for the “Fugitive” BumbleBee. With just her voice Angela Bassett is the center of attention in any scene she is in.

When I see a Michael Bay production, I worry that the movie will be all explosions and very little substance. Often he goes for the lowest brow humor and forgets that more than thirteen-year-olds go to his films. This film has just the right amount of humor and doesn't talk down to the target audience. The characters are robust and not cookie cutter and are engaging.

As a prequel set in the ’80s, it does a good job of setting up where the original film starts off. I kind of want them to start fresh and maybe reboot the original with this writer (Christina Hodson) who has proven that she can give the story depth and make the characters compelling.  She has transformed this tired franchise into a new and exciting world.

A word of warning this is a PG-13 film and treads that line very carefully.  Some younger viewers may be tempted, but there are some intense action scenes that you may need to be careful around. The toys have been popular for so long that the audience is made up of parents as well as kids and this story has something for everyone.  It’s refreshing to see a story told well in a franchise that has been shortchanging the people who love these characters. You need to roll into the theater and see this film.

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