Movie Review: ‘Bumblebee’ is a charming step in the right direction for the Transformer franchise

Hasbro and Paramount have been making Transformers movies since 2007, all of which have been directed by Micheal Bay. Even as a young kid who was a fan of Transformers, these movies were bad. Each has a bloated runtime that’s a half an hour too long, uninteresting human characters, racist and misogynist robots, massive explosions, and a complete misunderstanding of the world. Former animator and now director Travis Knight hit the reboot button with Bumblebee, a fun and charming movie that takes the characters back to their roots.

The film follows an injured Bumblebee, whose hiding on Earth as a Volkswagon Beatle until the rest of the Autobots arrive. However, Bumblebee is taken in by a socially outcast girl named Charlie who is still trying to cope with the loss of her father.

Bumblebee is at its best when Charlie and Bee are together. She teaches Bumblebee about 80s culture including movies, music, and more; he’s like a confused little puppy, which leads to one especially comedic scene of him exploring Charlie’s empty house. Their relationship is very endearing and has garnered many comparisons to Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant, which is 100% a good thing. Hailee Steinfeld is great as Charlie and brings a lot of charm to the role.

When we aren’t focused on Charlie, the film focuses on the evil Decepticons who are trying to find Bumblebee. They form an alliance with the bumbling and goofy military, who are led by the villainous John Cena. Cena is hilarious and perfect for the role of the cheesy villain. The Decepticons are far less interesting, however. Their motivations aren’t all there, and they lack a lot of the personality.

The special effects are really solid. Knight has worked on many animated movies, and he perfectly brings the transformers to life. Their designs are almost spot on to the designs from the 80s cartoon. They look more simplistic, which differentiates it even further from Bay’s movies.

Bumblebee isn’t a masterpiece by any stretch, but if you want to have an enjoyable theater experience this holiday, check it out

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 / 5